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IS ambushes Iraqi Shiite-led force, killing 27 fighters

Added: 21.02.2018 9:13 | 0 views | 0 comments


BAGHDAD (AP) — Islamic State militants ambushed a group of Iraq's Shiite-led paramilitary fighters, killing at least 27 more than two months after Baghdad declared victory over the extremist group, officials said Monday

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IS kills 27 Iraq pro-government fighters: paramilitary force

Added: 20.02.2018 4:05 | 0 views | 0 comments


The Islamic State group killed 27 pro-government fighters in an ambush in Iraq, their paramilitary group said Monday, underlining the threat still posed by the jihadists despite Baghdad's declaration of victory. IS members, disguised as soldiers, attacked a Hashed al-Shaabi unit in the Hawija region about 300 kilometres (185 miles) north of Baghdad on Sunday evening, the auxiliary force said in a statement. "The attackers were dressed in military uniforms and during the fighting 27 of our heroes were martyred," added the Hashed, a key partner of the government in the battle against IS.

IS ambushes Iraqi Shiite-led force, killing 27 fighters

Added: 20.02.2018 1:09 | 0 views | 0 comments


BAGHDAD (AP) — Islamic State militants ambushed a group of Iraq's Shiite-led paramilitary fighters, killing at least 27 more than two months after Baghdad declared victory over the extremist group, officials said Monday

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Schoolgirl, 17, turned jihadi bride escapes death penalty and is jailed for six years

Added: 19.02.2018 13:00 | 0 views | 0 comments

GERMAN Jihadi bride Linda Wenzel has been caged for six years in Baghdad for her role as an Islamic enforcer with terror group ISIS. Wenzel, 17, who last year sobbed on TV “I have ruined my life,” could have faced the death penalty.

From: feedproxy.google.com

IS ambushes Iraqi Shiite-led force, killing 27 fighters

Added: 19.02.2018 11:16 | 1 views | 0 comments

BAGHDAD (AP) - Islamic State militants have ambushed a group of Iraq's Shiite-led paramilitary fighters, killing at least 27. The...

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U.S. urges help for Iraq, extends $3 billion credit line

Added: 13.02.2018 16:38 | 0 views | 0 comments

The United States on Tuesday urged members of the coalition fighting Islamic State to help rebuild Iraq or risk a reversal of the gains made against the group, and said it would extend to Baghdad a $3 billion credit line.

From: feeds.reuters.com

Isil leader Baghdadi 'alive in Syria but injured and no longer in control'

