A US military commander, second from the right, is seen walking with Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) at the group's headquarters, which was hit by Turkish air strikes in Mount Karachok near Malikiya, Syria on April 25, 2017. Rodi Said / Reuters
A US military commander, second from the right, is seen walking with Kurdish fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG) at the group's headquarters, which was hit by Turkish air strikes in MounShow more

Turkey bombs Kurdish fighters in Iraq and Syria, killing more than 20



ERBIL // More than 20 Kurdish fighters were killed on Tuesday when Turkey launched a series of air strikes against Kurdish militia groups in Syria and Iraq, attacking a key US ally in the fight against ISIL in Syria and escalating the standoff between rival Kurdish parties in Iraq.

Turkish warplanes struck positions of groups affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, known as the PKK, in Syria’s northeastern Hassakeh province and in the Sinjar area of northern Iraq in the early hours of Tuesday.

“To destroy these terror hubs which threaten the security, unity and integrity of our country and our nation and as part of our rights based on international law, air strikes have been carried out,” the Turkish army said on Tuesday, vowing continued action against groups linked to the PKK which has been engaged in a decades-long insurgency in Turkey.

The army said it had killed 70 militants in the strikes but the groups targeted gave much lower tolls.

In Syria, the attacks targeted the Peoples’ Protection Units – Syrian Kurdish militia known as the YPG – on Mount Karachok, near the city of Derik in Hassakeh province. At least 20 militia fighters were killed and 18 wounded, according to YPG spokesman Redur Khalil.

Due to its ties with the PKK, Turkey regards the YPG as a terrorist organisation that threatens its internal security.

The YPG is receiving training, equipment and air support from the United States, and is widely regarded as ISIL’s most capable opponent in Syria.

It is part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, an umbrella organisation that is only a few kilometres from Raqqa – ISIL’s self-declared capital.

In Iraq, Turkey’s air force targeted positions of the YBS, a Yazidi affiliate of the PKK, in Sinjar. The strikes killed and wounded a number of its fighters, according to Zagros Hiwa, a PKK spokesman in Iraq.

But five members of the Iraqi Kurdish armed forces, the peshmerga, also died in the attacks, while nine were wounded, according to the Kurdistan Regional Government. It said one member of its internal security service was also killed.

The ministry of peshmerga called the deaths of its fighters “unacceptable” but was quick to blame the PKK for the incident.

“We announce that all these problems are due to the presence of PKK in the area as they have made issues for the people of the Kurdistan Region,” it said.

The Kurdistan Regional Government and the PKK have been jostling for control over Sinjar ever since ISIL was expelled from much of the area in November 2015.

Turkey has thrown its weight behind the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the dominant Kurdistan Regional Government party in Sinjar, in a bid to stymie the PKK’s influence in the region near the Syrian border.

“[Turkey] views northern Iraq from Kirkuk upwards as its sphere of influence. The strategic goal is to ensure KDP dominance in the area. Turkey can only exercise real influence through the KDP ultimately,” said Kirk Sowell, head of the Utica Risk Services consultancy and publisher of the Inside Iraqi Politics newsletter.

Sinjar is part of a broad swathe of territory straddling the automous Kurdish region that is claimed both by the Kurdistan Regional Government and the Iraqi government, and the dispute offers Turkey a chance to build its influence in an area nominally under Iraqi control.

The town of Sinjar and the surrounding area are the heartland of the Yazidi religious minority. When ISIL launched a lightning attack into Sinjar in August 2014, the peshmerga stationed in the area retreated, allowing the extremists to kill and abuct thousands of Yazidis.

The panicked survivors were surrounded on Mount Sinjar, the craggy ridge line that dominates the landscape in the area. A YPG attack launched from Syria in December 2015 broke through the encirclement, allowing tens of thousands of Yazidis to escape to safety.

The ISIL assault dented the Turkey-backed KDP’s popularity among the Yazidi community, while leading to a surge in recruits to the Yazidi-affiliated YBS.

Both the peshmerga and the PKK maintained a heavy presence in Sinjar after ISIL was driven out of the city in 2015, and relations have remained fraught.

