Thousands of Kurds are fleeing from cities near the Turkey-Syria border, as many in northern Syria prepare the Turkish assault which has been greenlit by American President Donald Trump.
A Syrian refugee has become a Canadian citizen today and a celebration was held at Halifax’s Pier 21. Tareq Hadhad is the founder of Peace by Chocolate, a company out of Antigonish, N.S. that has been quite successful.
Tareq Hadhad was elated to be called up to officially receive his Canadian citizenship. “It’s the biggest day of my life, full of emotions, absolutely,” Hadhad said following the ceremony. He is the first of his family to become a Canadian citizen.
“It’s certainly an honour, I feel that I belong to this amazing nation. I feel that I am free and I will go out of this place so proudly saying that I am so honoured to be a Canadian at this moment.”
Hadhad will waste no time integrating himself into the Canadian culture, saying a top priority is to pick up “a double-double with a toonie and [fly] to watch a hockey game on the weekend.”
Making chocolate is a part of Hadhad’s family history as his father, Assam Hadhad, made chocolate back in Damascus for two decades, employing 30 people in his factory according to CBC. The factory was tragically bombed amid the turmoil and warfare.
Prior to the outbreak of war the company used to ship specialty treats across the Middle East.
Hadhad’s family settled in Antigonish in 2016 after fleeing from Syria. They opened Peace by Chocolate —which ships products throughout the country and employs about 55 people, including other refugees as well.
Marco Mendicino, minister of immigration, refugees and citizenship spoke at Wednesday’s ceremony, “With all the complexities in the world, I think this is just a wonderful silver lining and positive story. It demonstrates that immigration is a true hallmark of our history, but also the key to our future,”
Hadhad passed his Canadian citizenship test with a perfect score, a fact he proudly shared via Twitter. The post went viral, even attracting attention and congratulations from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Lucille Harper of Antigonish was instrumental in bringing the Hadhads to Canada. She was thrilled to see their successful immigration story. “It’s just all we could ever really hope for,” she said.
Hadhad’s family has applied for Canadian citizenship and they are hoping to be able to take the test within the next couple of months. Alaa Hadhad, Tareq’s sister said it would mean the world to her and her children to join Tareq’s family as Canadian citizens.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey announced in Tunisia on Wednesday that his nation would openly accept an invitation from the Libyan government to intervene against rebels which currently control swaths of land including key Libyan oil facilities.
“Since there is an invitation [from Libya] right now, we will accept it,” Erdogan told members of his AK Party. “We will present the motion to send troops [to Libya] as soon as Parliament resumes.”
The wording used was the firmest yet in regard to the rebels led by renegade general Khalifa Haftar.
Haftar is reportedly backed by 7,000 mercenaries, as well as Russian fighters but is not recognized by the international community.
Since April, he and his mercenaries have fought against Libya’s Government of National Accord(GNA), making rapid gains.
This has angered Turkey and Qatar which support the GNA, while Russia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Egypt and to some degree France continue to support Haftar.
United States President Donald Trump has just confirmed during a White House press statement that Baghdadi died from a suicide vest detonation, taking the lives of three children with him.
“Last night, the United States brought the world’s number one terrorist leader to justice,” Trump began. “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead. He was the founder and leader of ISIS, the most ruthless and violent terror organization anywhere in the world.”
“The United States has been searching for Baghdadi for many years. Capturing or killing Baghdadi has been the top national security priority of my administration,” Trump continued.
“U.S. Special Operations Forces executed a dangerous and daring nighttime raid in Northwestern Syria and accomplished their mission in grand style. The U.S. personnel were incredible — I got to watch much of it.
“No personnel were lost in the operation, while a large number of Baghdadi’s fighters and companions were killed with him,” Trump said.
Trump goes on to describe the manner in which Baghdadi died, saying, “He died after running into a dead end tunnel, whimpering, and crying and screaming all the way.”
Trump says the compound had been cleared by this time, with many either surrendering or being shot and killed.
