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#881 amor de cosmos

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 08:52 AM

Iraqi forces on Tuesday seized a munitions depot amid ongoing army operations to capture eastern Mosul from the Daesh terrorist group, according to a local police officer.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Police Brigadier Mazhar Abdel-Basit said four tons of materials used to manufacture explosives had been found in the depot.

Since late October, Iraqi forces, backed by U.S.-led coalition warplanes, have been trying to recapture Mosul, which Daesh overran in mid-2014.

Last week, the Iraqi army announced the "total liberation" of eastern Mosul -- after nearly three months of fighting -- from the grip of the terrorist group.

Daesh militants are now reportedly shoring up their defenses in western Mosul in anticipation of large-scale army operations to recapture the area.


Rapid Response Division started moving toward Mosul bank. Iraq

PMU phase 6 west Mosul operations soon. Iraq

Reuters: US has reportedly begun supplying the SDF with troop carriers and armoured vehicles.

SDF to make a comprehensive assault to cut ISIL's supply rout between DeirEzzor and Raqqa.

SDF received the Canadian made Gurkha LAPF armored vehicle, will directly participate in Raqqa assault.

Iraq's forces are bombarding Mosul airport and its peripheries ahead of the next phase of #MosulOp.


Iraqi aircraft dropped leaflets over western Mosul early Tuesday urging civilian residents to brace for impending army operations aimed at wresting the area from the Daesh terrorist group.

"Your enemy [Daesh] has been defeated in eastern Mosul," the leaflets read. "Your armed forces are now preparing to advance on the western side [of the city]."

The leaflets also called on residents to cooperate with Iraqi military personnel with a view to limiting civilian casualties and facilitating the operation.

Iraqi Army Captain Qassem al-Rabei told Anadolu Agency that troops were currently awaiting orders to advance on western Mosul.


A U.S.-backed alliance of Syrian militias said on Tuesday it saw signs of increased U.S. support for their campaign against Islamic State with President Donald Trump in office, a shift that would heighten Turkish worries over Kurdish power in Syria.

A Kurdish military source told Reuters separately the next phase of a campaign by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance -- which includes the Kurdish YPG militia -- aimed to cut the last remaining routes to Islamic State's stronghold of Raqqa city, including the road to Deir al-Zor.

The YPG has been the main partner on the ground in Syria for the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State, fighting as part of the SDF that has driven Islamic State from swathes of northern Syria with the coalition's air support.

The YPG also has links to a Kurdish party, the PKK, designated by Turkey as a terrorist group.

It forms the military backbone of autonomous regions that have been set up by Kurdish groups and their allies in northern Syria since the onset of the war in 2011, alarming Turkey where a Kurdish minority lives just over the border. The main Syrian Kurdish groups say their aim is autonomy, not independence.

SDF spokesman Talal Silo told Reuters the U.S.-led coalition supplied the SDF with armored vehicles for the first time four or five days ago. Although the number was small, Silo called it a significant shift in support. He declined to give an exact number.

"Previously we didn't get support in this form, we would get light weapons and ammunition," he said. "There are signs of full support from the new American leadership -- more than before -- for our forces."

He said the vehicles would be deployed in the campaign against Islamic State which has since November focused on Raqqa city, Islamic State's base of operations in central Syria.


#882 amor de cosmos

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 09:33 AM

ISIS documents for Drone factories for Walayiat AL-Jazeera and Mosul. Iraq


PMU units have met with Peshmerga forces northern Talafar, Now both share same frontline against ISIL.

SDF announces third phase of fighting ISIS in Raqqa countryside


Operations in Mosul paused since the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) recaptured eastern Mosul on January 24. The ISF is now preparing to retake the western side. Political conditions have changed, however. Increased pressure on Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to keep his premiership and uncertain relations between the U.S. and Iraq may allow pro-Iranian groups to extract concessions from PM Abadi that run contrary to U.S. interests in Iraq.

The ISF recaptured the last ISIS-held neighborhood in eastern Mosul on January 24, nearly three months since operations in the city began on November 1, 2016. Preparations and troop movement are now underway for operations to break into western Mosul, though no official start date has been announced. Mosul Operations Commander Lt. Gen. Abdul Amir Yarallah announced that local Ninewa police and fighters, headed by the 16th Iraqi Army Division, will hold recaptured eastern neighborhoods while local Ninewa tribal militias will hold recaptured land outside of the city limits. The Federal Police stated on January 29 that their forces were moving towards western Mosul, suggesting that the three brigades which supported southeastern operations returned to their original position on the southern axis.

PM Abadi is at increased risk of losing his premiership. Former PM Nouri al-Maliki is maneuvering to reclaim the position by appealing to Iranian interests and courting the pro-Iranian support base away from PM Abadi. PM Abadi, who has been receptive to and supported by the U.S., may need to make concession to the pro-Iranian political base in order to ensure his position, especially if U.S.-Iraq relations strain. PM Abadi compromised on the appointment of a Badr Organization member as the Minister of Interior on January 30, despite previous reservations. He may also need to appease political parties by allowing their affiliated militias greater latitude in anti-ISIS operations.

PM Abadi may have conceded Tel Afar to the Popular Mobilization, who have long lobbied to own the operation. Popular Mobilization media stated on January 27 that Lt. Gen. Yarallah announced that the Popular Mobilization were assigned to recapture Tel Afar with Iraqi air support. Pro-Iranian militias, including the Badr Organization, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH), and Kata’ib Hezbollah, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, have been building up in the vicinity of Tel Afar, rather than moving west towards the Syrian border as they had previously intended. In previous urban operations, such as Fallujah, the Popular Mobilization has entered urban terrain behind a more experienced ISF frontline. The militias are likely seeking to coordinate with the ISF to bolster their limited urban warfare capabilities and generate Coalition air support. Badr Organization leader Hadi al-Amiri met with Iraqi Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Uthman al-Ghanimi on January 26 to discuss northern operations, indicating that this effort is underway.



Erbil – A US-led coalition airstrike killed a number of Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants, including a jihadist leader, in the Iraqi city of Mosul on Tuesday.

At least five ISIS members were killed, including the ISIS security official Sarhan al-Souri, when a US airstrike hit western Mosul.

Informed local sources told ARA News that the air raid targeted an ISIS security office in the Islah Ziraai neighbourhood in the western part of Mosul city, in Iraq’s northwestern Nineveh Governorate.

Sarhan al-Souri, a Syrian jihadist, was the chief of the ISIS-led Security Commission of Western Mosul.

“Al-Souri was responsible for torturing and executing dozens of innocent people in Mosul,” the head of Nineveh media centre, Raafat al-Zarari, told ARA News.


NINEVEH PLAINS, Iraq – Pickups with goods piled high leave Khazir Camp as thousands of displaced residents of Mosul return home after the eastern part of Iraq’s second city was declared liberated completely from ISIS.

Three months of battle against Mosul and its surroundings displaced almost 190,000 civilians, of whom 29,000 have returned home. Of those, about 13,000 left the two camps near the Kurdistan Region capital of Erbil, Khazir and Hassan Sham, in just over two weeks.

Many more are eager to follow their lead, like Ashar Abbot, 25, who came to Hassan Sham Camp with her husband and five children. “We have not enough space, with seven people in a tent,” she complained. “The children feel cooped up.”

She also worried about them catching illnesses both because of the winter cold and also because of overcrowding with so many people living so near to each other.

Although her home neighborhood is safe, it does not have electricity and water, like most of the city.

“We just have to manage,” Abbot said. “We have a well for the water and will buy a generator.”

For this very same reason, internally displaced from other Iraqi towns have not returned yet. When Tikrit and Fallujah were liberated it took months before comparable amounts of civilians went back, even though it was safe and mines and booby traps had been cleared.

The situation in Mosul is different because many civilians decided not to leave in order to secure their houses and possessions, and under the advice of the Iraqi army who encouraged people to stay in their homes rather than flee and overwhelm limited resources for displaced persons. For that reason, only days after the Iraqi army recaptured neighborhoods, daily life returned.


#883 amor de cosmos

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 09:13 AM

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A 3,000-strong Arab force is to be deployed to the fight against ISIS militants in Raqqa, under the banner of the Kurdish-led multi-ethnic Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who have captured large areas north and west of the self-proclaimed ISIS capital in northern Syria.

Ahmad al-Jarba, the head of the Syrian Elite Force, also called Syrian Special Force, said that the Arab fighters, who are under his command, are receiving training by the US-led coalition.

"Now we are preparing for the battle of Raqqa," Jarba told Reuters in an interview in Cairo. "There is a training program with the coalition forces. We will be ready to enter this battle in force and we are in the process of preparing for it to liberate our lands."

The SDF, at the time of announcing the second stage of Raqqa operation, dubbed the Wrath of Euphrates, revealed that the Syrian Elite Force will join the military campaign, following a request from the US-led coalition.

“The Wrath of Euphrates is expanding even more with more groups joining, including... the Special Forces that belong to the al-Ghad al-Souri Movement," the SDF stated in December.

After reaching an agreement with the US-led coalition, the elite force will fight under the SDF flag for the Raqqa operation but will remain an independent force, Talal Silo, the SDF spokesperson said in December.


Qamishli – The Islamic State (ISIS) radical group has executed six of its own militant fighters in northeastern Syria, after accusing them of escaping the battlefield, activists reported on Wednesday.

The six militants were reportedly arrested by ISIS guards near Margada town in Syria’s northeastern Hasakah Governorate, after fleeing clashes with Syrian army forces in Deir ez-Zor.

“ISIS has accused them of treason for failing to defend the so-called Caliphate,” a media activist in Margada told ARA News, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The militant fighters evacuated their post in northern Deir ez-Zor without permission, while clashes continued between ISIS and Syria regime’s forces in the area,” the source added.

The six militants were publicly executed by firing squad in central Margada on Wednesday.


#884 amor de cosmos

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Posted 03 February 2017 - 09:49 AM

Nowadays everyone is talking about expelling ISIS out of Raqqa after Mosul which is very close of being totally liberated despite the group’s great ferocity. The fundamental question is what comes after Raqqa? Where would the group go?

There are four expected scenarios.

