Turkey Sends ‘Field Messages’ to Kurds over Independence Vote

Turkish tanks are seen near the Habur crossing point between Turkey and Iraq during a military drill launched a week before the Kurdish independence vote on September 25. (AFP)
Turkish tanks are seen near the Habur crossing point between Turkey and Iraq during a military drill launched a week before the Kurdish independence vote on September 25. (AFP)
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Turkey Sends ‘Field Messages’ to Kurds over Independence Vote

Turkish tanks are seen near the Habur crossing point between Turkey and Iraq during a military drill launched a week before the Kurdish independence vote on September 25. (AFP)
Turkish tanks are seen near the Habur crossing point between Turkey and Iraq during a military drill launched a week before the Kurdish independence vote on September 25. (AFP)

In response to the Kurdish independence referendum scheduled for September 25 and the Syrian Kurds’ elections of bodies running local communities on September 22, Turkey sent on Monday field messages to both parties by deploying its forces at the border of the two countries.

Sources said that Ankara is deploying its forces and backing the Free Syrian Army to control Idlib and drive out Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham militants, which include factions similar to Fatah al-Sham, as a means to prevent the establishment of a “Kurdish corridor” from Syria’s Afreen to the Mediterranean.

Meanwhile, western diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu met with Commander of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) Sipan Hamo at the Russian Hmeimim air base in Syria on September 12 to discuss ways of fighting ISIS terrorists.

Alarming the Iraqi Kurds, the Turkish army launched on Monday several military maneuvers near the border with Iraq only a week ahead of the referendum on independence.

Meanwhile, political and judicial pressure were still being used to force the autonomous Kurdistan region to postpone the vote.

Iraq’s Supreme Court ordered on Monday the suspension of the independence referendum in the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, deeming it unconstitutional. However, Kurdish officials asserted they were not concerned by decisions issued from Baghdad.

Separately, UK Defense Secretary Michael Fallon arrived in Baghdad on Monday morning before heading in the afternoon to Kurdistan where he met with President Masoud Barzani in an attempt to convince him to annul the referendum and work with the United Nations on finding alternatives to it.

Also on Monday, Khabar Turk newspaper quoted high-ranking diplomatic sources as saying that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to discuss on Tuesday with French President Emmanuel Macron a three-point joint initiative to resolve the ongoing disputes between Irbil and Baghdad.

The meeting will be held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meetings currently held in New York.



UN Palestinian Agency Seeks Pushback against Israel's Effort to Disband it 

A Palestinian child navigates through heavy damage to a UNRWA school sheltering displaced persons the day after a nearby house was targeted by Israeli bombardment in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, June 21, 2024. (AP)
A Palestinian child navigates through heavy damage to a UNRWA school sheltering displaced persons the day after a nearby house was targeted by Israeli bombardment in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, June 21, 2024. (AP)
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UN Palestinian Agency Seeks Pushback against Israel's Effort to Disband it 

A Palestinian child navigates through heavy damage to a UNRWA school sheltering displaced persons the day after a nearby house was targeted by Israeli bombardment in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, June 21, 2024. (AP)
A Palestinian child navigates through heavy damage to a UNRWA school sheltering displaced persons the day after a nearby house was targeted by Israeli bombardment in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Friday, June 21, 2024. (AP)

The head of the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) on Monday called to push back against efforts by Israel to have the organization disbanded.

"Israel has long been critical of the agency's mandate. But it now seeks to end UNRWA's operations, dismissing the agency's status as a United Nations entity supported by an overwhelming majority of Member States," UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini said at a meeting of the agency's advisory commission.

"If we do not push back, other UN entities and international organizations will be next, further undermining our multilateral system."