Fury and fear in Mariupol as Kremlin’s violation of ceasefire deal drives civilians back into besieged city
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BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has talked with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the phone and called on Moscow to halt all military actions immediately, a German government spokesperson said on Friday.
Scholz also called on Putin to allow access for humanitarian aid in areas where fighting was taking place, while the Russian president announced a third round of Russia-Ukraine talks this weekend, a government spokesperson said in a statement.
A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas-led Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip held on Saturday as Egyptian mediators pressed on with talks with the two sides on securing longer-term calm, officials said.
THE PRESIDENT: Folks, I’ve just spoken with Prime Minister Netanyahu. Earlier today, I spoke with President Al Sisi of Egypt.
And Minister — Prime Minister Netanyahu informed me that Israel has agreed to a mutual, unconditional ceasefire to begin in less than two hours. The Egyptians have now informed us that Hamas and the other groups in Gaza have also agreed.
Wiping out entire families in Israeli bombings was one of the characteristics of the war in 2014. In the roughly 50 days of the war then, UN figures say that 142 Palestinian families were erased (742 people in total). The numerous incidents then and today attest that these were not mistakes: and that the bombing of a house while all its residents are in it follows a decision from higher up, backed by the examination and approval of military jurists.
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to ignore US President Joe Biden’s plea for a scaling back of the Israel Defense Force’s (IDF) retaliatory attacks on Hamas and other Islamists within the Gaza Strip.
Following the release of a transcript detailing the conversation between the two earlier Wednesday, in which Biden called for „significant de-escalation“ on the path to a ceasefire.
US President Joe Biden in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Wednesday said that he „expected a significant de-escalation today on the path to a ceasefire,“ according to a readout of the call provided by the White House.
The statement distributed on Monday among the council members calls on the parties to reach a ceasefire and expresses concern for a possible eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Jerusalem.
An Israeli official said that the statement was predictable given the „bias“ of the council members. As expected, the United States blocked the passing of the statement by exercising its veto.
President Biden spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday night, their second phone call since Saturday. The president is expressing support for a ceasefire, which comes as fellow Democrats are urging him to do more to stop the violence.
According to the readout of the call, Mr. Biden „reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks.“ Mr. Biden also „encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians.“
If history serves as a guide, however, after a ceasefire is reached, the conflict will slowly fade from the headlines, the world will go back to its business and the Palestinians will largely be forgotten — yet again. For those who sincerely want to see a just and lasting peace in the Middle East, this time must be different. The world, and especially the Biden administration, cannot look away but must engage on the question of Palestine. It’s 2021 — a homeland for Palestinian Christians and Muslims is long overdue, as is safety and equality for Palestinians.
Twenty-eight Democratic senators, led by Sen. Jon Ossoff, and eight House Democrats issued joint statements calling for a swift end to the flare-up in order to prevent a further loss of life.
“To prevent any further loss of civilian life and to prevent further escalation of conflict in Israel and the Palestinian territories, we urge an immediate cease-fire,” the senators said.
A senior government official said Ghani has already shared his road map with foreign capitals.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told Russia’s TASS that security guarantees must be given to Armenian refugees to return to Karabakh villages which have come under the control of Azerbaijan.
In accordance to the terms of the Karabakh armistice, 7 settlements in the Martakert province are also being handed over to Azerbaijan, the Artsakh authorities said.
The Russian peacekeepers will set up observation posts along the engagement line in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachinsky corridor that connects Armenia with the enclave to exercise control of the ceasefire agreement observance. The peacekeeping mission’s command will be stationed in the area of Stepanakert in Nagorno-Karabakh, the ministry specified.
After mediation led by UN envoy Stephanie Turco Williams this week, the 5+5 Joint Military Commission reached what the United Nations called an “important turning point towards peace and stability in Libya”.
The UN Security Council discussed the need to ensure verification of a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, Russian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya told reporters on Monday after a closed-door meeting on the disputed region
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is acting as a neutral intermediary in transporting the former detainees.
Amid increase in Afghan fighting, the Ulema or religious scholars in a gathering held in Kunduz city the capital of northern Kunduz province on Sunday have condemned the ongoing conflict and hostilities in the country as illegitimate and called upon the Taliban outfit to observe ceasefire and facilitate the peace talks to succeed.
The U.S. warning caused alarm in Iraq, where it was seen as a step towards air strikes, potentially turning Iraq into a battleground in a proxy war between the United States and Iran. A broad array of politicians called on the militia to stop provoking the Americans.
Nous, Président de la Fédération de Russie, Président des États-Unis d’Amérique et Président de la République française, représentant les pays co-présidents du Groupe de Minsk de l’OSCE, condamnons dans les termes les plus forts l’escalade de la violence récente sur la ligne de contact dans la zone de conflit du Haut-Karabakh.
Nous déplorons la perte de vies humaines et nous exprimons notre sympathie aux familles des victimes et des blessés.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, French President Emmanuel Macron and US President Donald Trump have issued a joint statement regarding the situation at the Nagorno Karbakh conflict zone.