Added: 13.02.2018 16:20 | 1 views | 0 comments


Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, is still alive but injury and poor health has forced him to relinquish control of the terror group, according to an Iraqi intelligence chief and US officials. Baghdadi is hiding out in the desert on the Syrian side of the Syria-Iraq border northeast of Deir Ezzor province, said Abu Ali al-Basri, director general of Iraq’s intelligence and counter-terrorism office at the ministry of interior. "We have irrefutable information and documents from sources within the terrorist organisation that al-Baghdadi is still alive and hiding," Mr Basri was quoted on Monday in the government daily As-Sabah. The official said the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) chief had suffered from “fractures and serious wounds” which were likely the result of previous airstrikes on the organisation’s strongholds in Iraq and Syria.   Iraqi displaced people flee their houses due to the fighting between Iraqi forces and Isil at the old city areas, western Mosul, Iraq,  Credit: EPA Baghdadi, who also suffers from diabetes, is thought to have been left unable to walk unassisted  from injuries incurred from a raid in 2015 which were exasperated by another last May. Mr Basri described his condition as “severe”, saying he added that the jihadist had recently been admitted to a hospital in the Jazeera desert for his “deteriorating psychological state”. Russia had claimed it killed the reclusive leader, who has not been seen in public since declaring Isil’s caliphate from the Iraqi city of Mosul in July 2014, in an air strike on a meeting of senior Isil commanders near Raqqa on May 28. However it offered no evidence to back up the claim and it was questioned by the US-led coalition against Isil at the time. US officials confirmed to CNN that while Baghdadi's injuries were not considered life-threatening they did mean he has not been able to continue to command the daily operations of the group. Baghdadi, whose real name is Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim al-Badri, is thought to be communicating with the group’s followers via voice messages sent over encrypted app services. His last public message was in September last year.  Isil militants pose with the jihadists' flag after they seized an Iraqi army checkpoint in the northern Iraqi province of Salahuddin in 2014 Credit: AFP In the 46-minute audio, he called on supporters to carry out attacks on the West. Baghdadi’s whereabouts has been the subject of much speculation since the group’s defeat in all its former major strongholds in Iraq and Syria. The 46-year-old was believed to be holding up near Baaj, west of Mosul, until the US-backed Iraqi army offensive on the area in the spring of last year. Since then he is thought to have been moving around villages along the Syria-Iraq border still under Isil’s control. The Telegraph was told by a resident of the village of Jdaidet al-Okaibat in the outskirts of Deir Ezzor that he appeared on June 24 last year for Ramadan prayers, where he greeted followers and appeared "in good spirits".   Haider al-Abadi, Iraq’s prime minister, declared final victory over Isil late last year but stressed Iraqis to stay vigilant as sleeper cells and insurgencies remain a threat. Isil retains a significant presence in the desert plains of northeastern Syria's Hasakeh province despite having lost most of its cross-border "caliphate" which once also covered a third of neighbouring Iraq. Since the end of the offensives in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor - when thousands of fighters fled west - Isil had been taking advance of chaos elsewhere in Syria to regroup. There have been reports of the group launching numerous attacks against Syrian troops in Hama province. Hisham al-Hashimi, an adviser to the Iraqi government on its battle with Isil, said that of the group's 43 founding members Baghdadi is the last one left.  He said most of Isil's most senior commanders had been killed, leaving the jihadist group without any real leadership.   

ISIS boss Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi injured in airstrike, may not command daily operations

Added: 12.02.2018 18:10 | 0 views | 0 comments

ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may no command daily operations