First Scenario: Withdrawal and return to the desert

This scenario is based on the fact that ISIS may repeat its experience in Iraq after the defeat in 2007 when they went back to Anbar desert before controlling over Raqqa and its countryside after the Syrian revolution and Mosul in summer 2014.

The group could hide in the desert without making any important moves but with keeping the dormant cells out of the group’s controlled areas waiting for the moment when they can rebuild their structure.

ISIS destination this time will be the Syrian Desert which the group already controls most of it except for some areas in eastern Qalamun. The Syrian Desert is linked with Al Anbar desert and it is next to most of the Syrian cities, Hama, Homs, Damascus, Der Ez zor, Daraa, Sweida and of course Raqqa. Peoples who believe in this scenario indicate that retaking Palmyra, setting a lot of tunnels and preparing lots of hospitals all indicate that this scenario is real.

The Second Scenario: the group’s extension to new countries and territories

Over the past few years, ISIS made several related groups in western and northern Africa, Libya, Yemen and parts of Sinai Egypt. In Libya, the group brought fighters from Iraq and Syria n order to unite the fighters, also the group worked of recruiting fighters from other terrorist groups, such as (Boko Haram) in order to distribute their thoughts.

People who believe in this scenario call it The Ink Spot, because each and every branch of this terrorist group with expands like a spot of ink over a paper. It is difficult for this scenario to happen in Yemen and western Africa but it is easier in countries like Algeria and Libya. The group’s next direction might be Jordan or Saudi Arabia through the borders with Iraq and Syria and the group’s last attack over Karak shows the group’s intention.

The Third Scenario: The Lone Wolves

It is a predicted scenario where this scenario does not need significant structural efforts but it needs security expertise which the group already has. The group’s work will be divided into two ways; first it will be located in the group’s areas, Iraq and Syria where the group will depend on suicidal attacks and wait until it is possible for the group to launch a large campaign over the near cities, the second way will be the increase in the group’s lone attacks in the European cities in every possible way, bombing or run over by vans in order to move the battle to the group’s enemies lands.

The fourth Scenario: Inactivity

Maybe the group will plant the largest number possible of inactive cells all over the world and waiting for the right time to launch a big attack but this strategy needs available leadership of the group works on taking advantage of any political or security situation that allows the group to launch an attack.


MOSUL, Iraq – After losing control over the eastern half of Mosul, ISIS has cut off the national power grid to the liberated areas, leaving locals to depend on private generators that currently provide only seven hours of electricity at a price of about $10 per ampere, too expensive for some to afford.

Climbing a utility pole in Karama district, Mofaq Amir is busy trying to find the thin cable to his house among a network of dozens of similar lines. He is trying to reconnect the electricity after it was cut during fighting between Iraqi security forces and ISIS.

Amir is worried about the high cost of buying electricity from the local generators. “Too expensive,” he said, complaining that ISIS cut the national grid as they lost half of the city.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told reporters last Tuesday that the government is trying to solve the issue. He confirmed that the national grid is delivered to the liberated areas in Mosul from the western half, currently under full control of the extremist group.

For local generators though, the concern is that there are not enough consumers. There is not much they can do to bring down costs, though, because fuel is expensive.

“I am providing seven hours of electricity a day. My generator has the capacity of 1,200 amperes, but currently I have sold only 500 amperes,” said Ahmad Mohammad who runs one of the generators in Bakir district.

According to figures from the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity, there are 24 power stations in the eastern half, three of which have gone out of service completely. It will cost the government about $30 million to rebuild these power stations, the ministry said.


Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) Al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) said Wednesday they launched an offensive to clear the road linking the strategic towns of Tal Afar and Sinjar in western Mosul from Islamic State militants.

The force’s media service said the “complementary” operation sat on from the region of Ein Hussan to clear the road between the two towns located near the borders with Syria.

Since its formation in 2014 Al-Hashd al-Shaabi has been actively involved in the Iraqi government’s fight against Islamic State militants. PMUs have been active around Islamic State’s supply lines coming from Syria, and had achieved a remarkable victory in November when they recaptured the Tal Afar military airport.The conglomerate of dozens of Shia volunteer militias won state recognition as a national armed force in November.

Iraqi government forces, backed by PMUs and a U.S.-led international military coalition, have been fighting Islamic State since mid October to retake the city of Mosul, the group’s largest bastion in Iraq which fell in its grip in 2014.


Edited by amor de cosmos, 03 February 2017 - 10:11 AM.

#885 amor de cosmos

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Posted 04 February 2017 - 08:54 AM

Damascus – After four days of heavy clashes with Syrian army forces, militant fighters of the Islamic State (ISIS) on Friday captured strategic areas northeast of Damascus.

ISIS seized control of three military bases in the Qalamoun region northeast of the Syrian capital, after clashes with pro-regime’s army troops.

“The militant group is now in control of three major army bases in the Qalamoun, including headquarters of the Brigade 559, the Chemical Brigade and al-Mahjoura base,” local media activist Wassim Doghmoush told ARA News.

Dozens of casualties were reported on both sides.

According to the ISIS-linked Amaq Agency, at least 30 Syrian soldiers were killed in the Qalamoun clashes.

“Islamic State jihadis launched the operation from three directions, using heavy artillery and mortar fire, forcing the army to evacuate the three bases,” Doghmoush said.

Friday’s progress may enable ISIS to storm the Syrian army’s S-Airbase in the Qalamoun region.


An alliance of U.S.-backed militias started a new phase of its campaign against the Islamic State-held city of Raqqa on Saturday, aiming to complete its encirclement and sever the road to militant strongholds in Deir al-Zor province.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said in a statement the action was being undertaken with "increasing support from the (U.S.-led) international coalition forces" through both air strikes and backing from coalition special forces on the ground.

The SDF, which includes the powerful Kurdish YPG militia, launched its multi-phased campaign aimed at encircling and ultimately capturing Raqqa in November. It is the main U.S. partner in the fight against Islamic State in Syria.

Fighting also raged between Islamic State and Syrian government forces northeast of Aleppo, where the Syrian army is nearing the IS-held city of al-Bab, risking a confrontation with Turkish forces that are fighting the group in the same area.

Islamic State is being fought in separate campaigns in Syria by the U.S.-backed SDF, the Turkish army and the Syrian rebel groups it backs, and the Syrian army with help from the Russian air force and Iranian-backed militia.

A SDF commander told Reuters the forces had so far advanced a few kilometres (miles) in the latest phase, which aims to capture areas to the east of the city, including the highway linking it to Deir al-Zor province.

Deir al-Zor, which is almost entirely in Islamic State hands, stretches all the way to the Iraqi border. A Kurdish military source told Reuters on Tuesday that the goals of this phase included capturing the main highway.


This is the third phase of the Raqqa operation. The first phase targeted areas north of Raqqa city. The second, targeting areas to the west of the city, is ongoing, with SDF forces yet to capture the Islamic State-held Euphrates dam.

Air strikes on Friday in Raqqa hit two bridges over the Euphrates river, hindering movement from the city southwards and killing six IS militants, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

U.S. support for the SDF has been a point of tension with NATO ally Turkey, which views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a group that has fought a three-decade insurgency in Turkey.

The United States says it is providing training and material support only to Arab elements of the SDF. It supplied them last month with armoured vehicles for the first time to help in the Raqqa campaign.


An alliance of US-backed fighters says it has begun a new phase of its campaign on the ISIL-held city of Raqqa in northern Syria, aiming to complete its encirclement and sever the road to the group's strongholds in Deir az Zor province.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said in a statement on Saturday that the offensive was getting an "increasing support from the international coalition forces through guaranteeing air cover for our forces' advances, or via the help provided by their special teams to our forces on the battle ground".

The multi-ethnic SDF alliance, which is dominated by the Kurdish YPG fighters, is waging a campaign to capture the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's (ISIL, or ISIS) stronghold in Raqqa with support from the US-led coalition against the group. The SDF also includes Arab factions, Syrian Christian fighters and Turkmen units.

According to Kurdish media, SDF spokesperson Jihan Sheikh Ahmed said they started a new phase to liberate the villages in the east part of Raqqa, with the support of civilians from the region.

Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from the Turkish city of Gaziantep along the Syrian border, said that the offensive was initially launched in November last year and was being conducted in phases.

"The first phase was pushing from the north. Second one was pushing from the west. And now, in the third phase, the forces are trying to push from the east," she said.

"There is also heavy fighting that has been going on north of Raqqa city, where the SDF are backed by coalition air strikes.

"Also overnight, the coalition forces took out the last bridge crossing the Euphrates. There were five bridges and all of them were taken out."


It seems like the International Coalition is trying to prevent the people of Raqqa from crossing to the southern coast of the river, so in order to flee out of the city, people had only one direction which is toward the Syrian democratic Forces who are only 20 kilometers far from the city. This is all just to make the image of these troops better in the local community and to make them look like liberators, several photos have been published for local people welcoming these troops they were all taken by force.

Activists and residents indicated that the strategy of targeting the city’s infrastructure is detrimental to the civilian everyday life; it does not harm ISIS at all because this targeting has paralyzed the movement of the civilians not the group’s fighters because fighters have their own ways to cross the river like in Der ez Zor where they are using boats which are expensive and not every civilian can afford.

The International Coalition has destroyed some small bridges in the city’s countryside, such as Salhabiea, Al Ansar, Galta, Abbara and the military bridges. The Euphrates Dam, 50 kilometers far from Raqqa, is the only bridge lift in Raqqa province.

The New Bridge in Raqqa city was built in sixties with a length of approximately 500 meters and a width of 16 meters with four car lanes and two walking paths, whereas the Old Bridge was built during the French Occupation in the thirties with a width of 10 meters along with holding drinking water pipes. These two bridges are southern Raqqa and the distance between them is approximately 5 kilometers.


#886 amor de cosmos

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Posted 05 February 2017 - 08:35 AM

Turkish police have detained hundreds of suspected ISIL members in nationwide raids, according to state media, in the biggest roundup to target the armed group in Turkey.

More than 400 suspects, most of them foreign nationals, were arrested during operations conducted in at least 18 provinces, Anadolu news agency reported on Sunday.

At least 60 people were held in the capital, Ankara, while 150 were arrested in Sanliurfa in the southeast and a further 47 in the nearby city of Gaziantep close to the Syrian border.

In the Aegean province of Izmir, security forces held at least nine suspected ISIL members who were allegedly preparing for an attack.

