After meeting in Ankara, US Vice President Mike Pence and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reached a deal to suspend Turkey’s military offensive in northern Syria for five days to allow Kurdish forces to withdraw from a designated area along the border. This is being widely reported as a “ceasefire.” However, Ankara is insisting the deal is not a “ceasefire” but a halt in the offensive to give Kurdish forces time to retreat from zone. Far from being a peace move, the pact amounts to an ultimatum to the Kurds to quit their territory. Some 160,000 Kurds have already fled the Turkish offensive—some to a refugee camp that has been established across the border in Iraq. (Photo: UNHCR via Twitter)
The European Union adopted a resolution against Turkey's accession as a member of the EU. The resolution passed in the European Parliament notes ongoing human and civil rights violations and lack of respect for minority religious and cultural rights. It mentions the "shrinking space for civil society," arrests and suppression of journalists, and dismissal of dissident academics, as well as the treatment of refugees and migrants within Turkey's borders. The body noted that Turkey's government has violated the due process rights of its own citizens under the guise of counter-terrorism. It has also intimidated its citizens abroad and abused Interpol arrest warrants to extradite its own nationals back to Turkey. (Map: CIA)
European governments are complicit in the systematic, unlawful and frequently violent "pushback" and collective expulsion of thousands of asylum seekers to squalid and unsafe refugee camps in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Amnesty International charges in a new report. By prioritizing border control over compliance with international law, European governments are not merely turning a blind eye to vicious assaults by the Croatian police, but actually funding such activities. In so doing, they are fueling a growing humanitarian crisis on the edge of the European Union. (Photo Border Violence Monitoring)
The European Parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on Russian authorities to release Ukrainian filmmaker Oleg Sentsov, and all the other "illegally detained Ukrainian citizens" in Russia and Russia-annexed Crimea. Sentsov has been on hunger strike in a Russian prison since May 14, demanding the release 64 Ukrainian citizens he considers political prisoners. Sentsov was arrested in Crimea in 2014, after Russia seized the Ukrainian region. The 76 MEPs who voted against the resolution are either of far-right formations such as the French National Front, Germany's Alternative für Deutschland, the Greek Golden Dawn, Italy's Northern League, the Netherlands' Party for Freedom, and Britain's UK Independence Party; or "leftist" parties such as the French Left Front, Germany's Die Linke, the Greek Syriza, Italy's The Other Europe, and Spain's Podemos. (Photo via Kyiv Post)
The UN reports a “notable trend of spontaneous returns” of displaced Syrians as regime gains bring a modicum of peace to some areas—but mass killings by regime forces continue.
More than 14,000 asylum seekers currently confined to five Greek islands in the Aegean Sea are facing dire circumstances due to unusually harsh winter conditions.
Amid disingenuous demands for the "evidence," all the political logic points to Russia being behind the hacks in an intentional strategy to throw the US election to Trump.
Hackers linked to Russian state intelligence used WikiLeaks to throw the US election, so Trump and Putin can instate a fascist order worldwide. Yes, we're serious.
A court on the Greek island of Lesbos ruled that Turkey is an "unsafe third country" for asylum seekers, throwing into doubt the EU-Turkey migrant deal.
Thousands of migrants are being held in detention camps in Greece and many are returned to Turkey without proper asylum hearings, rights groups and aid agencies protest.
Turkey has been forcibly returning up to 100 refugees to Syria per day since mid-January, Amnesty International charges—casting doubt on Ankara's migrant deal with the EU.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, expressed concern that the proposed migrant exchange program between the EU and Turkey could be illegal.