“The President of the Russian Federation, the President of the United States of America and the President of the French Republic, representing the Co-Chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group, condemn in the strongest terms the recent escalation of violence along the Line of Contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to cease hostilities, Reuters reports.
Pompeo said during a visit to Crete that he had discussed the clashes in talks earlier with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias.
Delegates representing the government of Yemen and Ansar Allah (Houthi group) announced on Sunday that they have agreed to immediately release the first group of 1,081 conflict-related detainees and prisoners, the largest prisoner release in the country’s history.
To ease heightened tensions in Transcaucasia, Lavrov held separate phone talks with Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Azeri Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
The news about renewed massive clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia along the entire line of conflict do alert me. There are already reports of civilian casualties on both sides. I call on the parties to the conflict to immediately stop all acts of fighting and especially the shelling of villages and cities.
The head of Libya’s United Nations-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA), Fayez al-Sarraj, said he plans to step down within six weeks as part of efforts to broker a peace agreement.
Rabat – The delegations of the Libyan High Council of State and the Parliament of Tobruk have reached an agreement after five days of talks in Bouznika, Morocco.
In a joint statement on Thursday, the two parties announced that they reached a comprehensive agreement on the criteria, mechanisms, and objectives for “assuming positions of sovereignty,” according to Morocco’s Foreign Ministry.
„After a round of talks, mediated by the Qatari representative, Mohammed al-Emadi, an understanding has been reached to avoid an escalation and stabilize the situation. Several projects were announced that will serve and alleviate the situation for our people in Gaza, given the coronavirus crisis that has struck us,“ a statement from Hamas Leader Yahya Sinwar’s office said.
„He will be temporarily based in Tunisia. But I would like to underscore that his functions include representation of Russia across the entire territory of Libya.“
Peace talks between the Sudanese government and armed groups from Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions have been held in South Sudan’s capital of Juba since October last year.
The new resolution was proposed Tuesday during a teleconference held behind closed doors and organized by Estonia, which holds the rotating presidency of the Security Council. The resolution was submitted in the afternoon.
One of the diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said China declared in the meeting that it backed swift action in the council.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called on Europe to prevent Israel from attacking Syria and Lebanon, and support efforts to end US-imposed sanctions on Iran amid the global pandemic.
Washington’s reversal came a day after it agreed to the text, negotiators said under cover of anonymity.
Fighting in the northwest has triggered a humanitarian disaster and brought Russia and Turkey closer to war
Though Libyans shaped the ebb and flow of battle, they were hardly alone, even then: circling high above were foreign warplanes from the NATO-led coalition that kept at bay fighters loyal to Muammar Gaddafi. And contrary to some official denials, there were also “boots on the ground” in the form of foreign special operations forces and intelligence personnel, from France, Britain, the U.S., the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, who discretely channeled weapons and training to fractious anti-Gaddafi groups. In such meddling, there were already signs of a proxy rivalry that would explode into open warfare years later.
Six military-grade Grad rockets targeted the airport in what GNA forces spokesman Mohammed Gnunu branded a “flagrant threat” to the safety of air traffic and a “new violation” of the ceasefire.
A number of European figures, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, German Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, and European Union foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell, further suggested the possibility of deploying peacekeeping troops to Libya if a permanent ceasefire were agreed, though this was not part of the discussions.
„Vladimir Putin updated Mohammed Al Nahyan on the results of talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which took place in Istanbul on Jan. 8,“ the statement said.
Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with Federal Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Angela Merkel.
The Russian President briefed the Federal Chancellor on the results of the talks with President of the Republic of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan held in Sochi on October 22, emphasising that the agreements they had reached take into account the interests of all parties and facilitate the restoration of sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.
SANA’s reporter in Hasaka said that army units advanced from the direction of Tal Tamr in the northern countryside of Hasaka towards the Turkish border, and deployed in the villages of Um Harmlah, Bab al-Kheir, Um Eshbeh, al-Asdiayah in the southeastern countryside of Ras al-Ayn, reducing the distance towards the Turkish border to few kilometers.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has accepted the ceasefire agreement brokered by Russia and Turkey last week and agreed to completely withdraw its Kurdish-led force from the Syria-Turkey border, the SDF said Sunday.
“How many Americans must die in the Middle East in the midst of these ancient sectarian and tribal conflicts?” he said. “I am committed to pursuing a different course, one that leads to victory for America.”
1. The two sides reiterate their commitment to the preservation of the political unity and territorial integrity of Syria and the protection of national security of Turkey.
2. They emphasize their determination to combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations and to disrupt separatist agendas in the Syrian territory.
3. In this framework, the established status quo in the current Operation Peace Spring area covering Tel Abyad and Ras Al Ayn with a depth of 32 km will be preserved.
„Yesterday, I held talks with US President Donald Trump. On Tuesday we will be continuing talks with Mr. Putin. In the area of the operation are forces of the regime [of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] under Russia’s protection. We will be tackling the issue with Mr. Putin,“ he stressed.