Another 18 people were arrested in Istanbul and the neighbouring province of Kocaeli on suspicion of planning attacks. Fourteen foreigners, including 10 children, were due to be deported.

"It seems to be the biggest operation coordinated nationwide on people suspected of having ties with ISIL, which makes it clear that Turkey is clamping down on these fighters," Al Jazeera's Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Gaziantep, said.


As a walkie-talkie carried word of another casualty from an Islamic State mortar attack, an Iraqi policeman peered through leaves at enemy positions just across the Tigris River. He kept his head low to avoid snipers but also had an eye on the sky.

Minutes later, the militants sent a drone overhead. It carried out surveillance and dropped an explosive. Then mortar bombs landed nearby, sending the policemen running for safer ground.

More than three months into the battle to drive them from their biggest stronghold, the hardline Sunni militants of Islamic State remain lethal and determined, despite being driven from the eastern half of the city of more than a million people.

Few are more acutely aware of the danger they pose than police Lt-Colonel Falah Hammad Hindi, who instructed his men to take cover as mortars landed ever closer.

"The weapon of choice is the drone," said Hindi, whose unit faces sometimes 16 drone attacks in a single day as well as mortar bombs and snipers.

His unit, charged with holding ground while Iraqi troops prepare to expand their offensive to west Mosul, is stationed on a former Islamic State training ground and closed military area on the east bank of the Tigris.

He has gained insight into the militants' thinking and strengths and gave a frank assessment of their capabilities, starting with the snipers he can spot without binoculars.


Trees and lush greenery provided ideal cover from air strikes, so jihadists could become indoctrinated in relative safety. To be extra cautious, the militants built an underground tunnel with sandbags for air raids.

Aside from weapons training, jihadists learned discipline. They were made to suffer in the cold when it rained or snowed.

"Some men were fed only a few potatoes per week," said Hindi, who lost a brother to an Islamic State attack. "Others were only allowed to eat three dates per day. They became battle-ready here."


#887 amor de cosmos

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Posted 06 February 2017 - 08:34 AM

The Daesh terrorist group still holds several parts of eastern Mosul, an Iraqi military commander said Monday.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Army Brigadier-General Mozafar al-Ramdani said Iraqi forces had yet to "liberate" a handful of neighborhoods in the city’s eastern half.

"This represents a source of concern for those in liberated parts of the city," he said.

Mosul is currently the target of a wide-ranging Iraqi army offensive aimed at recapturing the city -- once considered the country’s second largest in terms of population -- from the terrorist group.

Late last month, the Iraqi army announced the "total liberation" of eastern Mosul after three months of fighting.

According to al-Ramdani, an anti-terrorism officer, top Iraqi security officials will soon meet to discuss the deteriorating security condition in a number of captured areas.


Raqqa – After clashes with Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Sunday captured two towns in eastern Raqqa.

“The SDF forces today seized control of the Hadi and Natali towns in the eastern countryside of Raqqa,” an SDF spokesman told ARA News.

“ISIS militants were forced to withdraw under heavy bombardment by the SDF,” he said.

According to the official, the two towns used to be main bases for ISIS jihadists in eastern Raqqa, northeast Syria.

“ISIS evacuated its security centres in the two towns. This progress could facilitate the SDF movements across the eastern suburb of Raqqa,” the spokesman said.

At least 13 ISIS militants were killed in Sunday’s clashes.

This comes juts one day after the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces announced the launch of the third phase of Euphrates Wrath Operation in Raqqa, a campaign aimed at isolating the Islamic State (ISIS) radical group in its de facto capital.

Cihan Shekh Ehmed, the SDF’s official Spokesperson for the Euphrates Wrath Operation, said in a press conference on Saturday that the new phase will be focused on securing the eastern countryside of Raqqa.


Syrian government forces advanced on the northern Islamic State-held city of al-Bab on Monday, cutting off the last supply route that connects it to militant strongholds further east towards Iraq, a monitor said.

Islamic State militants in the area are now effectively surrounded by the army from the south and by Turkish-backed rebels from the north, as Damascus and Ankara race to capture the largest Islamic State stronghold in Aleppo province.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based war monitor, said the army and allied militia made gains southeast of al-Bab overnight, and fought the militants there on Monday.

Backed by air strikes, they severed a road that links the city to other Islamic State-held territory in Raqqa and Deir al-Zor provinces, it said.

A military commander in the alliance fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad said Islamic State was encircled.

"There is one narrow passage left out of al-Bab," the commander said. Government forces now had most of it "within close firing range".

The Syrian army's advance towards al-Bab risks triggering a confrontation with the Turkish military and its allies - rebel groups fighting under the Free Syria Army banner - which have been waging their own campaign to take the city.

In three weeks, Syrian army units moved to within 6 km (4 miles) of al-Bab, as Damascus seeks to stop its neighbor, Turkey, penetrating deeper into a strategic area of northern Syria.

"It's clear the regime is in a hurry to reach al-Bab," said Mustafa Sejari, a senior rebel official in the FSA group Liwa al-Mutasem. The Turkish-backed rebels, who have had the city in their sights for months, would fight government forces if they got in the way, he said.


Islamic State 'besieged' in last bastion in Syria's Aleppo province: monitor

SDF capture Bīr Sa'eed village in northern Raqqa

Some ISIS spoils in Baydah, including a RPO-A Shmel. Heavy clashes also raging on Hayan front where pro-Government forces destroyed one ISIS T-55.



#888 amor de cosmos

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Posted 07 February 2017 - 09:30 AM

Two soldiers and ten militants were killed on Tuesday when security forces foiled a Daesh attack in eastern Mosul, according to a local security officer.

Earlier Tuesday, a group of Daesh militants forced their way into eastern Mosul’s Sumer district, where they seized control of several streets in the area, Army Major Nabhan al-Mamouri told Anadolu Agency.

"Army forces swiftly engaged the attackers, killing all of them," he said.

According to the army officer, militants continue to launch sporadic attacks from western Mosul into the city’s army-held eastern and northern districts.

Mosul is currently the target of a wide-ranging army offensive aimed at recapturing the city -- once considered Iraq’s second largest in terms of population -- from the terrorist group.


As many as 13,000 people, most of them civilian opposition supporters, have been executed in secret at a prison in Syria, Amnesty International says.

A new report by the human rights group alleges that mass hangings took place every week at Saydnaya prison between September 2011 and December 2015.

Amnesty says the alleged executions were authorised at the highest levels of the Syrian government.

The government has previously denied killing or mistreating detainees.

However, UN human rights experts said a year ago that witness accounts and documentary evidence strongly suggested that tens of thousands of people were being detained and that "deaths on a massive scale" were occurring in custody.

Amnesty interviewed 84 people, including former guards, detainees and officials at Saydnaya prison for its report.

It alleges that every week, and often twice a week, groups of between 20 and 50 people were executed in total secrecy at the facility, just north of Damascus.

Before their execution, detainees were brought before a "military field court" in the capital's Qaboun district for "trials" lasting between one and three minutes, the report says.

A former military court judge quoted by Amnesty said detainees would be asked if they had committed crimes alleged to have taken place. "Whether the answer is 'yes' or 'no', he will be convicted... This court has no relation with the rule of law," he said.

According to the report, detainees were told on the day of the hangings that they would be transferred to a civilian prison then taken to a basement cell and beaten over the course of two or three hours.


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region— Public buses and cabs resumed operations between Erbil and Mosul last week for the first time in more than 2 years since the militants took control of large parts of the Nineveh Plains in mid- 2014.

Transportation busses and taxis hesitantly started to provide services again for travellers in January, but the relative security in eastern neighborhoods of Mosul, which are now fully under army control, has encouraged drivers in the Kurdish capital to establish a permanent traffic line to Mosul and its surrounding townships.

Over 40 neighborhoods in Mosul’s eastern suburbs have been retaken by the Iraqi army since the operation started in mid-October last year. And many refugees living in Kurdistan Region have decided to return to Mosul as the army is struggling to enter the more densely populated central parts of the city.

But the traffic is slow as nearly a dozen checkpoints rigorously monitor the movement of cars moving from and to Mosul.


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi says that ISIS has been crushed militarily and pushed out of most areas in Iraq, but that the danger of the group’s terrorism still remains, not only in Iraq but across the world.

"We have now almost crushed Daesh militarily in Iraq. [Daesh] is remaining in just a small area in Iraq — we have the small area of Hawija and the small area bordering Syria, the al-Anbar Province. These are very small and [after their liberation] we will have crushed Daesh militarily — we have done this and are doing this.” Abadi said in an interview with France 24.

"The challenge is the terrorism of Daesh, the terrorism of ISIL. It's very dangerous and this is worldwide and not only Iraq. And it needs all the support and cooperation of the world.

"We have terrorists, suicide bombers, coming from almost 100 countries in the world to Syria, to Iraq, to fight and to kill innocent civilians.” Abadi added.

The Iraqi PM said that the plan is to completely eliminate ISIS from Iraq in three months, and that the group’s leader Abubakir al-Baghdadi is alone with many trustees.

"I can tell you we have killed and eliminated most of his aides. He is almost alone. He doesn't have many people to trust. He is in isolation. We are monitoring his movements. He is very low-profile. His communication with other terrorists is very low and at sometimes it's almost non-existent,” Abadi said.


KHAZER, Iraq — Some 30,000 people have returned to Mosul since Iraqi forces launched a massive operation in October to retake the country’s second largest city from the Islamic State group, the U.N. said Tuesday.

The number of returnees has increased since Iraqi forces drove the militants from the eastern half of the city last month, according to U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid. IS still holds western Mosul, home to an estimated 750,000 people.

At times, the crowds have overwhelmed checkpoints outside the city, where security forces are screening those who want to return.


#889 amor de cosmos

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 09:45 AM

Daesh terrorist group has executed 20 civilians for attempting to flee Mosul, now the target of a major military offensive, an Iraqi army officer said Wednesday.

The civilians were captured by Daesh militants on Tuesday while trying to flee Daesh-held areas in western Mosul by boat, Brigadier-General Kazim al-Maksusi told Anadolu Agency.

“The men were immediately executed by Daesh militants, while women and children were taken hostage,” he said.