U.S. forces managed to rescue eleven young children from the compound, moving them out of the house as they conducted their raid. None of these children were injured during the operation.
“The only ones remaining,” Trump continued, “were Baghdadi in the tunnel, and he had dragged three of his young children with him. They were led to certain death.
“He reached the end of the tunnel as our dogs chased him down,” Trump said. “He ignited his vest, killing himself and the three children.”
Trump says that the blast, which caused the tunnel to cave in, mutilated Baghdadi, but that test results gave positive confirmation that the body at the end of the tunnel was Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS.
“The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him,” Trump said.
Trump says the entire operation took roughly two hours and that American forces were able to retrieve “highly sensitive” information from the compound related to ISIS, both their origins and their future plans of terrorism.
“Baghdadi’s demise demonstrates America’s relentless pursuit of terrorist leaders, and our commitment to the enduring and total defeat of ISIS and other terrorist organizations,” Trump said. “Our reach is very long.”
Trump also mentioned the U.S. successful killing of Al-Qaeda’s heir apparent Hamza bin Laden only last month. He says that terrorists should never sleep soundly knowing that the U.S. will completely destroy them.
“These savage monsters will not escaped their fate and they will not escape the final judgement of God,” Trump said.
“Today’s events are another reminder that we will continue to pursue the remaining ISIS terrorists to their brutal end. That also goes for other terrorist organizations,” Trump said. “They are likewise in our sights.
“Baghdadi and the losers who worked for him — and losers they are — they had no idea what they were getting into. In some cases, they were very frightened puppies; in other cases, they were hardcore killers.”
Trump then honoured the American lives lost in the U.S. campaign against ISIS, and detailed some of the horrendous acts of ISIS against U.S. troops and others in the Middle East.
Trump concluded his speech by thanking the other nations which aided the U.S. in decimating ISIS, including Russia, Syria, Turkey, and Iraq, as well as the Syrian Kurds.
“[Baghdadi] died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place,” Trump said. “God bless America.”
While Turkey continues its invasion of Syria, Kurdish lawmakers inside Turkey continue to face serious persecution.
According to reports, Kurdish lawmakers in Diyarbakır (Amed) who wanted to make a statement opposing the invasion of Rojava (Northeastern Syria) were surrounded by hundreds of police with shields and were only allowed to leave once they agreed to stop their announcement.
While worrying, the enrichment largely continues Turkey’s extremely aggressive and discriminatory stance on Kurds, whom the country worries may break away or join the Kurdistan Workers’ Party(PKK) a Kurdish militant and political group, which the United States and Turkey consider as a terrorist organization.
Since 1984 the PKK has been involved in an armed conflict with the Turkish state.
Previously, Edrogen’s regime has arrested more than a dozen Kurdish lawmakers inside Turkey, with much of that attention being focused on Diyarbakır.
Following the 2014 local elections, for example, Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) were elected co-mayors of Diyarbakır.
Both were detained by Turkish authorities “on thinly supported charges” of being a member of the (PKK).
Some days later, the Turkish government appointed an unelected state trustee as the mayor.
In November, public prosecutors demanded a 230-year prison sentence for Kışanak.
In the 2019 Municipal election, Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı was elected mayor of Diyarbakir.
In August 2019 he was dismissed and accused of supporting terrorism.
Adnan and three other district co-mayors from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) party, were also detained through a police raid on their respective homes this morning, the Cumhuriyet reported.
Outside of Turkey itself, the stance has been even more aggressive, with recent videos of the nation’s invasion into Rojava allegedly showing militias killing a Kurdish lawmaker.
Outside of attacks against politicians, there have now also been allegations that chemical weapons have been used by Turkey, placing the country in war-crimes territory.
Turkey has denied any use of chemical weapons in a statement released on Thursday. The country has claimed that the Kurds dousing their own children in deadly chemicals in order to make them look bad.
“We receive information that terrorist organizations, after using chemical weapons on themselves, will throw the blame onto our armed forces and try to create perception,” Minister of National Defense Hulusi Akar said.