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US ‘a highly unreliable’ partner to Ankara: Turkish official | Syria News

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The United States has been “a highly unreliable partner” to Ankara as a result of inconsistencies in Washington’s Syria policy as well as its approach to Turkey and “terrorist” groups, a senior Turkish official told Al Jazeera.

“The problems and misunderstandings between the US and Turkey are results of the confusion and cacophony between the actors at different levels of the US administration and institutions,” Yasin Aktay, who advises President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his AK Party, said on Monday in an interview.

Turkish and US officials have been trading barbs over Washington’s support for Kurdish fighters in Syria and what will happen to the areas held by them in the north of the country after the planned US troop withdrawal.  

Erdogan said last week the US administration is “seriously mistaken” in cooperating with Syrian Kurdish fighters, while President Donald Trump threatened on Sunday to “economically devastate” Turkey if it carries out a military offensive against the militia.

Trump announced the withdrawal of some 2,000 US troops from Syria last month, shocking many politicians in Washington as well as Western allies and Syrian Kurdish fighters who fought against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, ISIS) alongside American troops.

Washington in ‘confusion’

According to Aktay, the US administration has been incoherent about the withdrawal process since Trump’s announcement as well as in its approach to different “terrorist groups”.

“Trump is stuck between US public opinion that widely questions the US presence in Syria and the wider Middle East, and politicians from his party and allies such as Israel and Saudi Arabia who are against the withdrawal,” he said, adding Trump has shifted positions over the drawdown various times over the last few weeks.

Trump’s decision to withdraw troops was initially expected to be carried out swiftly, but the timetable has become vague and some conditions were set in the weeks following his announcement, including the safety of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an anti-ISIL force led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

“Washington fights one terrorist group, Daesh, while backing another one, the YPG. Such inconsistencies in US policies decrease the country’s reputation as a global power,” Aktay said, using an alternative name for ISIL.

US-backed SDF’s assaults were part of multiple operations that have removed ISIL fighters from most of the swaths of Syria and Iraq they captured in 2014.

Ankara considers the YPG and its political wing, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), to be “terrorist groups” with ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged war in Turkey since the 1980s.

Turkey has long condemned Washington for its military relationship with the YPG, and it seeks to take over militia-controlled areas east of the Euphrates River in Syria.

Ankara has launched two military operations in northern Syria over the last three years that targeted YPG and ISIL.

Warning from allies

After Trump’s withdrawal announcement, France, Britain and local armed groups warned ISIL had not totally been defeated yet in Syria. The decision also prompted the resignation of US defence chief James Mattis.

Subsequently, US officials made clear the withdrawal would not happen quickly and would take place in an orderly manner, as the White House faced a backlash from members of Congress.






Turkish forces conduct military exercises on Syria border

Aktay said the US ignores the threat the YPG poses to Turkey and keeps making the mistake of identifying the group with Syrian Kurds.

“The US officials keep talking the PYD and YPG as if these groups represent the Syrian Kurds. This is scandalous. There are other ethnicities in these groups and they are engaged in terrorist activity regardless of their ethnicities,” he told Al Jazeera.

“As a NATO ally, the US supports and prefers to cooperate with a threat to another NATO ally, emerging as a highly unreliable partner,” he added.

Follow Umut Uras on Twitter: @Um_Uras

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Driver in satisfactory condition following head-on Gatineau collision

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One person was in hospital in satisfactory condition following a head-on collision between two vehicles in Gatineau on Saturday.

According to Gatineau police, the crash occurred around 1:30 p.m. on Montée Paiement, between Saint-Thomas and Saint-Columban roads.

Each of the vehicles had only one occupant at the time of the incident.

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Ottawa military family alleges bad faith eviction by Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Canada

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An Ottawa military family alleges their former landlord — Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Canada — acted in bad faith when he gave them a notice of eviction, claiming he intended to move into their Vanier rental home with his own family.

The home is now listed for sale for $950,000, two months after Vivian and Tim Funk moved out with their two young children.

In documents filed with the Landlord and Tenant Board, the Funks detailed how their landlord, Sulaiman AlAqeel, acted to end their tenancy by allegedly pretending he was moving in himself. This was preceded by an attempt to market the house to new tenants for significantly more money when the Funks had not given notice indicating they would be leaving, the documents alleged. “The landlord’s representative,” according to the documents, allegedly told the Funks they needed to accept a $500 monthly rent increase and a new lease if they wanted to continue living in the rental property, which wouldn’t be legal under the Residential Tenancies Act.

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Ottawa COVID-19 hospitalization data showing half of cases coming from community, not just long-term care

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With local data showing 50 per cent of COVID-19 hospitalizations coming from the community, long-term care residents aren’t the only one vulnerable to severe illness from the virus, Ottawa’s Board of Health reports.

Despite the majority of deaths having happened in older adult age groups in long-term care homes, residents shouldn’t think institutions are the only settings that are vulnerable to outbreaks that lead to serious illness from the virus.

“[Ottawa Public Health] continues to expand our understanding of the types of settings and situations that have the most impact on COVID-19 transmission in our community and is seeking academic partners to better explore exposure risks as well as a broader assessment of the harms from different public health measures,” OPH outlined in its document, to be present at the Board of Health on Monday.

At the same time, however, OPH says it is working closely with partners on “processes to strengthen and streamline responses.” This includes weekly meetings across agencies to address issues and concerns to ensure a strong collaboration, ongoing communications with facilities, preventative visits and phone calls to review infection prevention and control.

In situations where OPH identified failings at an LTCH or concerns of compliance have been raised, OPH has been quick to issue letters of expectation that outline the deficiencies and timelines fo compliance.

It is unclear how many letters have been issued through both waves of the virus.

And while outbreaks in LTCH during wave two have recorded a higher number of LTCH outbreaks than in wave one, the overall morbidity and mortality has been lower. This means fewer cases, fewer deaths and a lower average duration of outbreaks.

OPH contributed this to building on lessons learned from early COVID-19 outbreaks in LTCH in Ottawa.

https://www.ottawamatters.com/local-news/ottawa-covid-19-hospitalization-data-of-severe-illness-shows-half-of-cases-coming-from-community-not-just-long-term-care-homes-3136152

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