Meanwhile, al-Maksusi said some 55 civilians have managed to flee Daesh-held parts in western Mosul to the army-seized areas in the city’s northern part.


Damascus – The Islamic State (ISIS) radical group has been on the defensive across Syria and Iraq over the past few months.

Amidst mounting military pressure by the US-led coalition and allied Syrian and Iraqi ground troops, ISIS reportedly started to resort to covert methods of communication and recruitment, such as the ‘dark web’.

“ISIS is adapting in several ways to military pressure – resorting to increasingly covert communication and recruitment methods, including by using the ‘dark web,’ encryption and messengers,” senior UN official Jeffrey Feltman said on Tuesday.

“Although its income and the territory under its control are shrinking, ISIS still appears to have sufficient funds to continue fighting,” said Feltman, the United Nations’ Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs.


On Tuesday, February 08, Daesh executed four defectors from the New Syria Army in the Sabha town in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor

A D24 correspondent stated that “ the executed are linked with the coalition-backed New Syria Army. They are locals from the Sabha town in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor who had defected from the army’s ranks and handed themselves over to the organization in September 2016. Afterwards, they underwent repentance sessions.”

He added, “ the organization executed them yesterday on charges of false repentance and cooperation with the international coalition. The execution was carried out near one of the mosques in the Sabhah village. They were executed by gunfire in front of a crowd of civilians”


Street fighting raging inside Al-Bab between Euphrates Shield and ISIS opposing stiff resistance, after fall of West defenses (except silos).

As SDF fighters continue the push against IS. Thousands of residents of Raqqa are moving to SDF safe areas

Turkey foreign minister says next target in Syria is Raqqa


Before the international coalition has targeted the two bridges in Raqqa, the terrorist group, ISIS, moved several trucks last Thursday, the trucks were loaded with metal (iron, aluminum and copper) all of them were taken from the post, water and electricity directorates.

The number of the trucks was near 50 trucks loaded with approximately 2500 tons of metal which is 750 thousand USD on average. The convoy was secured by several military vehicles, it is predicted that these trucks were heading toward the regime controlled areas.

RBSS knew that one of Raqqa’s traders, who is called Abu Redda, is the one who made this deal between the terrorist group and the Syrian regime. It Is worth noted that this deal is not the first between the terrorist group and the Syrian regime, the mentioned trader has made several such deals between them both. Abu Redda purchases iron, oil, wheat, cotton among others from the terrorist group and sell them to the Syrian regime. These deals are one of the most important sources of funding for ISIS.

This big deal might be a sign that the terrorist group is trying to sell whatever is possible from the city’s infrastructure just like what they did before withdrawing from Ein Essa when they stole the electricity generators. So, would Raqqa face Ein Essa destiny? Or there will be a major battle in the city?.


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Within a month, Canada is expected to follow through with a promise to assist a battalion of Kurdish Peshmerga forces by acquiring for them enough weapons and equipment for their fight against ISIS within the international coalition.

“It should include weapons, military equipment and devices for the size of a battalion — everything, not including vehicles,” Brigadier General Hajar Ismail, director of coordination and relations at the Kurdish Ministry of Peshmerga told Rudaw English on Wednesday. “The paperwork is done, Baghdad has signed off.”

The acquisition of the equipment was reported earlier this week.

“Canada will also provide the Kurdish Peshmerga forces with personal protective equipment, communications systems, medical supplies and optics, such as cameras, sights and scopes,” Sputnik News reported on a statement by the Canadian Ministry of Defence. “The intent remains to deliver the items as quickly as possible, in line with suppliers’ ability to provide the quantities sought.”

However, Ottawa had previously promised to help equip the Kurds in February 2016, but Canadian officials had told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that training and weaponry provided by Canada to Kurdish forces could be used in the future as part of a Kurdish aspiration for independence.



Early indicators suggest that a post-ISIS Sunni insurgency may be forming in Iraq and al Qaeda (AQ) is trying to gain traction within it.

This essay highlights indicators that post-ISIS insurgencies are forming and that al Qaeda is present in Iraq. ISW forecasted on November 30, 2016 that Iraq will likely face a renewed Sunni insurgency as military operations diminish ISIS’s hold in Mosul. The U.S.-backed Coalition has been focused only on eliminating ISIS, not other insurgent groups or the conditions that grow them. Political conditions therefore permit an insurgency to take root. Iraqi insurgent groups that predated the rise of ISIS remain active, even though ISIS has tried to suppress them. These groups have publicized their intent to revive a resistance movement against the Iraqi state. It is too soon to assess whether these insurgent groups will operate under a national umbrella.

  • Neo-Baathist group Jaysh al-Rijal al-Tariqa al-Naqshbandiya (JRTN) stated in October 2016 that it attacked ISIS militants in Mosul and called for more attacks. In December 2016, it denounced political participation in Iraq, which is especially relevant in the year prior to provincial and national elections, which will likely transpire in April 2018.
  • The 1920s Revolution Brigades, another neo-Baathist group, focused its January 2017 issue of its magazine on its concerns on the state of resistance movements in Iraq, particularly those aimed at reducing Iranian influence in both Iraq and the region. The group has been publishing its monthly magazine for nearly a decade now, despite ISIS’s dominance, underscoring that it remains an active group with distinct objectives from ISIS which it will pursue when ISIS recedes.
  • Several Baathist leaders are leading ISIS cells around Kirkuk Province and Hawija, according to an anonymous security source in Kirkuk cited in November 2016. Hawija became a Baathist hotspot after the fall of Saddam Hussein and again in 2013. If true, these Baathist leaders could keep these capabilities and networks even if ISIS is defeated, granting them the resources to develop an insurgency.
These groups may be able to act independently of ISIS as its grip loosens. For instance, groups such as JRTN that went to ground in Mosul in 2014 in order survive ISIS’s dominance and targeted assassinations will likely find opportunities to reemerge in the vulnerable period after ISIS loses control of the city but before the Iraqi government fully holds it. Indicators of JRTN’s revival in Mosul will likely include signature attacks such as drive-by assassinations against both members of ISIS and the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF). JRTN was active in Diyala, primarily around Qarra Tapa, prior to ISIS’s resurgence in the province in July 2013 when its leaders broke out of Abu Ghraib prison and took over the insurgency in the province. Afterwards, ISIS competed with JRTN, likely incorporating some of its organization and forcing other portions to ground. JRTN can use ongoing sectarian and ethnic violence in Diyala, however, to rebound as ISIS recedes. ISIS may again find itself in competition with the insurgent groups it was previously able to suppress, such as JRTN, as both seek to reestablish attack capabilities and control recruitment pools.

ISIS, nevertheless, continues to be active and capable of conducting spectacular attacks in Iraq and will remain so for months, despite its losses elsewhere in the country. ISIS launched a series of deadly attacks in Baghdad over the New Year holiday and has demonstrated its ability to attack disperse areas of Iraq, including Kirkuk, Tikrit, and Samarra, since operations in Mosul began in October 2016. ISIS, however, may begin to alter how it carries out attacks in Iraq as the group transforms from a governing to a guerrilla style terrorist organization. This shift will make attribution of attacks difficult, especially if signature capabilities erode or attack patterns change.

Recent anomalous attacks, therefore, need to be assessed equally as possible indicators that non-ISIS insurgents are already conducting attacks in Iraq and as indicators that ISIS is changing tactics or losing capabilities.


#890 amor de cosmos

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Posted 09 February 2017 - 10:18 AM

The Islamic State (ISIS) radical group is putting civilians and staff at risk by occupying hospitals in Mosul, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Wednesday.

ISIS took control of al-Salam Hospital in eastern Mosul, and set up a consistent presence of about 10 fighters inside the hospital for more than two years.

After the battle around the al-Salam Hospital in Wahda neighborhood, ISIS dragged seven Iraqi soldiers’ corpses through the streets, an eyewitness told HRW several days later seeing the bodies of three soldiers hanging from a bridge.

“We just stood there on the street, horrified,” one resident said. “ISIS used to come to the neighborhood and give us these videos of executions, telling us we needed to watch them, but we ignored them and didn’t. So witnessing this was just so awful.”

“Under the law of armed conflict, all parties must take all possible measures to prevent the dead from being despoiled. It is a war crime to ‘commit outrages upon personal dignity’, which includes dead bodies,” HRW said, noting that Iraqi security forces have also dragged bodies of ISIS fighters.

“As the battle for Mosul unfolds, we are finding that ISIS is regularly occupying medical facilities and placing civilians and staff there at risk of incoming attacks,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Shamefully, ISIS fighters have also taken to advertising their abuses on the streets, as they did with the soldiers’ bodies.”

Under the laws of war applicable to the armed conflict in Iraq, hospitals and other medical facilities receive special protection. Armed forces or groups should not occupy medical facilities, undermining their protected status and placing civilians and civilian objects at risk, HRW said.


PENTAGON —The Pentagon says a U.S. strike has killed a core al-Qaida leader with ties to Ayman al-Zawahiri and deceased al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

Abu Hani al-Masri was killed in a drone strike on February 4 while riding in a vehicle near Idlib, Syria, a defense official told VOA Wednesday. He is the fourth al-Qaida leader killed in Syria this year, according to the official.

Al-Masri, who also went by the name Hani Jasarevic, was a founding member of Egyptian Islamic Jihadist (EIJ), the first Sunni group to use suicide bombers in their terror attacks.

The Pentagon says EIJ has attempted multiple attacks against American and allied facilities, including a 1998 attempt to blow up the U.S. embassy in Albania.

Al-Masri also oversaw the creation and operation of al-Qaida training camps in Afghanistan in the 1980s and '90s, where the Pentagon said he “recruited, indoctrinated, trained and equipped thousands of terrorists.”


Washington (AFP) - Islamic State's self-proclaimed capital, the Syrian city of Raqa, will soon be isolated from the rest of the world, a spokesman for the US-led coalition fighting the jihadist group.

Although it will not be completely encircled, "it will be very difficult to get into or out of the city," Colonel John Dorrian said in a video conference from Baghdad."

"What we would expect is that within the next few weeks the city will be nearly completely isolated," Dorrian said.

The coalition has been gradually tightening a vice on IS in Iraq and Syria.

US-backed Iraqi forces have recovered part of the Iraqi city of Mosul, although the city's western districts have yet to be retaken.