Tags: ISIS, Baghdad
From: www.dnaindia.com

Dissecting the Syrian Civil war: who's fighting who and where

Added: 12.02.2018 3:47 | 0 views | 0 comments


Damascus, Idlib, Afrin and Aleppo - the blood-soaked regions in Syria's seven-year civil war are the subject of near daily reports of airstrikes, chemical attacks and civilian massacres. The scars of the conflict stretch far and wide - across ethnic divides, religious sects and down family lines - indiscriminately reducing whole cities to rubble, their remains pockmarked with bullet holes of seemingly endless fighting. But behind each region torn apart by the violence lies a distinct power struggle, between government forces, rebel fighters, Islamists, and proxy armies masking the strategic goals of a world powers. These multiple mini civil wars within the greater conflict in Syria make a peaceful solution little more than a distant hope. Here we break down and analyse five of the key battles raging across the country. Afrin Afrin (North West Syria) territorial control map On January 20, Turkey launched an offensive in northern Syria codenamed Operation Olive Branch alongside Free Syrian Army (FSA), aimed at dislodging Kurdish militia fighters from the Kurdish canton of Afrin. The battle for Afrin opened up another front in an already complicated, multi-sided war in Syria. The area is controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG), who are considered terrorists by Turkey because of the group’s connection to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkey sees the capture of Afrin as vital to securing its volatile southern border. Rebel fighters spearheading the battle want to capture the city to help create a land border to Idlib, which is controlled by Islamist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). The more moderate opposition fighters in the FSA are hoping to oust the al-Qaeda-linked rebels and reclaim the province. Kurds see Afrin as vital to any future autonomous state for the minority. The YPG has around 8,000-10,000 core fighters in Afrin but is gaining new recruits every day, including international volunteers. The offensive has rallied Kurds, who are hoping to use the cover of the war to make their federalist dream a reality. British and other foreign fighters who fought alongside the YPG against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) in Raqqa have joined the battle, pitting a Nato army against nationals from Nato members. Much of YPG’s weaponry is American, including machine guns, rocket launchers and MRAP-type armored vehicles, having been armed by Washington for the Raqqa battle. The YPG is coming up against Turkey, Nato’s second-largest military, and some 10,000 rebel fighters. Turkey has sent dozens of special forces and tanks to the border. The campaign has set Ankara on a collision course with Washington, which sees the Kurds are their most important ally in the fight against Isil. The operation was most likely launched with the consent of Russia, which backs President Bashar al-Assad and has troops stationed in Afrin. This is the second time the rebels have played a role in Turkey’s efforts to protect its interests in northern Syria. In its previous cross-border Operation Euphrates Shield in August 2016, Ankara had utilised FSA units to establish a wedge between the two Kurdish cantons along Turkey’s border. Idlib Idlib (North West Syria) territorial control map Idlib in northern Syria, which covers territory from northern Aleppo all the way to the border with Turkey, is the largest-remaining rebel stronghold. The province fell to the opposition in 2011 and has been fought over by both sides in the conflict ever since. Its important lies in its strategic positioning along the Aleppo to Turkey route - valuable to both the Syrian government and its opposition. Idlib has become something of a holding pen for rebels, who have been displaced from other areas of Syria by Assad forces. FSA rebels from Aleppo were sent there after surrendering to the regime in December 2016. More recently Isil fighters who fled their former territory in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor have also arrived in Idlib and the surrounding countryside, joining HTS, al-Qaeda’s Syria branch, which has become the most dominant group in the area. Moderate groups have had to make deals HTS in order to survive against Assad’s forces. The province is one of four designated “de-escalation zones” agreed upon by international powers Russia, Iran and Turkey at peace talks. However, the Syrian government has violated this agreement in recent weeks with its latest offensive. The Assad regime, supported by Russian jets, late last year launched its most serious attempt at retaking the province. The region is now pounded daily by both Syrian and Russian air strikes, which has left hundreds dead. Idlib was hit by a sarin gas last April, and the government has carried out an increasing number of chlorine attacks as the battle intensifies. The ground operation, which has seen Syrian troops and allied forces moving in on Idlib from its southern outskirts, has prompted the largest exodus of the nearly seven-year war, sending hundreds of thousands of civilians fleeing north towards the closed Turkish border. Experts say the largest and most deadly battle of the conflict will be in Idlib, where as many as two million civilians live. Deir Ezzor Deir Ezzor (East Syria) territorial control map Deir Ezzor has always been seen as one of the prizes of the war. Home to some of the country’s most lucrative oil fields, it has been fought over by more parties in the conflict than almost anywhere else. At one time or another, Isil, the Syrian government and its allied Iranian militias, Lebanese Shia militia Hizbollah, Russian troops, US special forces, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have fought for control of the province. Isil took control of the eastern city in a lightning offensive in 2014. It became one of its most important money-makers after the militants began selling off the crude oil from fields to the Syrian regime and Turkey. Both Syrian troops, backed by Iranian militias and Russian air strikes, and the US-backed SDF last year moved in on the city from opposite sides. The Euphrates river, which runs through the middle of Deir Ezzor, became the dividing line between Syrian forces on the western bank to US-backed SDF fighters on the eastern. Iran had wanted control of Deir Ezzor, which is close to Iraq and runs along the Baghdad to Damascus highway, to maintain control of a corridor from Tehran all the way to the Syrian capital. Controlling the route would ensure it could continue to get arms its allied militias in Iraq, Syria and Hizbollah in Lebanon. The US, which has a major base in al-Tanf to the south of Deir Ezzor, is keen to stop Iranian militias and maintain a presence in the area. This week the US-led coalition conducted air strikes against pro-government forces moving in on the area, in the deadliest intentional attack on the regime since the start of the conflict.  Despite months of fighting, Isil has still not been fully rooted from the province and continues to launch attacks on both Syrian troops and SDF fighters, leaving large numbers of casualties on both sides. Hundreds of the jihadists are thought to be holding out in the vast Deir Ezzor desert along the Syria-Iraq border. Eastern Ghouta Damascus (South West Syria) territorial control map Eastern Ghouta, which lies in the suburbs of the capital Damascus, has been besieged by Syrian forces for nearly five years. A year longer than the siege of Sarajevo. Assad has seen Eastern Ghouta, one of the first areas to protest against the government in 2011, as an important area to regain. Close to his seat of power in Damascus, he sees the enclave as a thorn in his side.   International concern has been rising over the fate of Ghouta, where the United Nations says acute shortages of food and medicine have contributed to the worst malnutrition seen in the Syrian civil war. Assad has continually denied access to the UN and other aid agencies to the enclave, where doctors say 500 people are in desperate need of urgent medical care and evacuation. It is home to almost 400,000 people and is in an agreed “de-escalation zone” under Russian-led ceasefire deals for rebel-held territory, but the fighting there has continued. The area hosts a number of Syrian rebel factions, but it is largely controlled by four main opposition groups. Jaish al-Islam, a hard-line militant group founded in 2013, is the most prominent fighting force in the eastern suburbs of the capital. More extreme groups Ahrar al-Sham and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) have had some limited control over the suburbs. Rebel fighters are thought to number somewhere between 8,000-12,000. Both the Syrian army and rebels have lost hundreds of fighters and soldiers during these on-and-off skirmishes. Ghouta has been partially destroyed by years of indiscriminate air strikes from Syrian and Russian jets. It was also the site of the deadliest chemical attack of the civil war. More than 1,000 people were killed by sarin gas dropped by Syrian jets in August 2013. The Obama administration had warned that the use of chemicals by the Assad regime would be a “red line” for the US, but it never acted. Aleppo and the surrounding countryside Aleppo (North West Syria) territorial control map Syria’s second city of Aleppo is the jewel in the country’s crown. The eastern side of the city was badly destroyed by Syrian troops and Russian jets during the years it was under rebel control. It feel back to the regime in December 2016 after it was brought to its knees by blockades and bombing. Rebel fighters and activists who surrendered were bussed to Idlib and other opposition areas along with their families, while many civilians have still not been allowed to return. Resident of Aleppo have been forced to flee again in recent weeks as Syrian forces push up from the southern suburbs. In the north of the province, meanwhile, Turkish troops are heading towards Manbij in Aleppo governorate. Manbij is a key flashpoint in northern Syria -- located northeast of Aleppo city and around 25 miles south of Jarabulus, which sits on the Syrian-Turkish border. Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), with the support of US air power, helped to root Isil forces from Manbij in August 2016. It is now under the control of the Manbij Military Council, which was set up by the SDF. Manbij marks the beginning of the range of influence of the SDF, the US’s proxies,  whom Ankara sees as terrorists. US has troops stationed there and has warned Ankara it will not withdraw them should Turkey continue. It is unclear what either Nato member would do when confronted with the other.

