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Islamic State withdrew from several areas
2014.10.09 02:25:13

Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said "fighters from the Islamic State withdrew overnight from several areas in the east of Ain al-Arab (Kobane) and the southwestern edges."

After the pullback, the group's fighters were present in eastern parts of the strategic town and its southern edges, but were no longer inside on the western front, Abdel Rahman said.

Tags: Syria | Islamic State

Hits: 765 |

Pro-Kurdish demonstration in southeast Turkey
2014.10.09 02:12:04

At least 14 people were killed in violent protests by pro-Kurdish demonstrators in southeast Turkey angry at the government's lack of action against ISIL in Syria, officials said Wednesday.

Eight of the deaths came in Turkey's main Kurdish city of Diyarbakir where the most intense rioting took place overnight Tuesday to Wednesday, a local security official told AFP.

The other deaths were reported in violent protests in Mardin, Siirt, Batman and Mus, all cities in the southeast of Turkey.

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Turkey

Hits: 760 |

Syrian army has regained control
2014.10.09 02:02:15

The Syrian army has regained control of a previously rebel-held town near Damascus, turning the tide in an area that witnessed large scale insurgent attacks in September.

The attacks had slowed the Syrian army's advance in the countryside to the east of the capital and the latest movements come at a time when rebels have taken a strategic hill in Deraa Province to the south of the country.

A 400-meter long tunnel connecting the rebel-held area of Ein Tarma with Adukhania was found in the district.


Tags: Syria

Hits: 582 |

More from Mistura
2014.10.08 03:40:11

"They are all Kurds - they have been defending themselves with great courage. But they are now very close to not being able to do so. They are fighting with normal weapons, whereas the ISIL has tanks and mortars.

"The international community needs to defend them. The international community cannot sustain another city falling under ISIS.

"What is needed now is concrete action.

"The world, all of us, will regret deeply if ISIL is able to take over. We need to act now."

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

Hits: 685 |

US-led air attacks on #ISIL ineffective
2014.10.08 03:32:07

The international community should immediately act to defend the key Syrian border town of Kobane from ISIL, the UN's peace envoy to Syria has.

"The world has seen the images of what happens when a city in Syria or in Iraq is overtaken by the terrorist group called ISIL: massacres, humanitarian tragedies, rapes, horrific violence," Staffan de Mistura said.

"The world, all of us, will regret deeply if ISIL is able to take over a city which has defended itself with courage but is close to not being able to do so. We need to act now."

Here are the options:

Boots on the ground (ruled out)
Turkey invading Syria (ruled out)
US-led air attacks on ISIL (so far ineffective)

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

Hits: 1071 |

Syria has declared four chemical weapons facilities
2014.10.08 03:12:48

Syria has declared four chemical weapons facilities it hadn't mentioned before, a special representative of the UN secretary-general told the Security Council on Tuesday. The news heightened concerns that the Syrian government hasn't been fully open about its chemical weapons program.

Diplomats said Sigrid Kaag told them during closed consultations that three of the facilities are for research and development and one is for production, and that no new chemical agents have been associated with the four sites.

The US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, tweeted: "Must keep pressure on regime so it doesn't hide CW capability." [AP]

Tags: Syria

Hits: 741 |

#ISIL fighters in the streets of #Kobane
2014.10.08 02:50:45

The statement on this video, posted on Youtube today, says it shows ISIL fighters in the streets of Kobane. A colleague has pointed out that a fighter can be heard saying they are in Tal Arar in Aleppo.

We're trying to find the source and record date of the video.

Anyway, at 0.55 there is dark smoke, and ISIL fighters say they are inside the town. "We are being shelled from all sides, God is great".

At 2.04 a fighter says "the brothers already retreated behind the mountain and they are safe with the grace of God".

Tags: Syria | Islamic State

Hits: 906 |

German soldiers training Kurdish peshmerga fighters
2014.10.08 02:37:08

This video, released by the German army, shows German soldiers training Kurdish peshmerga fighters in Bavaria. They're being taught how to use Milan anti-tank missiles.

Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Germany

Hits: 1077 |

#Turkey 'can't do much'
2014.10.08 02:32:37

Hakan Yavuz, an expert on Turkish politics at the University of Utah in the US, said Turkey "can't do much" to stop the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the Syrian town of Kobane at the border with Turkey.

In an interview, Yavuz said that Turkey cannot do the fighting against ISIL on behalf of the Syrian Kurds.

"It's doing enough just to stay out of the conflict and not to violate the territorial integrity of" Syria and Iraq, he said.

He also said that despite Turkish reluctance to join in the fight, it has opened its borders to over a million Syrian refugees fleeing the fighting.

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Turkey

Hits: 743 |

Air power 'would be of little use'
2014.10.08 01:56:10

Douglas Ollivant, of Washington DC-based New America Foundation, has said that air power of the US and its Middle Eastern allies "would be of little use" now that the fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant are in the Syrian city of Kobane.

In an interview Ollivant, who served as a former Director for Iraq at the US National Security Council, also said that it would be "conceivable" that NATO ground troops could be deployed if ISIL fighters attack neighboring Turkey, which is a member of NATO.