Raqa is the coalition's next big objective. Arab-Kurdish forces backed by the coalition have launched an offensive on Raqa, advancing on the city from the north.


CAMP TAJI, Iraq (AP) — Forces fighting the Islamic State group should be able to retake the IS-held cities of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria within the next six months, according to the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

On a tour north of Baghdad on Wednesday, U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said "within the next six months I think we'll see both (the Mosul and Raqqa campaigns) conclude."

Townsend also said he expected the fight for Mosul's western half to begin in days.


SDF captured the village of Senne from ISIS. Raqqa

SDF advance towards the strategic ISIS-held village of Mêzîla from 3 axis. Raqqa


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A Kurdish leader of ISIS Sharia was killed in an airstrike by the US-led coalition in ISIS-held western Mosul, Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) officials wrote in a statement.

"At 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Walid Sarhan al-Kurdi known as Abu Ali al-Kurdi, an ISIS Sharia leader from Tel-Kaif, the area [north of Mosul], was killed in Mosul's al-Zanjili neighborhood, western Mosul," according to the KRSC, adding that four assistants were also killed.

Iraqi armed forces militarily control east Mosul, but an estimated 750,000 face siege-like conditions in the west.


#891 amor de cosmos

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Posted 10 February 2017 - 08:21 AM

Colonel John Dorrian, a spokesperson for the US-led coalition, has denied that the Turks are involved in the operation to take Raqqa, although the US is open to a Turkish role.

A Turkish presidential spokesperson said on Wednesday that Turkey has a detailed plan to drive ISIS from Raqqa, and that it will discuss plan with the US-led coalition.

The Turkish president Erdogan has reportedly discussed the Raqqa plan with US president Donald Trump.

“Yeah, those are ongoing diplomatic discussions that have occurred between Turkey, the U.S. government and various members of the coalition. So I’m not gonna get inside those discussions, that’s best handled in a face-to-face diplomatic discussion rather than through media,” Colonel Dorian said.

The coalition’s official added that the operation is now carried out by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), not Turkey.


A US-led coalition spokesperson said that soon the isolation phase of the Raqqa operation will be finished. This while a top US general recently told AP that both the Mosul and Raqqa campaigns will be concluded within six months.

On 4 February, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced the launch of the third phase of Euphrates Wrath Operation in Raqqa, a campaign aimed at isolating the Islamic State (ISIS) radical group in its de facto capital.

“Well, we continue working on the isolation phase to approach the city. This is a key part of the campaign. We’re working that with the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Syrian Arab Coalition,” Colonel John Dorrian, a spokesperson for the US-led coalition, told reporters on Wednesday.

“Raqqa is a city that the enemy uses for external operations, so what we would expect is that within the next few weeks, the city will be nearly completely isolated and then there will be a decision point to move in,” he added.

“We’re not gonna give the exact timing of the effort to seize the city, but we do believe that excellent progress is being made and we’ll continue to pressure the enemy on multiple fronts,” he said.


SDF captured the village of Mizêla located 20 km north of Raqqa and captured a 'Konkurs' anti-tank missile from ISIS.


ISIS drone strikes again in Mosul Iraq

SDF took control of Ma'izalah and Shenina villages in Raqqa countryside

ISIS placed many IEDs around Al Bab



Islamic State militants have shifted to desert valleys and inland hills southeast of Tripoli as they seek to exploit Libya's political divisions after defeat in their former stronghold of Sirte, security officials say.

The militants, believed to number several hundred and described as "remnants" of Islamic State's Libya operation, are trying to foment chaos by cutting power and water supplies and to identify receptive local communities, the officials said.

They are being monitored through aerial surveillance and on-the-ground intelligence, but Libyan officials said they cannot easily be targeted without advanced air power of the kind used by the United States on Jan. 19, when B-2 bombers killed more than 80 militants in a strike southwest of Sirte.

For more than a year, Islamic State exercised total control over Sirte, building its primary North African base in the coastal city. But it struggled to keep a footing elsewhere in Libya and by December was forced out of Sirte after a six-month campaign led by brigades from the western city of Misrata and backed by U.S. air strikes.

The jihadist group lost many of its fighters in the battle and now has no territory in Libya, but fugitive militants and sleeper cells are seen to pose a threat in a country that has been deeply fractured and largely lawless since the 2011 uprising that toppled Muammar Gaddafi.


#892 amor de cosmos

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Posted 11 February 2017 - 08:35 AM

The Syrian town of al-Bab was rather insignificant until it emerged as a strategic stake between the Syrian president and his allies (Russia and Iran), Turkey, the Kurdish PYD (Democratic Union Party) and the so-called Islamic State group.

Situated just north-east of Aleppo, this small administrative centre of the larger al-Bab district has about 100,000 inhabitants, in addition to 50,000 people living in its suburbs.

Al-Bab was quickly occupied by rebels in spring 2012, and subsequently seized by IS during the winter of 2013-2014, which eliminated the other rebel factions. The town has since become an IS stronghold, home to many foreign jihadists and their families. It has served as the basis of IS's offensives against the Syrian army and the rebels in Aleppo province.

Today, the city and its suburbs (Qabasin, Bizaa and Tadif) are almost surrounded. Operation Euphrates Shield forces, led by the Turkish army, are closing in from the north, while the Syrian army, which has quickly advanced over the last two weeks, moves in from the south.


The objective of the Turkish intervention in northern Syria is to prevent the linkage of the Kurdish cantons of Afryn and Kobane. After regaining the htown of Manbij from IS in August, the Kurdish-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) had planned to next seize al-Bab and thus unify their territories. A race towards al-Bab began between the SDF and the Turkish army. This was halted in December when Turkey bombed the SDF, sending a message that their advance needed to stop.

Neither the Syrian regime nor Turkey had any interest in the Kurds taking al-Bab. The agreement between Russia and Turkey, in August 2016, joined by the Iranians, came at the expense of Kurdish interests. In the deal, Turkey also ceased aiding rebels in exchange for Russian neutrality in Turkey's campaign against the Kurds.

East Aleppo was retaken by the regime soon after the conclusion of this agreement; al-Bab, it seems, will be left for the Turks.


Likely ISIS UAV attack on Euphrates Shield forces

SDF operation in Mulihan and Budrany villages( قريتي مليحان وبدرانية) this morning

Euphrates Shield seized Al Bab silos, Sports center, Al Zahra mosque


Erbil – The Islamic State (ISIS) radical group has executed 12 of its own militant fighters in northwestern Iraq for trying to flee the group’s strongholds in Mosul city of Nineveh Governorate, local sources reported on Friday.

The militants were reportedly arrested by ISIS guards in western Mosul while trying to flee to the eastern part of the city–which is now held by Iraqi security forces.

“The Islamic State accused them of treason for trying to surrender to the US-backed Iraqi forces,” local media activist Abdullah al-Malla told ARA News.

The 12 jihadi fighters were publicly beheaded in the Zanjabili neighbourhood in western Mosul.


Rachid Kassim, an Islamic State recruiter known for his social-media presence, failed music career and links to high-profile terrorist attacks in Europe was targeted by a U.S. airstrike in Iraq, the Pentagon said Friday.

Maj. Adrian J.T. Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, said the strike occurred near the Iraqi city of Mosul within the past three days.

“We are currently assessing the results of that strike,” Rankine-Galloway said. Citing French police sources, the Telegraph reported that Kassim was killed in the strike Wednesday.

Kassim, a 29-year-old Frenchman of Algerian descent, spent most of his childhood in France and tried his hand at rapping before moving to Syria in 2015 and joining the Islamic State. In an interview with Amarnath Amarasingam, a fellow at George Washington University’s Program on Extremism, Kassim said he chose the rapper name L’Oranais to pay tribute to the Algerian city of Oran, a place where he spent a portion of his youth.


ISTANBUL — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says an operation to liberate Iraq’s second-largest city from the Islamic State group should not inflame sectarian tensions.

The secretary general said the ongoing operations to free Mosul should instead be a “symbol of national reconciliation.”

Guterres made the comments during a meeting in Istanbul with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday, according to a statement from the secretary-general’s office.

The recapture of Mosul would effectively break the back of the militant group in Iraq by ending their self-declared “caliphate” there. But many fear that the battle could give way to sectarian tensions.


#893 amor de cosmos

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Posted 12 February 2017 - 10:02 AM

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said Turkish troops and their Syrian rebel allies have entered the centre of the ISIL bastion Al Bab, saying its capture was just a "matter of time".

"Al Bab is now besieged from all fronts ... Our forces entered the centre" with Turkish-backed Syrian rebels, Erdogan told journalists in Istanbul on Sunday before leaving for a tour of Gulf countries.

Erdogan said it was "only a matter of time" before the allied forces took full control of the flashpoint town in northern Syria.

"Daesh forces have begun leaving Al Bab completely," he said, using the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group, also known as ISIS.


BEIRUT (AP) — Turkish troops and allied Syrian opposition forces have managed to capture just one-tenth of a north Syrian town from Islamic State militants, a conflict monitoring group said Saturday, despite reaching its outskirts seven weeks ago.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group told the AP that nine-tenths of al-Bab remains under IS control. The Observatory receives its information from a network of contacts inside the war-torn country.

Meanwhile, rebels and exiled opposition figures appointed Nasr al-Hariri of the Western-backed Syrian National Coalition to lead a delegation to U.N.-brokered talks with the Syrian government, planned for Feb. 20 in Geneva.

Also on Saturday, Iran's Supreme National Security Council authorized Russia to fly its fighters over Iranian airspace to support operations in Syria, the state's semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

In August, Iran confirmed that Russia bombers launched airstrikes from near the Iranian city of Hamedan, 280 kilometers (175 miles) southwest of the Iranian capital, Tehran to hit targets in eastern Syria. Iran is a stanch supporter of the Syrian government.

In al-Bab, Turkish aircraft and artillery pounded IS positions as allied opposition forces grabbed new blocks in the town, according to the Syrian Observatory. Battlefield reports from Syrian opposition forces corroborated the Observatory's al-Bab review.

The Turkish-backed Ahrar al-Sham militia announced Saturday on Twitter that opposition forces had taken the city's silos and sports complex in its southwestern districts. The coalition's operations room released a video on social media showing its fighters at the gates of the Hikma hospital. Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group also reported the hospital's capture.