Dissecting the Syrian Civil war: who's fighting who and where

Added: 11.02.2018 18:06 | 0 views | 0 comments


Damascus, Idlib, Afrin and Aleppo - the blood-soaked regions in Syria's seven-year civil war are the subject of near daily reports of airstrikes, chemical attacks and civilian massacres. The scars of the conflict stretch far and wide - across ethnic divides, religious sects and down family lines - indiscriminately reducing whole cities to rubble, their remains pockmarked with bullet holes of seemingly endless fighting. But behind each region torn apart by the violence lies a distinct power struggle, between government forces, rebel fighters, Islamists, and proxy armies masking the strategic goals of a world powers. These multiple mini civil wars within the greater conflict in Syria make a peaceful solution little more than a distant hope. Here we break down and analyse five of the key battles raging across the country. Afrin Afrin (North West Syria) territorial control map On January 20, Turkey launched an offensive in northern Syria codenamed Operation Olive Branch alongside Free Syrian Army (FSA), aimed at dislodging Kurdish militia fighters from the Kurdish canton of Afrin. The battle for Afrin opened up another front in an already complicated, multi-sided war in Syria. The area is controlled by the Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (YPG), who are considered terrorists by Turkey because of the group’s connection to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkey sees the capture of Afrin as vital to securing its volatile southern border. Rebel fighters spearheading the battle want to capture the city to help create a land border to Idlib, which is controlled by Islamist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS). The more moderate opposition fighters in the FSA are hoping to oust the al-Qaeda-linked rebels and reclaim the province. Kurds see Afrin as vital to any future autonomous state for the minority. The YPG has around 8,000-10,000 core fighters in Afrin but is gaining new recruits every day, including international volunteers. The offensive has rallied Kurds, who are hoping to use the cover of the war to make their federalist dream a reality. British and other foreign fighters who fought alongside the YPG against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) in Raqqa have joined the battle, pitting a Nato army against nationals from Nato members. Much of YPG’s weaponry is American, including machine guns, rocket launchers and MRAP-type armored vehicles, having been armed by Washington for the Raqqa battle. The YPG is coming up against Turkey, Nato’s second-largest military, and some 10,000 rebel fighters. Turkey has sent dozens of special forces and tanks to the border. The campaign has set Ankara on a collision course with Washington, which sees the Kurds are their most important ally in the fight against Isil. The operation was most likely launched with the consent of Russia, which backs President Bashar al-Assad and has troops stationed in Afrin. This is the second time the rebels have played a role in Turkey’s efforts to protect its interests in northern Syria. In its previous cross-border Operation Euphrates Shield in August 2016, Ankara had utilised FSA units to establish a wedge between the two Kurdish cantons along Turkey’s border. Idlib Idlib (North West Syria) territorial control map Idlib in northern Syria, which covers territory from northern Aleppo all the way to the border with Turkey, is the largest-remaining rebel stronghold. The province fell to the opposition in 2011 and has been fought over by both sides in the conflict ever since. Its important lies in its strategic positioning along the Aleppo to Turkey route - valuable to both the Syrian government and its opposition. Idlib has become something of a holding pen for rebels, who have been displaced from other areas of Syria by Assad forces. FSA rebels from Aleppo were sent there after surrendering to the regime in December 2016. More recently Isil fighters who fled their former territory in Raqqa and Deir Ezzor have also arrived in Idlib and the surrounding countryside, joining HTS, al-Qaeda’s Syria branch, which has become the most dominant group in the area. Moderate groups have had to make deals HTS in order to survive against Assad’s forces. The province is one of four designated “de-escalation zones” agreed upon by international powers Russia, Iran and Turkey at peace talks. However, the Syrian government has violated this agreement in recent weeks with its latest offensive. The Assad regime, supported by Russian jets, late last year launched its most serious attempt at retaking the province. The region is now pounded daily by both Syrian and Russian air strikes, which has left hundreds dead. Idlib was hit by a sarin gas last April, and the government has carried out an increasing number of chlorine attacks as the battle intensifies. The ground operation, which has seen Syrian troops and allied forces moving in on Idlib from its southern outskirts, has prompted the largest exodus of the nearly seven-year war, sending hundreds of thousands of civilians fleeing north towards the closed Turkish border. Experts say the largest and most deadly battle of the conflict will be in Idlib, where as many as two million civilians live. Deir Ezzor Deir Ezzor (East Syria) territorial control map Deir Ezzor has always been