AFRICA Eswatini (Security threat level – 3): Anti-government demonstrators have...
Turkey (Security threat level – 3): On 31 May 2022, riot police used tear gas and pepper spray to disperse demonstrators who took to the streets near Istanbul’s Taksim Square to mark the ninth anniversary of nationwide anti-government protests launched from the city’s Gezi Park. The demonstrators intended to gather at Taksim Square but police officers intervened on Istiklal Street — where clashes broke out between police officers and protesters who attempted to forcibly reach the square. Local officials stated that 170 protesters were taken into custody during the unauthorized gathering. There were no immediate reports of casualties connected to the violence.
Turkey / Syria (Security threat levels – 3 / 5): On 1 June 2022, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced a plan to establish a “safe zone” extending approximately 30 km (20 mi) south of the Turkey-Syria border. Erdogan stated that the military operation is intended to remove Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) militants from the Syrian cities of Tel Rifaat and Manbij. The prospective operation aims to assist in creating a land bridge between areas in Syria’s Aleppo governorate that Turkish forces already control. This operation will be the fifth major military offensive the Turkish government has undertaken in Syria over the past six years.
Analyst Comment: Tel Rifaat and Manbij are controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish group that has fought against the Islamic State group alongside French, U.K. and U.S. forces. However, Turkish officials consider SDF to be strongly linked to the PKK.
Tunisia (Security threat level – 3): On 31 May 2022, the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT) called for a national strike beginning on 16 June. The UGTT is demanding increased wages and is voicing opposition to President Kais Saied’s plans to cut spending and privatize state companies. During the strike, nearly all staff members at 159 state institutions and state-owned companies will observe work stoppages. The intended duration of the strike is unknown.
Analyst Comment: In response to a severe financial crisis, the Tunisian government is seeking a 4 billion U.S. dollar loan from the International Monetary Fund to avoid national bankruptcy. In exchange, the IMF is demanding reforms such as cutting food and energy subsidies and freezing wages. The IMF demands are unpopular among the general public; wage freezes and subsidy cuts are occurring alongside record 7.5% inflation.
Mali (Security threat level – 5): As of 30 May 2022, a blockade of the RN 16 Highway maintained by the al-Qaeda-linked Jama’at Nasr al-Islam wal Muslimin (JNIM) militant group since 25 May continues to prevent travel between the cities of Douentza and Gao. Travel from and to localities such as Boni has also been halted, as JNIM militants have reportedly placed improvised explosive devices on stretches of the highway that leads to Boni in order to isolate the town from the rest of the Mopti and Gao regions. Local media sources indicate that the militants may have targeted Boni due to the town’s cooperation with Malian military forces stationed in the area. As of last report, at least 15 passenger buses carrying hundreds of people are currently stranded about 35 km outside of Douenzta, as local operators deem travel on the highway too dangerous to continue regular services.
Myanmar (Security threat level – 4): On 1 June 2022, the U.S. Embassy in Yangon issued a Security Alert regarding the deteriorating security situation in Myanmar, which reads in part as follows: “An explosion occurred at a bus stop located at the corner of Anawratha Road and 35th Street, Kyauktada Township in downtown Rangoon on May 31, 2022 at approximately 15:30 p.m. The media reported one fatality as a result of this event.
“The security situation throughout Burma is unpredictable due to active fighting, explosions, and uncertain safety conditions. Avoid large gatherings and organized events. Conditions may deteriorate without warning. U.S. citizens should remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness. Know the location of your closest shelter and protected space. If you feel your location is no longer safe, you should carefully assess the potential risks involved in moving to a different location.”
The full text of the alert can be found here.