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PKK living up to its terrorist reputation

(What the PKK is doing is a crime against humanity, but no one in Europe has lifted a finger against these cruelties, and rather have allowed its sympathizers to stage rallies)

he people of northwestern Syria’s Afrin are trying to leave the city as Turkish and Free Syrian Army (FSA) close in on the settlement to end its occupation by the PKK terrorists.

The city, occupied by the PKK for the past six years, became a bastion of the terrorist organization in Syria. Its people have been forced to pay taxes to the terrorists and those who could not afford to pay were asked to hand over their children as recruits.

The PKK and its Syrian offshoots, the so-called Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG) ran the city with an iron fist. The PKK appointed its own administrators, eliminated all the local Kurds who opposed them and brought in some hardened terrorists from the Qandil Mountains in northern Iraq to enforce its authority.

The American generals, who wanted to use the PKK/PYD/YPG against Daesh, simply turned a blind eye to all the atrocities committed by these groups throughout northern Syria, including Afrin. Instead of condemning the groups’ actions, they simply created a smokescreen and presented the PYD and the YPG in a sugar coating to the American people.

Unfortunately, today we are witnessing footage from Afrin where the PKK militants are blocking people from leaving the city. People trying to flee are turned back at gunpoint by the militants, who have set up numerous roadblocks. The PKK wants to use these people as human shields against the Turkish and the FSA forces.

What the PKK is doing is a crime against humanity yet no one in the West has lifted a finger against these cruelties, on the contrary, they have allowed PKK/YPG/PYD sympathizers stage rallies in European capitals.

The PKK has been using Afrin’s local population as human shields since the day Turkish troops set foot in the region. They have even tied up old people and booby-trapped them in a bid to kill Turkish soldiers. It is sad that the American taxpayers who have to bankroll the PKK due to the whims of the U.S. generals are not aware of these ugly realities.

But for us who know the true face of the PKK and have experienced their total lack of respect for human life, none of these come as a surprise. The PKK is a terrorist group bent on terrorizing people to submit to their demands. They do not care whether the people they terrorize are Kurdish, Turkish or Arab or belong to any other ethnic group.

The so-called human rights activists in the U.S. seem to turn a blind eye to the fact that the PKK is abducting children in Turkey, Iraq and Syria and turning them into child soldiers.

The PKK is living up to its identity as a terrorist group when it denies people of Afrin their rights to leave, when it uses them as human shields and when it ties up old people and turns them into booby traps.

Of course, it will be hard for some American generals, who have been seen kissing and hugging the PKK terrorists, give up their terrorist buddies yet they have to live with the realities of this world. You simply cannot make claims of combating terrorism when you resort to doing so with the help of other terrorists.

With the realities on the ground, Turkey has to take exceptional care to not harm Afrin civilians, who are being used as human shields. Isn’t this something to be applauded?


Turkey forces encircle Kurdish-controlled centre of Afrin

Turkey’s army and allied Syrian rebel forces have surrounded the city of Afrin in northwestern Syria, the main target of Turkey’s operation there.

The military said on Tuesday that forces encircled Afrin and also gained the control “areas of critical importance” in the region as of Monday.

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights (SOHR), a UK-based monitoring group, confirmed the development in a separate statement.

Turkey – together with the Syrian opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebel group – launched in January an air-and-ground operation into Afrin in the northwest of Syria to vanquish the US-backed Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters near its border.

Turkey considers the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria and its armed wing YPG to be “terrorist groups” with ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The PKK has waged a decades-long armed fight against the Turkish state that has killed tens of thousands of people.

350,000 people in Afrin

The SOHR said on Monday that hundreds of civilians had already fled Afrin as Turkey advanced.

“More than 2,000 civilians have arrived in the area of Nubul” controlled by pro-regime forces, it said, adding that hundreds more were still on the road.

Afrin city – the main urban centre in the YPG-controlled enclave on the Turkish border – is home to around 350,000 people, the Observatory said.

Since the start of its offensive, Turkey has also threatened to push its military operations to Manbij, further east, to sweep Syrian Kurdish fighters from the length of its borders.

Turkey’s repeated threats to push to Manbij have caused complications with NATO ally the US, which has its troops deployed in the area and is backing the YPG in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS), a move that has infuriated Ankara.

Source: Al Jazeera news

More than 350,000 dead: Syria’s war in numbers

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says it has recorded the deaths of 353,935 people since the conflict began with anti-government protests in March 2011.

