Syrian Kurdish Authorities Hand over British Woman, 3 Children Linked to ISIS to UK Delegation

A British woman and three children linked to the extremist ISIS group in Syria were handed over to a UK delegation that visited the region this week, Syrian Kurdish-led authorities said Friday. (AFP)
A British woman and three children linked to the extremist ISIS group in Syria were handed over to a UK delegation that visited the region this week, Syrian Kurdish-led authorities said Friday. (AFP)
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Syrian Kurdish Authorities Hand over British Woman, 3 Children Linked to ISIS to UK Delegation

A British woman and three children linked to the extremist ISIS group in Syria were handed over to a UK delegation that visited the region this week, Syrian Kurdish-led authorities said Friday. (AFP)
A British woman and three children linked to the extremist ISIS group in Syria were handed over to a UK delegation that visited the region this week, Syrian Kurdish-led authorities said Friday. (AFP)

A British woman and three children linked to the extremist ISIS group in Syria were handed over to a UK delegation that visited the region this week, Syrian Kurdish-led authorities said Friday.

The handover, which took place on Wednesday, is the latest in a push to repatriate people from al-Hol and Roj camps in northeastern Syria that house tens of thousands, mostly wives and children of ISIS militants but also supporters of the extremist group.

The Kurdish authorities did not release the names of the four, saying only they were held at Roj camp before the handover.

According to a statement, a delegation led by Britain’s Special Representative for Syria Ann Snow visited northeastern Syria, where they discussed with the Kurdish authorities the ongoing threat that ISIS still poses, five years after the extremists lost the last sliver of land they once controlled in large parts of Iraq and Syria.

Elham Ahmad, the co-chair for foreign relations in the regional Syrian Kurdish administration, said “radical solutions should be found for the problem of terrorism.”

Thousands of ISIS members and suspects held in jails in northeast Syria should face justice, she added.

In 2014, ISIS declared a so-called state in large parts of Iraq and Syria and attracted tens of thousands of supporters from around the world. The extremists were defeated by a US-led coalition in Iraq in 2017 and in Syria in 2019.

Tens of thousands of people linked to the group were taken to al-Hol camp, close to the Iraqi border.

Over the past five years about 30,000 people, mostly Iraqis and Syrians, have left al-Hol camp and been repatriated. More than 2,000 are also held in Roj camp.

Earlier this month, the United States said it repatriated 11 of its citizens from al-Hol and Roj camps, the largest group to date that Washington has taken out of the two sprawling camps.

Earlier in May, more than 200 Syrians were taken from al-Hol to their hometowns in Syria’s eastern province that borders Iraq.



Erdogan Dampens Hopes for Restarting Talks on Cyprus' 50-year Ethnic Split

A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT
A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT
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Erdogan Dampens Hopes for Restarting Talks on Cyprus' 50-year Ethnic Split

A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT
A handout photo made available by the Turkish President Press office shows Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (front-L) and Turkish Cyprus President Ersin Tatar (front-R) laying wreath to monument of the Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during their meeting in the Turkish-administered northern part of the divided capital Nicosia, Cyprus, 15 November 2020. EPA/TURKISH PRESIDENT PRESS OFFICE / HANDOUT

The Turkish president on Saturday put a damper on hopes for a quick resumption of talks to heal a half-century of ethnic division on Cyprus, reaffirming his support for a two-state deal that Greek Cypriots dismiss as a non-starter.

Speaking ahead of a military parade to mark the 50th anniversary of a Turkish invasion that split the island along ethnic lines, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ruled out a peace deal based on a United Nations-endorsed plan for federation.

Although Erdogan has previously rejected the federation plan, Greece and the Greek Cypriots had hoped he would soften his position.

The anniversary is a festive occasion for Turkish Cypriots in the island's northern third, who view the invasion as salvation from the Greek-speaking majority's domination. The invasion followed a coup that aimed at a union with Greece, which was backed by the Junta then ruling in Athens, according to The AP.

In the south, the howl of air raid sirens at daybreak began a solemn day marking what Greek Cypriots remember as a catastrophe that left thousands of people dead or missing and displaced a quarter of the Greek Cypriot population.

Erdogan’s remarks may further complicate UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ effort to get both sides back to the negotiating table. His personal envoy, Maria Angela Holguin Cuellar, has spent the past six months scoping both sides out.

“We will continue to fight with determination for the recognition of the TRNC (breakaway Turkish Cypriot state) and the implementation of a two-state solution," Erdogan told throngs of Turkish Cypriots lining the parade route in scorching heat in the northern half of the divided capital, Nicosia.

“A federal solution in Cyprus is not possible, this is what we believe. ... The Turkish Cypriot side, as equals with the Greek side, are willing to negotiate and are ready to sit down and negotiate. If you want a solution, you need to recognize the rights of Turkish Cypriots."

Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar reiterated that Turkish Cypriots reject “domination” by the Greek Cypriot majority and seek “equal national status” for their breakaway state they unilaterally declared in 1983, which is only recognized by Turkey. He added that there's now “no common ground” for a return to peace negotiations.

Referring to a recent resolution in the Ankara parliament calling for a two-state solution, Tatar said it “will help us and our cause incredibly.”

The island's Greek Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides urged Türkiye and the Turkish Cypriots to re-engage in reunification talks if Ankara genuinely seeks regional security and stability and to nudge closer to the European Union.

After numerous failed rounds of peace negotiations, many Cypriots on both sides — although jaded — still hold out a glimmer of hope for a peace deal.