Turkey Opens New Front in Syria’s Afrin, Shelling East Euphrates

Turkish troops gather near the Syrian border at Hassa, in Hatay province on January 21, 2018. (AFP)
Turkish troops gather near the Syrian border at Hassa, in Hatay province on January 21, 2018. (AFP)
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Turkey Opens New Front in Syria’s Afrin, Shelling East Euphrates

Turkish troops gather near the Syrian border at Hassa, in Hatay province on January 21, 2018. (AFP)
Turkish troops gather near the Syrian border at Hassa, in Hatay province on January 21, 2018. (AFP)

The Turkish army kicked off Monday a land operation from the Syrian city of Azaz in the countryside of Aleppo as part of Afrin’s Olive Branch Operation, a statement issued by the Turkish Command said.

Ankara’s military operation expanded to areas in Hasaka, where Turkish warplanes and tanks had bombed several targets.

According to the statement, Turkish Armed Forces and Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters continue to advance in northwestern Syria, while FSA units managed to establish control over the strategic Mount Barsaya, northeast Afrin, only hours after an attack was launched against the nearby city of Azaz.

Leading Kurdish sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Turkish forces pounded on Monday the area of Ras al-Ain-Darbassah.

Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) presidential advisor in northeastern Syria, Sihanouk Dibo spoke with the German news agency (dpa) about sporadic clashes between the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Turkish army in Ras al-Ain and Malikiyah, where Turkish tanks shelled YPG positions in the village of Kharab Rashek.

Meanwhile, the United States told Turkey “let us see if we can work with you to create the kind of security zone you might need,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said, according to a reporter traveling with him to Paris.

A Kurdish official told Asharq Al-Awsat on Monday he expects that Brett McGurk, the US special envoy for the global coalition against the ISIS, and Army Gen. Joseph Votel, head of the US Central Command, to both arrive in Ain al-Arab to visit US troops supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces.

Meanwhile, local sources told Turkey’s Anadolu Agency that the YPG released its ISIS prisoners under the condition that they fight against the Turkish army and FSA in Afrin.

“The terrorist group struck a deal with ISIS terrorists to use them as a tool against Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in Afrin,” the source added.



Egypt Needs to Import $1.18 Billion in Fuel to End Power Cuts, PM Says

The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
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Egypt Needs to Import $1.18 Billion in Fuel to End Power Cuts, PM Says

The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)
The moon is seen after the day of Strawberry Moon over old houses in Cairo, Egypt, June 22, 2024. (Reuters)

Egypt needs to import around $1.18 billion worth of mazut fuel oil and natural gas to end persistent power cuts exacerbated by consecutive heat waves, its Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said in a televised address on Tuesday.

It hopes the shipments will arrive in full around the third week of July, by which point the government aims to stop cutting power during the remaining summer months, he added.

It has already started contracting for 300,000 tons of mazut worth $180 million to boost its strategic reserves which are expected to arrive early next week.

Egypt's government on Monday extended daily power cuts to three hours from two hours previously in response to a surge in domestic electricity consumption during the latest heat wave.

These three-hour cuts will continue until the end of June, before returning to two hours in the first half of July with the aim of stopping completely for the rest of the summer, Madbouly said on Tuesday.

Egyptian social media has lit up with complaints about the impact of the blackouts, with some saying they have been forced to purchase private power generators.

The problem has particularly affected teenagers preparing for the crucial high school certificate, with some posting about students studying by candlelight and others in coffee shops.

A wedding hall owner in the coastal city of Port Said said he would turn one of his ballrooms into a study hall.

Since July last year, load shedding linked to falling gas production, rising demand and a shortage of foreign currency has led to scheduled two-hour daily power cuts in most areas.

"We had said that we planned to end load shedding by the end of 2024... we do not have a power generation problem or a network problem, we are unable to provide fuel," Madbouly said on Tuesday.

"With the increase in consumption related to the major development and population increase, there has been a lot of pressure on our dollar resources," he added.

He said production in a neighboring country's gas field had come to a full halt for 12 hours leading to an interruption in the supply, without naming the country or the gas field.

Egypt's Abu Qir Fertilizers said on Tuesday three of its plants had halted production because their supply of natural gas was cut.