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Syria: 70 notables assassinated in YPG-controlled areas



In recent months, the areas controlled by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the governorate of Deir ez-Zor (eastern Syria) have witnessed assassinations of notables and respected personalities on a near-daily basis.

Local sources in the governorate revealed on Wednesday that they had documented about 70 assassinations of notables in the YPG-controlled areas over the last five months.

The sources told Anadolu Agency that unknown individuals carried out assassinations on an almost daily basis, since the murder of Leader of Al-Aqeedat tribe Mutashar Al-Hafl in August 2020, taking advantage of the significant security deterioration in the YPG areas.

The sources added that last November, in the town of Al-Sijr, unidentified individuals assassinated Abdul-Razzaq Al-Muhammad and Ibrahim Al-Attiyah (nicknamed Abu Bakr Qadisiyah), a former commander of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) who was known for his strong opposition to the YPG.

On Sunday, unidentified gunmen assassinated Sheikh Talyush Eshatat, his son Mahmoud and another unidentified person, after storming his house in the town of Al-Hawaij. Former FSA Commander Ahmed Al-Alwan and his son were also killed in the city of Al-Busayrah in the countryside of Deir ez-Zor, according to the same source.

READ: Assad regime claims Israel struck areas in Deir-Ez-Zor

Following the murders, the High Council for Syrian Tribes and Clans issued a statement condemning the assassinations targeting notables and well-known personalities in the region.

According to the statement, the council: “Condemns in the name of its Arab, Kurdish, Turkmen and Syriac-Assyrian components all terrorist operations that targeted the Syrian people in general, and the tribal sheikhs and tribesmen in particular in the Deir ez-Zor governorate.”

The statement held: “Terrorist organisations that want to manipulate the tribal components and end their presence in the region”, responsible for the assassinations.

Earlier, the Syrian Al-Aqeedat tribe demanded that the international coalition hand over the administration of the Arab regions in eastern Syria to the locals, accusing the SDF, which is dominated by the YPG terror group, of carelessness in pursuing the assassinators.

Several towns in the eastern countryside of Deir ez-Zor have witnessed mass protests against the assassinations. At the same time, the YPG responded by attacking and besieging the towns, leading to civilian fatalities and injuries in addition to dozens of arrests.

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Asia & Americas

Israel’s Mossad chief to meet Biden, set out conditions to reform Iran’s nuclear deal



Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will send Israel’s Mossad Chief Yossi Cohen to Washington next month to meet with US President Joe Biden in order to set Tel Aviv’s demands for reforming Iran’s nuclear deal, the Times of Israel reported yesterday.

According to the Israeli newspaper, Israeli TV Channel 12 broke the news on Saturday night, adding that Cohen, a trusted Netanyahu ally, would be the first senior Israeli official to meet with Biden and the chief of the CIA.

Israel is afraid that reviving Iran’s nuclear deal would help it enrich uranium and relieve its economy, the Israeli newspaper said.

Channel 12 reported that Cohen will present Israel’s demands to Biden, which are: Iran must halt the enrichment of uranium, stop producing advanced centrifuges and cease supporting terror groups, foremost Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

The demands also include ending Iran’s military presence in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, stopping “terror” activities against Israeli targets overseas and granting full access to the IAEA on all aspects of its nuclear programme.

READ: Israeli officials concerned over Biden’s stance on Iran and Palestine

Biden’s nominee for Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that the US administration would consult with Israel and other allies when it takes a decision to revive the nuclear deal with Iran.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu urged Biden to work with Israel to deal with the “threat posed by Iran”.

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Iran welcomes Saudi’s readiness to hold talks



Tehran yesterday welcomed Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister’s remarks about the kingdom’s readiness to peacefully resolve differences between the two countries, spokesman of Iran’s Foreign Ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh said.

“It looks like the Saudi officials have begun reforming some of their policies concerning the interaction with some of the Persian Gulf’s littoral countries, having understood that war and bloodshed do not help them out anymore, and also having despaired of their former allies,” Press TV reported Khatibzadeh saying.

Khatibzadeh pointed out, according to Tehran Times, that if Riyadh seriously puts policy reforms on its agenda and concludes that the solution to problems lies in “regional cooperation”, Iran will be the first country to welcome these reforms.

“We have always stressed that regional countries should arrive at a common understanding regarding the regional problems,” he stated, noting that such understanding would help establish a “secure mechanism” that keeps the region safe.

READ: Saudi Arabia, US have ‘common’ interests in Yemen, foreign minister says

Iran, he continued, is ready to negotiate with Saudi Arabia if it changes tack, adding that Tehran is ready to address Saudi concerns.

“The Saudis may have some concerns, and by the way, we emphasise that we need to talk about these concerns,” Khatibzadeh said.

“Some concerns may be illusions that open the door to other powers in the region, and we are even willing to talk about such concerns.”

These remarks came after Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Faisal Bin Farhan said that his country was extending its hand to Iran to make peace.

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MEPs criticise Bahrain’s human rights violations



In a letter sent to the EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell, 16 MEPs voiced their “deep concern” about the deterioration of human rights in Bahrain, MEP Karen Melchior tweeted last week.

The letter was sent to Borrel prior to his meeting with the Bahraini minister of foreign affairs.

“We are deeply concerned by the ongoing deterioration of human rights in Bahrain, following a year where, as highlighted by Human Rights Watch, there has been an ‘escalated repression’ of the Bahrain government against critics’,” the letter said.

“We therefore kindly urge you to take this opportunity to hold your Bahrain counterparts accountable for their human rights commitments by raising the cases of European-Bahrain dual citizens Abdulhadi Al-Khawaja and Sheikh Mohammad Habib Al-Muqdad and urging Bahrain to restore their moratorium on the death penalty,” the letter added.

The MEPs also drew attention to what they called the kingdom’s de facto suspension in 2017 of a moratorium on the death penalty, highlighting that five of six executions that have taken place were deemed arbitrary by UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Agnes Callamard.

READ: IUMS leader praises Biden’s speech on rejection of racism, ethnic discrimination

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