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Turkey willing to help Canada repatriate ISIS members held in Syria, official says – National



Turkey willing to help Canada repatriate ISIS members held in Syria official says National


Turkey is open to allowing captured Canadian ISIS members to transit through the country so they can return to Canada for prosecution, a Turkish official said in an interview.

The official told Global News that Turkey was willing to co-operate with the RCMP to repatriate the dozens of Canadians caught by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces during the collapse of ISIS.

“I think we would be positive to that,” said the official. Due to the sensitivity of the issue, the official and a colleague spoke on the condition they would not be identified.

They said Turkey would not deal directly with the Kurdish forces holding the Canadians in Syria but said if the RCMP or Canadian Armed Forces brought them to the border, they would be allowed through.

“With some imagination, I suppose a way could be found,” the official said.

‘We need to get ready’: RCMP planning for return of Canadian ISIS members

The RCMP have been exploring options for bringing the roughly 30 Canadians held by the Syrian Democratic Forces back to Canada. Turkey is considered the preferred route.

The Liberal government has said it would be difficult to get the Canadians out of Syria because they could be arrested and charged by authorities in neighbouring Turkey or Iraq.

But in a national security podcast released Friday, two experts said Canada’s current policy of inaction was not a lasting solution and the government needed to find a way to get them home.

“There needs to be something done about these Canadians that are abroad,” said Leah West, a former Department of Justice lawyer and now a doctoral candidate at the University of Toronto faculty of law.

‘It’s a dangerous situation:’ Goodale on what could happen to Canadian ISIS fighters left in Syria

Speaking on A Podcast Called Intrepid, she told hosts Stephanie Carvin and Craig Forcese that countries needed to work out a collective solution, “because leaving them in the hands of the Kurds is not sustainable.”

Jessica Davis, a former Canadian Security Intelligence Service analyst and now president of Insight Threat Intelligence, said while returning them to Canada had its own challenges, it had to be done.

“I think leaving them overseas is much more problematic from a threat perspective. There’s a possibility of being released, of being reintegrated into ISIS forces. All of those things just make it worse,” she said.

The RCMP have been looking into transiting the Canadians through Turkey, but want to ensure Turkish authorities would not question the detainees or search their electronic devices.

Deadly export: Canadians responsible for hundreds of terrorism deaths and injuries overseas

Doing so could taint their prosecution in Canada. Upon their arrival in Canada, the RCMP intend to lay charges when possible or seek peace bonds to restrict their actions.

The RCMP see Turkey as a better option than Iraq, where foreign ISIS members could face death sentences. An RCMP delegation visited Turkey a few weeks ago, and officials from the two NATO allies held recent security consultations.

One complication is who would hand the detainees over to Turkish authorities. The coalition holding the Canadians is dominated by the Kurdish Peoples Protection Units or YPG.

Turkey views the YPG as part of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which it considers a terrorist organization.

“We wouldn’t deal directly with the YPG. I don’t see that possibility,” the Turkish official said. “We don’t deal with terrorists.”

Alleged Canadian ISIS fighter talks about his capture in video released by Syrian Democratic Forces

Those currently in detention in Syria include a Canadian who used social media to encourage terrorist attacks in Canada, and another who is believed to have helped produce ISIS execution videos.

Several Canadian women and their children are also among the detainees.

Following the defeat of ISIS in Syria, and the capture of thousands of foreign fighters and their families, the RCMP have ramped up preparations for their possible return of Canadians.

“We need to get ready in case they come back sooner than what we had expected,” Deputy Commissioner Gilles Michaud, who heads the RCMP’s federal policing branch, said in February.

To the extent possible, he said, the RCMP are trying to have charges ready before they set foot back on Canadian soil and is working with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to see what can be used as evidence.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali



Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu

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Harris accepts VP nomination



Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself



Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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