Those killed included 106,390 civilians, of whom 19,811 were children and 12,513 were women, according to a toll it released on March 12, 2018.

In a country with a pre-war population of 23 million, the United Nations estimates that 6.1 million people have been internally displaced by the fighting.

Handicap International, a French non-governmental organisation, says one million people have been wounded in the war.

The war has forced 5.4 million people to flee Syria, according to the UNHCR.

Neighbouring Turkey, the main host country, has taken in more than 3.3 million Syrian refugees.

It is followed by Lebanon, which the UN says hosts around one million Syrians — one in four of the Lebanese population. The Lebanese government says as many as 1.5 million Syrians are in the country.

In Jordan, where the UNHCR says it has registered 657,000 Syrians, the government says it is hosting 1.3 million.

At least another 246,000 Syrians have taken refuge in Iraq and 126,000 in Egypt, the refugee agency says.

In 2017, Amnesty International said Syrian authorities hanged around 13,000 people between 2011 and 2015 at the infamous Saydnaya prison near Damascus.

It said a further 17,700 people had died in custody since the conflict began.

The Observatory says at least 60,000 people have died from torture or harsh conditions in regime prisons since 2011.

The monitor says half a million people have spent time in regime jails since the start of the conflict.

Several thousand have died over the same period in prisons run by jihadists or other rebels, it says.

Analysts say the conflict has set Syria’s economy back by three decades and devastated its infrastructure.

The education and health systems are in ruins.

With oil production at its lowest in years, a total halt in phosphate exports and power generation sharply reduced, Syria’s economy is on its knees, according to government ministers.

In a July 2017 report on the economic and social consequences of the conflict, the World Bank estimated the cumulative losses in GDP at $226 billion, about four times the Syrian GDP in 2010.

The World Bank said of the cities taken into account in the report, 27 percent of the housing stock had been damaged, with seven percent of that destroyed and around half the medical and education facilities.

“Some 13.1 million people in Syria require humanitarian assistance … with 69 per cent of the population estimated to be living in extreme poverty”, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA) said in 2017.

It reported 2.98 million people in hard-to-reach areas, including 419,000 in UN-declared besieged areas.

In March 2018 the UN condemned “the deliberate starvation of civilians as a method of warfare” following the publication of shocking images of severely malnourished children in the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta.

On February 18, the regime launched a ferocious assault on the enclave where 400,000 inhabitants have lived under government siege since 2013.

Nepal’s first female president wins second term

KATHMANDU: Nepal’s lawmakers Tuesday elected President Bidya Bhandari for a second term, extending the tenure of the Himalayan nation’s first female head of state for another five years.

Nepal president

Bhandari took nearly two-thirds of the vote to retain her position as ceremonial head of state, the election commission confirmed.

Bhandari, who was backed by the ruling Communist bloc, was widely expected to defeat her sole opponent.

Her first five years in office have been largely uncontroversial.

Critics say she has not done enough to advance women’s rights in deeply patriarchal Nepal, though her role is largely ceremonial.

Late last year she signed into law a revamp of the country’s ancient penal code, which criminalises the dowry system and bans an old Hindu practice that banishes woman from the home while menstruating.

The 56-year-old took up politics in her teens, joining the fight to overturn the monarchy’s centuries-long rule and later marrying a fellow communist, Madan Bhandari.

It was after her husband’s death in a mysterious car accident in 1993 that the mother of two became a prominent voice, riding a wave of sympathy to win a seat in parliament.

As Nepal’s political map was being redrawn after the end of the brutal Maoist insurgency in 2006 and overthrow of the king two years later, Bhandari campaigned hard to bring woman’s voices to parliament.

She was first elected president in 2015, shortly after Nepal’s post-war constitution was passed, which carves out one-third of seats in parliament for woman and mandates that either the president or vice president must be a woman.

Bhandari is not the only woman at the top of Nepal’s government. House speaker Onsari Gharti Magar has presided over the often raucous parliament with an iron fist since 2015, the first woman to hold the position.

Meanwhile, Sushila Karki served as the country’s first female chief justice until her retirement in 2017, shocking her political backers when she took a tough stance on Nepal’s endemic corruption.

Bhandari is a close ally of the ruling Communist bloc that has a strong majority in parliament as well as six of the seven provincial assemblies.

The Communists rode to a thumping victory late last year in local, provincial and national elections that capped Nepal’s tumultuous 11 year transition from monarchy to federal democracy.