The mood both in Washington and in the Middle East is that the ceasefire is not the real deal. It expires on Tuesday, October 22, the same day Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recip Tayyip Erdogan will meet in Sochi to discuss the future of Syria. It seems pretty clear: that’s when the world will find out that the real deal will be for the future of this volatile region.
A senior Syrian Kurdish official has said his forces will pull back from a border area in accordance with a US-brokered deal after Turkey allows the evacuation of its remaining fighters and civilians from a besieged town in northeast Syria.
Turkey shelled Ras al-Ain in northeastern Syria in violation of its cease-fire, Kurdish forces said, preventing evacuations from the border town at the center of a fight testing the viability of a pact negotiated with the U.S.
Gunfire and artillery could be heard in the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain, the scene of the heaviest fighting for the last few days, by journalists just across the border in Turkey Friday morning and afternoon. But the town stood silent by Friday evening.
Too bad there wasn’t…..
…..this thinking years ago. Instead, it was always held together with very weak bandaids, & in an artificial manner. There is good will on both sides & a really good chance for success.
“I have contacted the Defense Ministry. They have told me that the withdrawal has begun. Our security forces in the area will remain there,” he told reporters after Friday prayers on Oct. 18.
Turkish-backed forces appear to be using munitions loaded with white phosphorus—a chemical that can maim and kill when it comes in contact with human flesh—in their violent campaign against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria, Foreign Policy has learned.
If Turkish proxies are intentionally using white phosphorous-loaded munitions to target civilians, that could constitute a war crime. After publication of this article, U.N.-backed investigators said they were looking into the accusations.
Clash in safe zone between Turkish forces and YPG/PKK terrorists is out of the question, and disinformation, Turkish president said on Oct. 18
US President Donald Trump’s letter to the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan was widely derided for its stream of consciousness and the unusual tone that discards accepted diplomatic etiquette normally accepted from a national leader.
One thing in the letter stood out in particular.
Gen. Mazloum Kobani, commander in chief of the Syrian Democratic Forces, told NBC News in an interview that he recently spoke to Trump and was assured that „there would not be a massacre against the Kurds“ and that Trump would stop the invasion immediately.
In an official statement posted on Facebook, the General Command of the Syrian Democratic Forces said: “Based on the request and approval of the Syrian Democratic Forces, with United States mediation represented by Vice President Mr. Mike Pence, today, an agreement for an immediate ceasefire between the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Turkish state along the front lines extending from Ras al-Ain/Sari Kani from the east to Tel Abyad city in the west was reached.”
Turkey has agreed to a five-day ceasefire in northeast Syria to allow for withdrawal of Kurdish forces, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday after talks with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan.
President Trump, speaking this afternoon from the tarmac at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base in Forth Worth, called the US-announced ceasefire in Turkey an „incredible outcome“ that saved lives.
„When those guns start shooting, they tend to do things, but I will tell you, on behalf of the United States I want to thank Turkey, I want to thank all of the people that have gotten together and made this happen,“ Trump said. „I want to thank everybody. And the other thing I want to thank as a group, I want to thank the Kurds, because they were incredibly happy with this solution. This is a solution that really — well it saved their lives, frankly. It saved their lives.“
Vice President Mike Pence, heading a U.S. delegation that includes Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and White House national security advisor Robert O’Brien, arrived in Turkey on Thursday, a day after Trump dismissed the very crisis he sent his aides on an emergency mission to douse.
Before the tentative ceasefire was brokered in the early hours of Monday morning, hundreds of rockets were fired into southern Israel on Sunday, killing at least four Israelis in the bloodiest fighting since the weeks-long 2014 war.
The number of Palestinians who died rose to 23, including two expectant mothers and two babies.
Netanyahu isn’t looking for a long-term solution now. He doesn’t believe one exists with the Palestinians, besides what he call “peace of deterrence” – another word for bullying the Palestinians until they give up. He’s perfectly aware that won’t happen in the foreseeable future and he’s prepared to wait even for another generation if that’s what it takes.
A senior official in Ghani’s office said the conditional ceasefire would run for three months, until the Prophet Mohammed’s birthday which Afghanistan celebrate on Nov.21
A deal negotiated between Israel and Hamas via UN and Egyptian mediation, whose first stage went into effect on Wednesday, entails a commitment to rebuild the Gaza Strip’s infrastructure and a prisoner swap to…
Understanding, approved by all minister but Bennett and Shaked, includes six phases to be implemented gradually
A three-day ceasefire for Eid al-Fitr saw Afghanistan enjoying a level of peace unseen in years. Taliban fighters and government forces celebrated together, shared meals, and got along. The ceasefire ended Sunday night, and everyone got orders to return to fighting.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Thursday announced an unconditional ceasefire with the Taliban until June 20, coinciding with the end of the Muslim fasting season, but excluded all other militant groups, such as Islamic State.
Achieving a cease-fire (or hudna in Arabic) between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip will most likely suffer a delay, despite ongoing negotiations being pursued through several channels.
Egypt, the United States and the United Nations have made progress in formulating a plan, and some ideas were discussed for the first time at the Gaza Conference at the White House in March.