ISIL remains lodged in the southern edge of the Sinjar region. But reconstruction and returns to the area have also been hampered by the intra-Kurdish rivalry and hundreds of thousands of Yazidis still live in displacement camps, unable or unwilling to return to their homes.

“The tensions between the KDP and the PKK is the main reason people aren’t moving back to their homes. They expect a fight, and if they fight there will be a war,” said Dakheel Ismail, a Yazidi who joined the peshmerga and is stationed on the front lines with ISIL in Sinjar.

Turkey regularly conducts air strikes against PKK bases in the Qandil mountains near the Turkish border.

Before Tuesday it had refrained from bombing the PKK or its YBS subsidiary in Sinjar, but had been anxiously watching the area becoming a transit hub between Qandil and the Kurdish enclave in northern Syria, from where the Syrian Democratic Forces is launching a campaign to take Raqqa.

foreign.desk@thenational.ae

* With additional reporting from Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters

Company profile

Date started: May 2022
Founder: Husam Aboul Hosn
Based: DIFC
Sector: FinTech — Innovation Hub
Employees: eight
Stage: pre-seed
Investors: pre-seed funding raised from family and friends earlier this year

Citizenship-by-investment programmes

United Kingdom

The UK offers three programmes for residency. The UK Overseas Business Representative Visa lets you open an overseas branch office of your existing company in the country at no extra investment. For the UK Tier 1 Innovator Visa, you are required to invest £50,000 (Dh238,000) into a business. You can also get a UK Tier 1 Investor Visa if you invest £2 million, £5m or £10m (the higher the investment, the sooner you obtain your permanent residency).

All UK residency visas get approved in 90 to 120 days and are valid for 3 years. After 3 years, the applicant can apply for extension of another 2 years. Once they have lived in the UK for a minimum of 6 months every year, they are eligible to apply for permanent residency (called Indefinite Leave to Remain). After one year of ILR, the applicant can apply for UK passport.

The Caribbean

Depending on the country, the investment amount starts from $100,000 (Dh367,250) and can go up to $400,000 in real estate. From the date of purchase, it will take between four to five months to receive a passport. 

Portugal

The investment amount ranges from €350,000 to €500,000 (Dh1.5m to Dh2.16m) in real estate. From the date of purchase, it will take a maximum of six months to receive a Golden Visa. Applicants can apply for permanent residency after five years and Portuguese citizenship after six years.

“Among European countries with residency programmes, Portugal has been the most popular because it offers the most cost-effective programme to eventually acquire citizenship of the European Union without ever residing in Portugal,” states Veronica Cotdemiey of Citizenship Invest.

Greece

The real estate investment threshold to acquire residency for Greece is €250,000, making it the cheapest real estate residency visa scheme in Europe. You can apply for residency in four months and citizenship after seven years.

Spain

The real estate investment threshold to acquire residency for Spain is €500,000. You can apply for permanent residency after five years and citizenship after 10 years. It is not necessary to live in Spain to retain and renew the residency visa permit.

Cyprus

Cyprus offers the quickest route to citizenship of a European country in only six months. An investment of €2m in real estate is required, making it the highest priced programme in Europe.

Malta

The Malta citizenship by investment programme is lengthy and investors are required to contribute sums as donations to the Maltese government. The applicant must either contribute at least €650,000 to the National Development & Social Fund. Spouses and children are required to contribute €25,000; unmarried children between 18 and 25 and dependent parents must contribute €50,000 each.

The second step is to make an investment in property of at least €350,000 or enter a property rental contract for at least €16,000 per annum for five years. The third step is to invest at least €150,000 in bonds or shares approved by the Maltese government to be kept for at least five years.

Candidates must commit to a minimum physical presence in Malta before citizenship is granted. While you get residency in two months, you can apply for citizenship after a year.

Egypt 

A one-year residency permit can be bought if you purchase property in Egypt worth $100,000. A three-year residency is available for those who invest $200,000 in property, and five years for those who purchase property worth $400,000.

Source: Citizenship Invest and Aqua Properties

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home. 