But these amount to just marginal advances in the town, where some 100,000 residents lived before the start of the Syrian civil war, six years ago. Al-Bab lies about 30 kilometers (19 miles) from the Turkish border.


The Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) with the U.S. air support launched a fresh military operation against the pro-Daesh rebels in the east of the country bordering Pakistan.

The eastern Nangarhar province is believed to be the bastion of pro-Daesh rebels, many of whom are said to have either crossed border from Pakistan, the Central Asian republics or switched allegiance from the Afghan Taliban to the Daesh.

Major Sher Aqa Faqiri, spokesman for the Afghan National Army (ANA)’s 201-Shaheen Corps, told journalists in Jalalabad city the operation is concentrated on the Daesh militants’ strongholds. He said the Kot and Haska Maina districts would be cleansed of the militants in the first phase, and the surrounding districts would be explored for further action afterwards. The ANA Major said military and the Afghan National Police (ANP) would jointly proceed with the operation, and, in case of needed assistance, the U.S. aerial support would be acquired.

“We would not rest until complete elimination of the Daesh militants and dismantling of their network," he said.


Raqqa – The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Saturday expelled Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants form the strategic town of Meyzla east of Raqqa, in northeastern Syria.

The SDF specialised teams also started to dismantle ISIS explosives and landmines in the town.

The town of Meyzla is located some 11km from Raqqa city centre. Its strategic location may help the SDF accelerate the battle for eastern Raqqa.

“Our forces are now in control of the Meyzla town, where ISIS was using civilians as human shields. The town is completely liberated now,” SDF officer Mahmoud Khalaf, told ARA News.

According to the SDF, nearly 70% of fighters participating in the Euphrates Wrath Operation in eastern Raqqa are Arabs.

One of the main difficulties facing the Kurdish-led SDF is that ISIS has been using civilians as human shields to protect its de facto capital.


Turkish president Erdogan says his country's operations in Syria will not stop at Al-Bab, but will also include ISIS-held Raqqah

Euphrates Shield photos from Habib Fahri mosque in Al Bab


Iraq / ISF apparently deploying pontoon bridges ahead of assault on Western parts of Mosul city.



Tension between Iraq's Shi'ite leaders mounted on Sunday as the toll from protests in central Baghdad on Saturday increased to six killed, five demonstrators loyal to the fiery cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and one policeman.

At least 174 other protesters were injured in clashes that pitted police and Sadr's followers who had gathered to demand an overhaul of a commission that supervises elections, ahead of a provincial poll due in September.

The clashes broke out as the protesters attempted to cross the bridge that links Tahrir Square where they had gathered and the heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings, embassies and international organizations.

In a statement reacting to the killing of his followers on Saturday evening, Sadr said: "Their blood won't have been shed in vain." He promised "peaceful" retaliation.

Several Katyusha rockets hit the Green Zone on Saturday evening but there were no casualties, a military spokesman said.

Sadr's military wing, the Peace Brigades, denied in a statement firing the rockets, reacting to the military spokesman who said they seem to have been fired from Baladiyat, a district where the cleric has many followers.

The growing tensions come at a bad time for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi who is trying to focus on a critical battle with Islamic State in Mosul, the last major urban stronghold of the Sunni militants in northern Iraq.


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — An all-Arab force will be tasked with the mission of entering the Syrian city of Raqqa, the capital of the ISIS once it has been fully liberated, Ahmad al-Jarba who commands a US-trained 3,000-strong Arab force under the banner of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) said on Sunday.

“The Elite Force and the Arab forces of the Syrian Democratic Force are the ones who will enter Raqqa in the case of its liberation, God Willing, to clear the excuses that says ‘the Kurds are entering Arab cities and towns.’” he told the Arabic Al-Hayat newspaper, making reference to the Syrian Arab Coalition (SAC).

He explained that this will also avoid ethnic tensions in the city in the case of one force alone, namely Kurds entering Raqqa.

The US-led coalition is providing air support, advice, training, and material to the SAC, one of the elements fighting within the ethnically diverse SDF.


#894 amor de cosmos

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Posted 13 February 2017 - 08:55 AM

Raqqa – The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Sunday announced the liberation of 98 villages in the eastern countryside of Raqqa, after clashes with Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants.

“Our forces have liberated 98 villages in an area measuring approximately 700 square kilometers in Eastern Raqqa. The progress comes as part of the Third Phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation launched nine days ago,” SDF spokeswoman Cihan Ehmed said.

At least 124 ISIS militants were killed and dozens more wounded in the recent clashes, according to military sources.

“Our specialized teams have also dismantled 1256 landmines in the liberated areas,” Cihan said.

The SDF has also seized a large deal of ammunition and weapons from ISIS during the campaign for Eastern Raqqa.


Daesh issues "direct threats" on Spanish tourist hotspots, where millions of Brits will holiday this year


Raqqa has two bridges, the first and the oldest is called the Old Bridge or Al Mansur Bridge, resources say that it was built in 1942 by the Britain government when the Britain troops were heading toward Iraq to fight the Vichy troops there. The Bridge is 630 meters long and there is a sign says that the name of the bridge is (Gate), it was designed in three days and took them four months and two days to finish building it. This bridge was targeted by the regime artillery in March 2014.

The second bridge is called the New Bridge, it was built in the sixties of the last century to accommodate the increasing traffic and to support the old one.

These two bridges have been targeted several times in the last few years either by the Assad regime or by the Russian warplanes, the International Coalition has also targeted the city’s infrastructure also. Under the pretext of fighting the terrorist group ISIS, the city has been suffering from warplanes raids as if the hell of living under ISIS control is not enough for its poor civilians.

The last raids that targeted the bridges, International Coalition warplanes destroyed five bridge in Raqqa province last Saturday, has shocked the people of Raqqa. For the civilians, these bridges were not rocks only, every time they wanted to visit any other Syrian cities they had to leave their small city through these bridges. They were a lot more than just bridges, only one photo coming now from there is enough to trigger all the nostalgic feelings.

Back to the bridges, the emotional relationship between the people of Raqqa is not different from the relationship between the people of Deir ez Zor and their bridge, which was destroyed by Assad regime. A lot of memories are related to these two bridges, the nights of the Summer and the love moments. These two bridges have a history of love, pain and memories.

Raqqa today is like a bereaved mother crying its children who are dispersed all over the world, it is crying over the nights of Summer and the moments of joy. It is crying because it has turned from a small peaceful city to the capital of terror. Raqqa and its people are now crying over their bridges.


#895 amor de cosmos

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 12:37 PM

Russian warplanes on Monday conducted several airstrikes in Syria’s northeastern Deir ez-Zor Governorate, targeting Islamic State’s (ISIS) oil facilities.

The Russian-led wide-scale bombing, that was supported by the Syrian Air Force, led to the destruction of several ISIS’s oil fields and refineries.

“The Russian and Syrian fighter jets carried out more than 36 airstrikes against ISIS-held oil facilities today,” local media activist Hussein al-Mutaiyah told ARA News.

Most of the strikes took place near al-Mayadin city in southern Deir ez-Zor Governorate.


The Iraqi air force has killed 13 commanders of so-called Islamic State in a strike on a building in Qaim where leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was thought to be, a statement said.

Baghdadi's name was not on a list of the dead published by the military.

At least 64 lower-ranked IS fighters were killed in a wave of strikes in western Iraq, the statement added.

The military said Baghdadi moved last week in a convoy from Raqqa, in Syria, to the region of Qaim, over the border.

The IS leader was supposedly meeting other senior commanders to discuss a possible successor, as well as the group's military situation in its Iraqi stronghold, Mosul.


Officials have confirmed that the U.S. military, despite vowing not to use depleted uranium weapons on the battlefield in Iraq and Syria, fired thousands of rounds of the such munitions during two high-profile raids on oil trucks in Islamic State-controlled Syria in late 2015. The air assaults mark the first confirmed use of this armament since the 2003 Iraq invasion, when it was used hundreds of thousands of times, setting off outrage among local communities, which alleged that its toxic material caused cancer and birth defects.

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman Maj. Josh Jacques told Airwars and Foreign Policy that 5,265 armor-piercing 30 mm rounds containing depleted uranium (DU) were shot from Air Force A-10 fixed-wing aircraft on Nov. 16 and Nov. 22, 2015, destroying about 250 vehicles in the country’s eastern desert.

Earlier in the campaign, both coalition and U.S. officials said the ammunition had not and would not be used in anti-Islamic State operations. In March 2015, coalition spokesman John Moore said, “U.S. and coalition aircraft have not been and will not be using depleted uranium munitions in Iraq or Syria during Operation Inherent Resolve.” Later that month, a Pentagon representative told War is Boring that A-10s deployed in the region would not have access to armor-piercing ammunition containing DU because the Islamic State didn’t possess the tanks it is designed to penetrate.

It remains unclear if the November 2015 strikes occurred near populated areas. In 2003, hundreds of thousands of rounds were shot in densely settled areas during the American invasion, leading to deep resentment and fear among Iraqi civilians and anger at the highest levels of government in Baghdad. In 2014, in a U.N. report on DU, the Iraqi government expressed “its deep concern over the harmful effects” of the material. DU weapons, it said, “constitute a danger to human beings and the environment” and urged the United Nations to conduct in-depth studies on their effects. Such studies of DU have not yet been completed, and scientists and doctors say as a result there is still very limited credible “direct epidemiological evidence” connecting DU to negative health effects.


The most likely way for such intake to occur is through the inhalation of small particles near where a weapon is used. But doctors and anti-nuclear activists alike say there hasn’t been enough research done to prove the precise health effects and exposure thresholds for humans. Most important, the lack of comprehensive research on illnesses and health outcomes in post-conflict areas where DU was used has led to a proliferation of assumptions and theories about DU’s potential to cause birth defects and cancer. Firing rounds near civilian populations has a powerful psychological effect, causing distress and severe anxiety, as the International Atomic Energy Agency noted in 2014

Internationally, DU exists in a legal gray area. It is not explicitly banned by U.N. conventions like those that restrict land mines or chemical weapons. And although the United States applies restrictions on the weapon’s handling domestically, it does not regulate its use overseas in civilian areas with nearly the same caution.