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | NATO

Hits: 573 |

Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane
2014.10.08 01:44:18

Idris Nassan, a Kurdish politician, confirmed in an interview that armed fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant have entered the eastern side of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane.

Nassan said that local Kurdish militia have put on a fight against ISIL, but added that more air strikes are necessary to drive out the armed fighters.

He also said that local militia need more firearms, and that ground forces are required to defeat ISIL.

Tags: Syria | Islamic State

Hits: 560 |

The parents of American hostage Peter Kassig
2014.10.07 02:19:17

The parents of American hostage Peter Kassig, who is being held by ISIL, have released a letter he wrote in June in which he said he was "scared to die."

The 26-year-old former US soldier was paraded at the end of an ISIL video last week that showed the murder of British aid worker Alan Henning.

Kassig's letter referred to his conversion to Islam during captivity, which his parents Ed and Paula Kassig said took place voluntarily at some point between October and December 2013 when he shared a cell with a devout Syrian Muslim.


Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Peter Kassig

Hits: 861 |

Turkish security forces
2014.10.07 02:07:07

The Turkish security forces on Monday used tear gas to push dozens of reporters and Kurdish civilians away from the border zone close to intense fighting for the besieged Syrian town of Kobane.

The armed forces employed tear gas for the second day in a row to push people back from the border area which has become increasingly dangerous owing to mortars fired from Syria, an AFP correspondent reported.


Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Turkey

Hits: 741 |

Kurdish gunmen repelled a wide offensive by IS fighters
2014.10.07 01:33:49

An activist group and a Kurdish official say gunmen defending a Syrian town near the border with Turkey have repelled a wide offensive by IS fighters.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and a statement by the Kurdish force, known as YPK, say more than 45 fighters on both sides were killed Sunday near the town of Kobani.


Tags: Syria | Islamic State

Hits: 696 |

Belgium's first bombing raid in Iraq
2014.10.07 01:20:52

An F-16 fighter jet has carried out Belgium's first bombing raid in Iraq in the fight against the Islamist State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, the defense ministry said.

Belgium has contributed six F-16 bombers to the US-led air campaign against fighters, backing up Iraqi and Kurdish troops on the ground.

Two of the Belgian jets were flying their first reconnaissance missions over Iraqi territory on Sunday when they were called to action.

"After the positive identification of a terrorist element attacking Iraqi security forces... The Belgian aircraft intervened with a GPS-guided bomb, resulting in the immediate neutralization of the enemy threat," the ministry said in a statement.


Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Belgium

Hits: 1020 |

Injuries as mortar lands in Turkey
2014.10.06 03:11:25

A mortar that crashed into a house on Turkish territory just a few kilometers from a border area inside Syria where Kurdish fighters are battling ISIL has wounded five people, medical sources told Reuters.

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Turkey

Hits: 763 |

Joe Biden has apologized to Recep Erdogan
2014.10.05 02:52:59

Joe Biden has apologized to Recep Erdogan for saying the Turkish leader had conceded that his country mistakenly assisted foreign fighters, including ISIL, in seeking to depose the Syrian regime.

The White House said Biden spoke to Erdogan on Saturday "to clarify comments" he made on Thursday at Harvard University.

The White House says Biden apologized "for any implication'' that Turkey or other allies had intentionally supplied or helped in the growth of ISIL or other groups in Syria.

Biden on Thursday said Erdogan had admitted that Turkey made mistakes by helping armed groups in Syria.

Erdogan denied saying that and countered that Biden would become "history to me" over the comments.

- AP

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Turkey | Joe Biden

Hits: 994 |

American citizen Jordan Matson
2014.10.05 02:45:33

Rohani TV, a Kurdish television channel, interviews an American citizen, Jordan Matson, who says he has joined Kurdish YPG fighters battling ISIL in northern Syria. He's been in the country for two weeks and was injured in battle, he says. A curious interview.

"I got sick of watching so many innocent people be killed. I got sick of everybody saying how bad it was and doing nothing about it. So I made up my own mind to come over here and do something about it."

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

Hits: 969 |

Turkey criticized comments by the US vice-president
2014.10.05 02:26:07

Turkey has today criticized comments by the US vice-president, Joe Biden, that the US's allies were "the biggest problem" in Syria and that Turkey had let too many people slip into Syria to fight.

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey has never allowed foreign fighters through to Syria or supported ISIL.

Erdogan said: "Biden is history to me if he really used those words on this subject... we have never provided any support to ISIL nor any terror group during that period when I was prime minister. No one can prove that we did".

Biden, known his counter-intuitive statements, made his speech on October 2 at the Kennedy Forum at Harvard University. Here's the speech, but be warned: it's long. For wonks only.

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Turkey | Joe Biden

Hits: 1044 |

ISIL fighters pressed further towards Kobane
2014.10.05 02:15:46

ISIL fighters are reported to have pressed further towards Kobane, the Syrian border town near Turkey.

Our correspondent on the Turkish side of the border reports heavy shelling and gunfire today.Our sister channel AJ Arabic says that four US-led air attacks on ISIL stopped the group pushing into the town last night.

Here's our latest story.

Tags: Syria | Islamic State

Hits: 730 |

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