RACE CARD

6.30pm Al Maktoum Challenge Round-1 Group 1 (PA) Dh119,373 (Dirt) 1,600m

7.05pm Handicap (TB) Dh102,500 (D) 1,200m

7.40pm Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (Turf) 1,800m

8.15pm UAE 1000 Guineas Trial (TB) Dh183,650 (D) 1,400m

9.50pm Handicap (TB) Dh105,000 (D) 1,600m

9.25pm Handicap (TB) Dh95,000 (T) 1,000m

pakistan Test squad

Azhar Ali (capt), Shan Masood, Abid Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Fawad Alam, Haris Sohail, Imran Khan, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Mohammad Abbas, Yasir Shah, Usman Shinwari

The biog

First Job: Abu Dhabi Department of Petroleum in 1974  
Current role: Chairperson of Al Maskari Holding since 2008
Career high: Regularly cited on Forbes list of 100 most powerful Arab Businesswomen
Achievement: Helped establish Al Maskari Medical Centre in 1969 in Abu Dhabi’s Western Region
Future plan: Will now concentrate on her charitable work

Voy! Voy! Voy!

Director: Omar Hilal
Stars: Muhammad Farrag, Bayoumi Fouad, Nelly Karim
Rating: 4/5

Mica

Director: Ismael Ferroukhi

Stars: Zakaria Inan, Sabrina Ouazani

3 stars

The specs: 2018 BMW R nineT Scrambler

Price, base / as tested Dh57,000

Engine 1,170cc air/oil-cooled flat twin four-stroke engine

Transmission Six-speed gearbox

Power 110hp) @ 7,750rpm

Torque 116Nm @ 6,000rpm

Fuel economy, combined 5.3L / 100km

UAE v IRELAND

All matches start at 10am, and will be played in Abu Dhabi

1st ODI, Friday, January 8

2nd ODI, Sunday, January 10

3rd ODI, Tuesday, January 12

4th ODI, Thursday, January 14

Kill

Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

Tips for taking the metro

- set out well ahead of time

- make sure you have at least Dh15 on you Nol card, as there could be big queues for top-up machines

- enter the right cabin. The train may be too busy to move between carriages once you're on

- don't carry too much luggage and tuck it under a seat to make room for fellow passengers

Company profile

Company name: Hakbah
Started: 2018
Founder: Naif AbuSaida
Based: Saudi Arabia
Sector: FinTech
Current number of staff: 22
Initial investment: $200,000
Investment stage: pre-Series A
Investors: Global Ventures and Aditum Investment Management

Superpower

Director: Sean Penn, Aaron Kaufman

Rating: 3/5

Generational responses to the pandemic

Devesh Mamtani from Century Financial believes the cash-hoarding tendency of each generation is influenced by what stage of the employment cycle they are in. He offers the following insights:

Baby boomers (those born before 1964): Owing to market uncertainty and the need to survive amid competition, many in this generation are looking for options to hoard more cash and increase their overall savings/investments towards risk-free assets.

Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980): Gen X is currently in its prime working years. With their personal and family finances taking a hit, Generation X is looking at multiple options, including taking out short-term loan facilities with competitive interest rates instead of dipping into their savings account.

Millennials (born between 1981 and 1996): This market situation is giving them a valuable lesson about investing early. Many millennials who had previously not saved or invested are looking to start doing so now.

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

Results

6.30pm: Dubai Millennium Stakes Group Three US$200,000 (Turf) 2,000m; Winner: Ghaiyyath, William Buick (jockey), Charlie Appleby (trainer).

7.05pm: Handicap $135,000 (T) 1,600m; Winner: Cliffs Of Capri, Tadhg O’Shea, Jamie Osborne.

7.40pm: UAE Oaks Group Three $250,000 (Dirt) 1,900m; Winner: Down On Da Bayou, Mickael Barzalona, Salem bin Ghadayer.

8.15pm: Zabeel Mile Group Two $250,000 (T) 1,600m; Winner: Zakouski, James Doyle, Charlie Appleby.

8.50pm: Meydan Sprint Group Two $250,000 (T) 1,000m; Winner: Waady, Jim Crowley, Doug Watson.


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