“I think this is an area of international humanitarian law that needs a lot more attention,” said Cymie Payne, a legal scholar and professor of ecology at Rutgers University who has researched DU. “As we’ve been focusing more in recent years on the post-conflict period and thinking about peace building …we need a clean environment so people can use the environment.”


Key Takeaway: The U.S.-led coalition’s fight against ISIS in Syria is in jeopardy as Turkey threatens an offensive against the U.S.’s primary partner force on the ground, the Syrian Democratic Forces. Turkey has stated its intent to shift its focus from ISIS to the Syrian Kurds after the seizure of the ISIS-held town of al Bab in Northern Aleppo Province, which ISW forecasts is likely in the coming weeks. If the U.S. fails to protect its partner force, the Syrian Kurdish-led de facto government of Northern Syria may pursue closer cooperation with Russia, which could hinder the U.S.’s ability to influence the outcome of the Syrian Civil War and continue its operations in the country. Conflict between the U.S.’s allies in Northern Syria will also relieve pressure on ISIS in Raqqa Province and thereby allow ISIS to seize territory from the Syrian regime or reinforce its core terrain in Iraq.

Turkey’s threat to launch an offensive against the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) after the impending seizure of al Bab endangers the U.S.-led coalition’s fight against ISIS in Syria. Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) and Turkish-backed opposition groups entered the ISIS-held town of al Bab in Northern Aleppo Province on February 9 following a two and a half month offensive on the town. Pro-regime forces severed ISIS’s last remaining ground line of communication south of al Bab on February 6, and ISW forecasts that the city will likely fall in the coming weeks. Turkish President Recep Erdogan stated on January 27 that the Turkish Armed Forces and Turkish-backed opposition groups will not advance further south following the seizure of al Bab, but rather will launch an offensive against the SDF in Manbij City to push the SDF east of the Euphrates. The U.S. is relying on the SDF as the only U.S.-led coalition partner force currently capable of isolating ISIS’s de-facto capital in Syria – ar-Raqqah City. A Turkish offensive that both distracts and weakens the U.S.’s partner force in Syria will diminish the U.S.’s ability to combat ISIS in Syria.

Turkish officials have consistently announced their hostility towards the dominant group in the political alliance behind the SDF, the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), due to its links to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a U.S.-designated terrorist organization. Turkey launched Operation Euphrates Shield, currently a TSK and Turkish-backed opposition offensive against ISIS in Northern Aleppo Province, in large part to prevent the formation of a contiguous zone of control along the Syrian-Turkish border de facto governed by the PYD. In addition, TSK and Turkish-backed forces recently increased attacks against the SDF in Northern Aleppo Province, indicating that Turkey is preparing to escalate its currently low-scale conflict with the SDF. Turkey is also using arrests of alleged ‘PYD militants’ in Turkish-held Northern Aleppo Province and Turkey to reinforce Turkey’s designation of the PYD as a terrorist organization and legitimize their potential offensive.

Turkish President Recep Erdogan is likely timing its assault on the SDF in Northern Aleppo Province in conjunction with preparations to hold a referendum on a constitutional amendment package that would increase his executive powers. A Turkish offensive on the SDF will demonstrate Erdogan’s commitment to Turkey’s ongoing anti-PKK campaign, which is likely to increase popular support for the proposed constitutional amendments. Turkish officials likely also see U.S. President Donald Trump’s reported rejection of previous plans to increase support for the SDF as well as his recent phone conversation with Erdogan as indicators that the new administration is open to sacrificing support for the SDF in exchange for a closer partnership with Turkey in Syria.


Chlorine gas attacks paved the way for Syrian forces as they advanced into rebel-held portions of east Aleppo during the final months of the battle for the city, a new study from Human Rights Watch said Monday.

While forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have used chlorine gas on opposition fighters sporadically since 2014, the frequency of chemical attacks between Nov. 17 and Dec. 13 point to a military strategy to use the banned weapon to force both fighters and civilians from Aleppo, according to the report.

“The pattern of the chlorine attacks shows that they were coordinated with the overall military strategy for retaking Aleppo, not the work of a few rogue elements,” Ole Solvang, deputy emergencies director at Human Rights Watch, said in the report.

Human Rights Watch documented at least eight separate chlorine gas attacks before a cease-fire was signed Dec 13. The attacks resulted in the deaths of nine civilians, including four children, and wounded roughly 200. If confirmed, the attacks would be a significant breach of the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention that Syria signed in 2013. Although chlorine is not considered a chemical weapon by the convention because of its industrial uses, the document explicitly states that weaponizing the chemical properties of a substance is prohibited.


HAMDANIYAH, Iraq — The Iraqi army has been moving troops around Mosul ahead of an expected push to retake its western half from the Islamic State group in the final decisive battle for the city, a commander said Tuesday.

“We are preparing ... to launch a big operation in order to liberate the rest of Mosul,” said Brig. Walid Khalifa, deputy commander of the Iraqi Army’s 9th Division.

On Tuesday afternoon, dozens of armored vehicle and troops could be seen moving around the city. Khalifa said the maneuvers began on Sunday.

But even as the Iraqi forces began moving into place, IS launched a significant counterattack near the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, on Sunday night.

The IS detonated some 17 car bombs, targeting a position held by Iraq’s government-sanctioned mostly Shiite militia forces known as the Popular Mobilization Forces near Tal Afar, said Jaafar al-Hussaini, a spokesman for one of the militias.

In all, the attack lasted nine hours and killed four militiamen and 48 IS fighters before it was repelled al-Hussaini said.


#896 amor de cosmos

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 09:51 AM

Five Daesh commanders, including the group’s "governor" for the city of Mosul, were killed by airstrikes carried out by a U.S.-led coalition in the city’s western districts, according to the Iraqi army.

"Relying on military intelligence, the coalition struck Daesh positions in Mosul’s western 17 Tammoz district," the army’s media office said in a statement issued late Wednesday.

According to the statement, three senior Daesh militants were killed in the strike, including Hamed Ahmed Ibrahim, who the terrorist group had reportedly appointed as "Wali" -- or governor -- of Mosul.

"Another two Daesh commanders were killed in a separate airstrike in Mosul’s western Al-Sarjkhana district," the army statement read.


Turkish soldiers and Turkish-backed Syrian rebels have completely surrounded the Daesh-held town of Al-Bab, Ankara’s defense minister said Thursday.

Speaking in Brussels, Fikri Isik said Turkey would help civilians living in Al-Bab and also fix the city’s infrastructure after the terror group is driven out.

“Now Al-Bab is completely surrounded. A serious cleaning operation is being done inside [the city].

"There is a very intense operation to clear Al-Bab’s city center of Daesh elements. The Free Syrian Army [FSA] and the Turkish Armed Forces have been conducting [operations] together,” Isik told reporters at a news conference.

Turkey has been carrying out a military operation in northern Syria since last August. Led by FSA fighters, Operation Euphrates Shield aims to improve security, support coalition forces, and eliminate the terror threat along the Turkish border.

The operation has focused on Al-Bab since early December.

Referring to Turkey’s “top two priorities” after liberating Al-Bab, Isik said Syria's Manbij and Raqqa would also be cleared of Daesh.


Turkey’s military forcers and allied rebels in Syria continued their offensive against the town of Tel Rifaat in northern Aleppo, targeting positions of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), local sources reported on Wednesday.

The Turkish Army and Turkey-backed rebels of the Euphrates Shield have been bombing Tel Rifaat since Tuesday.

SDF headquarters and residential buildings in Tel Rifaat were hit with dozens of mortar shells. The Turkish troops and allied rebels also used heavy artillery and machine guns in the offensive–aimed at driving the SDF out of the town.

The number of casualties is still unknown.

In the meantime, two Turkish cobra helicopters hit the village of Tal Alo in Syria’s northeastern Hasakah Governorate, close to the headquarters of the Arab Sanadid forces.


The Islamic State (ISIS) radical group published a new propaganda video showing two Yezidi boys from Sinjar being used as suicide bombers in Mosul.

The young boys, who were captured by ISIS during the group’s campaign against the Yezidi community in summer of 2014, described in the propaganda video how they left ‘ignorance’ and joined ISIS and converted to Islam.

“When I was in Sinjar reporting on the Yezidis, numerous families said their kidnapped boys were being forced to become suicide bombers,” journalist Rukmini Callimachi said.

“At the time, there was no concrete proof the terror group had succeeded in turning Yezidi children into bombers against their own people,” she added.

Yezidi leaders confirmed to the journalist that the two boys were from Tel Qasab village south of Sinjar district [also known as Shingal].


Operation to liberate al-Bab from Daesh fighters has been completed, troops working to clear mines, Gen. Akar says

Iraqi National Security Service arrest over 10 ISIS terrorist planners hiding in captured east Mosul



MOSUL, Iraq — "It is a big adventure" said one of the two women, who have just reopened their beauty salon in the liberated eastern half of Mosul, while hiding behind a glass door of a shop decorated with an image of a red-headed, smiling woman. She was referring to the talk of the town, ISIS sleeper cells which might still be hiding, waiting to conduct attacks on targets they deem legitimate.

The two women did not give their names, nor did they agree to appear before the camera, wanting only to share with the media as little information as possible, little enough to keep them away from the deadly attention of the extremist group.

One woman said that it was punishable under ISIS to have beauty salons in Mosul, but she and her colleague, in defiance, continued their businesses at home in secret. Not that long after, they were exposed, fearing for their lives.

Instead, the extremist group would bring women to the beauticians' homes.

"They said they were their wives, but they did not seem so," she said, indicating that they may have been sex slaves.


#897 amor de cosmos

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 09:00 AM

Saudi Arabia has broken up four ISIL-linked cells suspected of providing shelter and funds to wanted fighters, and recruiting fighters, according to local news media reports citing the interior ministry.

Automatic weapons were seized from the four cells, which comprised 15 Saudis, two Yemenis and a Sudanese man, the Saudi Press Agency quoted the ministry as saying on Thursday.

Security forces also seized more than $500,000 in cash, the reports said.

The crackdown, which began on Saturday, targeted the ISIL cells that had been operating in the regions of Mecca, Medina, Qassim and the capital Riyadh, according to Mansour al-Turki, the Saudi interior ministry spokesman.

