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)
TT

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.



Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
TT

Sudan's RSF Agrees with UN on Steps to Ease Aid Delivery

Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)
Sudanese farmers plow a field on the outskirts of Sudan's eastern city of Gedaref on July 18, 2024. (Photo by AFP)

Sudan's Rapid Support Forces agreed with the United Nations on some steps to ease aid delivery in areas under its control, a member of the RSF told Reuters on Thursday.

The Sudanese army has not reached any understandings on aid delivers with the RSF, he added. It is unclear if these steps could be implemented without the army's participation.

Meanwhile, a key supply route into Sudan's Darfur region, deemed at risk of famine by a global monitor, has been cut off due to heavy rains, a World Food Program official told Reuters on Thursday.
The UN agency has described Sudan as the world's biggest hunger crisis, with the western Darfur region most at risk as Sudan's 15-month civil war that has displaced millions and sparked ethnic violence grinds on.
WFP's Country Director Eddie Rowe said thousands of tons of aid are stranded at the Tina crossing on the Chad border, prompting the body to reopen talks with the army-aligned government to open an alternative, all-weather crossing further south called Adre.
"You have these huge rivers. As I speak now, our convoy, which is supposed to move over 2000 metric tons is stranded," he told Reuters from Port Sudan. Asked on the status of the talks that resumed this week, he said: "It's 50/50.”
WFP is now seeking clearances to move a large 70-truck convoy via a little-used, over 1000 kilometer route from Port Sudan to Darfur which Rowe said will involve crossing the battle lines of both the Sudan Armed Forces, the Rapid Support Forces and various militias.
He added that this mostly desert route has worked in the past but outside of the rainy season and that the last journey took weeks and was "fraught with a lot of challenges.”
In a separate interview, Mona Rishmawi, a member of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Sudan, told Reuters that she had met Darfur refugees in Chad who told her stories of escaping with virtually no water and eating grass along the route. "There's no doubt that people are starving," she said.