Representative of the Syrian opposition that participated in the Astana talks on the Syrian reconciliation, called on the international community to disqualify Saudi Arabia from mediating settlement of the Syrian conflict, according to a letter of the so-called Astana Initiative's Executive Committee obtained by Sputnik on Saturday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — More than 70 representatives of the Syrian opposition gathered in Kazakhstan's capital Astana twice in 2015 — in May and October.
"Saudi Arabia’s attitude since the start of the conflict and the fact that Saudi authorities have raised tensions between communities and encouraged the emergence of groups of extremist fighters should disqualify them from taking part in negotiations that will lead to peace in Syria," the letter sent to US Special Envoy for Syria, UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura and the Russian Foreign Ministry reads.
The committee added that Saudi Arabia had not followed the agreements reached by international negotiators in Vienna in November since participants of the opposition conference recently held in Riyadh were "selected under obscure conditions."
"We also want to stress the importance and necessity of including all representatives of the Syrian opposition standing against terrorism in any negotiations over the future of Syria on equal footing, without arbitrary exclusions, and without conferring special status on any political group."
Earlier this month, the UN Security Council adopted a resolution on Syrian settlement, which reaffirmed the goals of the Vienna agreements to bring the entire spectrum of the political groups in the crisis-torn country to the negotiating table and stated that the next round of the UN-sponsored intra-Syrian talks would take place in January, 2016.
On December 8, opposition groups from Syria gathered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Two days later, they formed a 32-member council tasked with choosing 15 delegates to represent the Syrian opposition during talks with Damascus.
Commenting on the results of the talks in Saudi Arabia, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow did not agree with the position that the Riyadh conference participants represent the entire Syrian opposition.
Turkey's government refused the invitation to join the center set up in Baghdad to exchange intelligence on terrorists that pose a threat to the region, the Turkish president said in an interview on Saturday.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told al-Arabiya television that his government refuses to cooperate with the intelligence center set up in Baghdad by the governments of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Russia to exchange information on the Daesh terrorist group.
"Syria, Iran, Iraq and Russia have formed a quartet of allies and asked Turkey to join them, but I told President Putin that I can't sit next to a President (Assad) whose legitimacy raises doubts," Erdogan told the interviewer.
In September it emerged that Iraq, Iran, Syria and Russia had set up the information center in Baghdad to collect and analyze intelligence on Daesh and other militant Islamic groups in the Middle East. The center is run by military representatives from each country, who will each head the center on a three month rotational basis.
The Turkish president was also asked about the incursion of a 25 tank battalion and around 150 Turkish troops into northern Iraq at the beginning of December. The Iraqi government demanded the immediate withdrawal of the troops and complained to the UN Security Council about the military action, which it called a violation of Iraq's sovereignty.
Erdogan replied that the Turkish forces are there at the request of the Iraqi government.
"When ISIS (Daesh) entered Iraq, the Iraqis asked us to help, and we said we were ready to do so. We asked them to find a place to establish our base, and they did. Everything began in March last year, and in March we were allocated the area of Bashiqa," said the Turkish president, who began to withdraw some of the troops on December 14.
On Thursday the Arab League condemned Turkey's deployment of its armed forces in northern Iraq.
"The council denounces the Turkish military incursion into Iraq as an aggression against Iraqi sovereignty and a threat to the Arab national security," stated the Arab League following an emergency meeting of the organization in Cairo.
It demanded the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of all Turkish troops from Iraqi territory.
Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State jihadist group (ISIL or Daesh, outlawed in Russia) said that the Daesh militants would soon establish an Islamic state in Palestine.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The leader of the Islamic State jihadist group (ISIL or Daesh, outlawed in Russia) issued an audio message where he threatened Israel, media reported on Saturday.
"The Jews thought we forgot Palestine and that they had distracted us from it. Not at all, Jews. We did not forget Palestine for a moment. With the help of Allah, we will not forget it… The pioneers of the jihadist fighters will surround you on a day that you think is distant and we know is close. We are getting closer every day," Abu Bakr Baghdadi said as quoted by The Telegraph.
He added that the militants would soon establish an Islamic state in Palestine.
Baghdadi was reportedly wounded in October by an Iraqi army bombing of his convoy and the place where he was to meet with other IS leaders, some of them killed by a subsequent airstrike.
Daesh is a violent extremist group that has seized large areas in Iraq and Syria since 2014 and is notorious for committing many human rights atrocities
INTERNATIONAL MILITARY REVIEW – SYRIA, DEC. 25, 2015
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This is the only headlines in western media today.
Two different narratives -it is not among the headlines (that I can see) from Russian media, al-Masdar or al-Manar