Among those helped to hide by the cells was Taye al-Say'ari, one of two suspected fighters killed in a security operation in Riyadh last month.


Major General Rupert Jones, the deputy commander of the anti-ISIS Coalition, said that the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will most likely take Raqqa –not the Turkey-led factions that are bogged down in al-Bab.

“The force that looks most likely capable of conducting the liberation of Raqqa remains the SDF. Are we confident in the SDF? Absolutely we are,” the British commander said.

“They re-took Manbij, in a very tough fight, and they prevailed in the face of a tough opposition,” Maj Gen Jones continued. “We’ve seen their fighting spirit, we’ve seen what they’re capable of doing.”

“We’ve also always said that we would discuss with our partners, in terms of who is best placed to conduct the actual liberation of Raqqa. We’ll do that, we’ll have those conversations,” he added.

President Erdogan said last week that after securing al-Bab, Turkey’s Euphrates Shield Operation would target Manbij and Raqqa city. Maj Gen Jones said that the Coalition was following those developments and had shared its “thoughts with the new US administration and the CIA.”

The Turkish daily Yeni Safak also reported that the Turkish military would attack Tel Abyad, an SDF-held town. The pro-government newspaper said that Turkey and its allies could also push south towards Raqqa, using al-Bab as their starting point.

US Chief of Staff, General Joe Dunford, will arrive in Turkey on Friday to discuss the Raqqa operation and the wider campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) with Turkish officials.


RAF airstrike on a "Daesh headquarters" in north-western Mosul geolocated

Hashd al-Shaabi stop ISIS attempt to destroy al-Azim / al-Adhaim dam. ISIS commander arrested

SDF WrathOfEuphrates Operation Room Press release: "the Deir-ez-zor Military Council will proceed from the eastern frontier".


Islamic State militants are developing a network of passageways and tunnels in the narrow alleys of west Mosul that will enable them to hide and fight among the civilian population when Iraqi forces launch an attack that is expected any day now.

Residents said the fighters have been opening passages in the walls between houses to allow them to move from block to block undetected, disappear after hit-and-run operations and track government troop movements.

They have also opened sniper holes in buildings overlooking the Tigris river bisecting the city into east and west, they said.

"They opened these holes and threatened us not to close them," one resident told Reuters by telephone, asking not to be identified by name or location because Islamic State executes anyone caught communicating with the outside world.

The militants are essentially under siege in western Mosul, along with an estimated 650,000 civilians, after U.S.-backed forces surrounding the city dislodged them from the east in the first phase of an offensive that concluded four weeks ago.

The westward road that links the city to Syria was cut at the end of November. The militants are still in charge of the road that links Mosul to Tal Afar, a town they control 60 km (40 miles) to the west, however.


ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — As the next phase of the offensive to liberate west Mosul gets underway, there have been reports of ISIS militants harming civilians, and the US-led international coalition to defeat the group believes this will end shortly.

"The city is completely surrounded,” US Col. John Dorrian told Rudaw TV on Thursday. “Daesh has no ability to bring in more fighters to support their operations, and they are awaiting their fate. But in the meantime, they are posing dangers to the people that are around them and this something that will end in the coming weeks.”

Dorrian foresees a hard fight ahead for Iraqi forces. It is estimated that west Mosul has 750,000 residents; additionally, military experts have said the right bank will have to be cleared building by building and street by street.

"What we expect is this is going to be a very, very difficult fight and very dangerous. What we've seen from the enemy is they don't have any problem harming civilians ... in many cases they've purposefully targeted civilians — that's happening right now,” Dorrian said.

"[To counter that] we are targeting their leaders, their fighters, and their mortars and artillery pieces. We are destroying a lot of these, but it's still a very dangerous situation.”

Coalition airstrikes destroyed an ISIS headquarters in western Mosul, according to reports made to Al-Sumaria TV on Thursday.

"Mosul is going to be liberated,” Dorrian said. “The Iraqi security forces are going to be able to liberate the city. Daesh is going to be crushed in west Mosul. It is going to be finished. Then the Iraqi security forces will liberate the other areas of Iraq.”


#898 amor de cosmos

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Posted 18 February 2017 - 09:51 AM

Raqqa – Russian warplanes conducted several airstrikes in Raqqa Governorate on Friday, targeting the Islamic State’s (ISIS) tactical units and training camps.

The Russian Defense Ministry announced that their long-range bombers had fired a series of missiles at ISIS targets around Raqqa city.

In a statement, the ministry said that their “Tupolev-95 bombers had taken off from Russia and flown over Iran and Iraq to get to Syria,” adding that the warplanes “successfully targeted militant training camps and a command center.”


The Iraq security forces have nearly 5,000 more members to assist as hold forces in Eastern Mosul and eventually in the fight against ISIS in Western Mosul following recent graduation ceremonies at Taji, Besmaya, Erbil, and Al Asad Airbase, the US-led anti-ISIS coalition said on Friday.

At Taji and Besmaya, nearly 2,000 Nineveh policemen were trained by Australian and New Zealand soldiers and are poised to assist in the fight against ISIS in Mosul.

“Task Group Taji IV is proud to see them develop into an effective security force, ready to take the fight to ISIS,” said Australian Col. Richard Vagg, commander TG Taji IV.

“The police trainees are determined to defend their country against ISIS,” said Col. Vagg. “They’re young and determined – many of them come from Mosul where they’ve lost family members to ISIS’s campaign of terror.”

Over the past month, the Coalition provided infantry-based tactics, techniques and procedures to men who will play a major role in defending, holding and stabilizing areas liberated from Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants.


Daesh continue to cripple life for civilians residing in Deir Ezzor, mainly in the eastern countryside, which has become overcrowded with displaced families from Deir Ezzor city, as well as a large number of families from Mosul in Iraq.

Private sources indicated to D24 that Daesh confiscated more than 90 houses in the Ishaara city alone the past week.

The sources stated that the organization affiliates are confiscating those houses on the pretext that their owners had left their held areas for ‘the lands of disbelief’ or they are cooperating with opposition factions.

This policy of confiscating civilian-owned homes is pursued by the organization as a means to punish anyone who violate their rules and leave their areas for new destinations.


The U.S.-led military coalition on Saturday said its forces destroyed a building in the main medical complex of western Mosul, suspected to house an Islamic State command center.

The militant group disputed the assertion, saying in an online statement that Friday's strike killed 18 people, mostly women and children, and wounded 47.

Independent media have no access to western Mosul or other areas under Islamic State control in Iraq and Syria.

The militants are essentially under siege in western Mosul, along with an estimated 650,000 civilians, after U.S.-backed forces surrounding the city dislodged them from the east in the first phase of an offensive that concluded last month.

The coalition accused Islamic State of using the five-story building as a military command and control facility.

"The coalition was able to determine through intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance efforts that ISIS did not use the building for any medical purposes and that civilians were no longer accessing the site," a coalition statement said, using an acronym for Islamic State.


#899 amor de cosmos

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Posted Yesterday, 08:32 AM

game on in west mosul

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has announced the launch of a military assault aimed at taking western Mosul from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, known as ISIS) group.

Iraqi police and interior ministry forces were expected to start the new phase in their offensive to take control of the entire city by moving on Mosul airport, located on the southern edge of the city, to the west of the Tigris river.

"We announce the start of a new phase in the operation. We are coming to Nineveh to liberate the western side of Mosul," Abadi said on television. "Our forces are beginning the liberation of the citizens from the terror of Daesh [ISIL]."

Al Jazeera's Osama Bin Javaid, reporting from Erbil in northern Iraq, said several groups were involved in a complex assault on ISIL positions.

"[Mosul is] flanked from the eastern side by counterterrorism forces, from the south by the Iraqi police, and from the north by the Iraqi military and the popular mobilisation forces, also known as the Shia militias," Javaid said, adding that about 750,000 civilians were still believed to be trapped in the west.


Iraqi forces on Sunday launched a ground offensive to drive the Daesh terrorist group from their last stronghold in Mosul in northern Iraq.

“We announce the start of a new phase in the operation,” Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said in a televised statement.

While Iraqi forces moved into western Mosul from the city’s northern and western fronts, fighters of the pro-government al-Hashd al-Shaabi militia attacked the area from the west, military spokesman Brigadier-General Yahya Rashool said. a

“Our forces are advancing to achieve their set goals,” he told Anadolu Agency.

Iraqi forces are reported to have captured seven villages and a power plant from Daesh militants in western Mosul as part of the offensive.

Federal police units are aiming to capture Mosul airport, just south of the city, according to police First Lieutenant Faisal al-Khafaji.

“The airport will allow our forces to have an airbase close to the city and facilitate airstrikes” against Daesh, he said.


An Islamic State’s (ISIS) fighter captured by Kurdish security forces has admitted killing hundreds of people and raping ‘more than 200 women’ in a sickening interview.

The militant, Amar Hussein, reportedly described how he moved from home to home in Iraq, raping terrified Yezidi women and other minorities.

The captured extremist also talked about how he slaughtered around 500 victims – either beheading them or putting a blindfold on them and firing a bullet into their skull.

However, despite his horrific crimes, Hussein apparently has few regrets, claiming his actions were considered “normal” among the terror group’s ranks.

“We shot whoever we needed to shoot and beheaded whoever we needed to beheaded,” the jihadist, who was captured last October, told Reuters.

The 21-year-old described how he and fellow fighters would take their victims into the desert, where they would sit them down and blindfold them.

“Seven, eight, ten at a time. Thirty or 40 people. We would take them in desert and kill them,” he said. “I would sit them down, put a blindfold on them and fire a bullet into their heads.”


Iraqi air force pounding ISIS targets in West of Mosul

Federal police forces moving in large numbers to villages south of western Mosul

One of the intelligence and security leaders in ISIS, Haqi Ismail Awid, was killed in an airstrike on his car on the western bank of Mosul.

West Mosul: All across the landscape here, Iraq forces, advancing


Iraqi forces say they have captured Ibrahimiyah village, south west of Mosul

Yarallah: 9th Division captured the villages of al-Hosseinia, al-Sheikh Younis and al-Haraqiat west of Mosul



more pics

#900 Hotel Mike

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Posted Yesterday, 10:16 AM

Almost the end for any physical territory held by Daesh. The lone hateful jihadists will be harder to control.

Don't be so sure.:cool:


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