seen as one of the prizes of the war. Home to some of the country’s most lucrative oil fields, it has been fought over by more parties in the conflict than almost anywhere else. At one time or another, Isil, the Syrian government and its allied Iranian militias, Lebanese Shia militia Hizbollah, Russian troops, US special forces, the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have fought for control of the province. Isil took control of the eastern city in a lightning offensive in 2014. It became one of its most important money-makers after the militants began selling off the crude oil from fields to the Syrian regime and Turkey. Both Syrian troops, backed by Iranian militias and Russian air strikes, and the US-backed SDF last year moved in on the city from opposite sides. The Euphrates river, which runs through the middle of Deir Ezzor, became the dividing line between Syrian forces on the western bank to US-backed SDF fighters on the eastern. Iran had wanted control of Deir Ezzor, which is close to Iraq and runs along the Baghdad to Damascus highway, to maintain control of a corridor from Tehran all the way to the Syrian capital. Controlling the route would ensure it could continue to get arms its allied militias in Iraq, Syria and Hizbollah in Lebanon. The US, which has a major base in al-Tanf to the south of Deir Ezzor, is keen to stop Iranian militias and maintain a presence in the area. This week the US-led coalition conducted air strikes against pro-government forces moving in on the area, in the deadliest intentional attack on the regime since the start of the conflict.  Despite months of fighting, Isil has still not been fully rooted from the province and continues to launch attacks on both Syrian troops and SDF fighters, leaving large numbers of casualties on both sides. Hundreds of the jihadists are thought to be holding out in the vast Deir Ezzor desert along the Syria-Iraq border. Eastern Ghouta Damascus (South West Syria) territorial control map Eastern Ghouta, which lies in the suburbs of the capital Damascus, has been besieged by Syrian forces for nearly five years. A year longer than the siege of Sarajevo. Assad has seen Eastern Ghouta, one of the first areas to protest against the government in 2011, as an important area to regain. Close to his seat of power in Damascus, he sees the enclave as a thorn in his side.   International concern has been rising over the fate of Ghouta, where the United Nations says acute shortages of food and medicine have contributed to the worst malnutrition seen in the Syrian civil war. Assad has continually denied access to the UN and other aid agencies to the enclave, where doctors say 500 people are in desperate need of urgent medical care and evacuation. It is home to almost 400,000 people and is in an agreed “de-escalation zone” under Russian-led ceasefire deals for rebel-held territory, but the fighting there has continued. The area hosts a number of Syrian rebel factions, but it is largely controlled by four main opposition groups. Jaish al-Islam, a hard-line militant group founded in 2013, is the most prominent fighting force in the eastern suburbs of the capital. More extreme groups Ahrar al-Sham and Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) have had some limited control over the suburbs. Rebel fighters are thought to number somewhere between 8,000-12,000. Both the Syrian army and rebels have lost hundreds of fighters and soldiers during these on-and-off skirmishes. Ghouta has been partially destroyed by years of indiscriminate air strikes from Syrian and Russian jets. It was also the site of the deadliest chemical attack of the civil war. More than 1,000 people were killed by sarin gas dropped by Syrian jets in August 2013. The Obama administration had warned that the use of chemicals by the Assad regime would be a “red line” for the US, but it never acted. Aleppo and the surrounding countryside Aleppo (North West Syria) territorial control map Syria’s second city of Aleppo is the jewel in the country’s crown. The eastern side of the city was badly destroyed by Syrian troops and Russian jets during the years it was under rebel control. It feel back to the regime in December 2016 after it was brought to its knees by blockades and bombing. Rebel fighters and activists who surrendered were bussed to Idlib and other opposition areas along with their families, while many civilians have still not been allowed to return. Resident of Aleppo have been forced to flee again in recent weeks as Syrian forces push up from the southern suburbs. In the north of the province, meanwhile, Turkish troops are heading towards Manbij in Aleppo governorate. Manbij is a key flashpoint in northern Syria -- located northeast of Aleppo city and around 25 miles south of Jarabulus, which sits on the Syrian-Turkish border. Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), with the support of US air power, helped to root Isil forces from Manbij in August 2016. It is now under the control of the Manbij Military Council, which was set up by the SDF. Manbij marks the beginning of the range of influence of the SDF, the US’s proxies,  whom Ankara sees as terrorists. US has troops stationed there and has warned Ankara it will not withdraw them should Turkey continue. It is unclear what either Nato member would do when confronted with the other.

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