#AceWorldNews – BRITAIN – Nov.23 – Two British men have reportedly travelled to Syria to fight against the Islamic State.
One of them is a former soldier who served in Afghanistan at least three times, while the other has spent time training with the French army.
Sky Correspondent Ashish Joshi said: “They’ve joined the Kurdish fighters and are now in Syria fighting IS in the town of Kobani.
“This is unusual. Since the conflict started, we’ve been covering reports of British jihadis going out to Syria to fight for IS.”
#AceNewsServices – BAGHDAD – Nov.15 – According to latest Department of Defence Press Release – General Martin Dempsey, the top US military officer and Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff arrived on Saturday in Baghdad.
In a surprise visit, as the US prepares to expand American assistance to Iraqi and Kurdish forces battling the Islamic State. “
I want to get a sense from our side about how our contribution is going,” Dempsey told Reuters before landing in Baghdad.
#AceNewsServices (Analysis & Opinion) October 24 At first sight, it seems that Israel is just as preoccupied with the rise of Islamic State as anyone else.
Israeli media report diligently on the extremist group’s assault on the Kurdish town of Kobani and run at least a story every few days on its atrocities.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu references Islamic State frequently, as do other Israeli ministers. And the stories of two Palestinian citizens of Israel who died fighting for the group have been recently featured in the press.
Still, Israel remains the least concerned and least directly threatened country in a region increasingly rocked by Islamic State’s advance. It certainly does not see the group as an external threat. Shocking though the events in Syria and Iraq are, Israel is far beyond the range of even the most sophisticated of Islamic State’s weapons.
The group’s immediate territorial interests do not extend to anywhere near Israeli borders, and its support in areas adjacent to Israel is still negligible.
What’s more, unlike many militant groups and states in the region, Islamic State has declared itself emphatically disinterested in intervening in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, preferring instead to draw its support from Sunni revanchism and introducing a semblance of order into war-torn regions of Iraq.
Islamic State also does not yet pose an internal threat to Israel. Unlike most countries bordering Syria, Israel has not been politically or demographically unsettled by the civil war there. The diversified systems of control employed by Israel – some liberal democracy and some military rule — have cemented differences among the country’s constituencies disgruntled with the Israeli government.
The divisions have precluded the emergence of a broad uprising similar to those that constituted the Arab Spring. The relatively short, highly militarized border between Israel and Syria has prevented the influx of refugees into Israel, as well as any significant spread of the fighting.
In the absence of incentives to change policy, Israel remains determined to display an official disinterest in Iraq and a staunch neutrality toward Syria. Although the government has often expressed sympathy for victims of the Syrian civil war and offered some of them medical treatment, and has on one or two occasions hit targets in Syria, Israel has been careful to signal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that it considers him a relatively reliable neighbor and would not work actively to replace him.
It’s also unlikely that Israeli leaders will come under any internal pressure to change this position. While the images of the war in Syria have prompted some Palestinians to travel abroad and take up arms against the Syrian regime, sometimes fighting alongside jihadist organizations, the numbers have been small — and their wrath, for now, directed at the Syrian regime, not at Israel. Images of Islamic State’s atrocities, combined with the group’s religious fanaticism, contempt for nation-states and express disinterest in the Palestinian cause have left Palestinians — largely secular, nationalist and deeply committed to building their own nation-state — more alienated than attracted.
Even attempts by Israeli centrists and the U.S. to tie progress in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to the fight against Islamic State have left Israel unmoved. Israel, the argument went, should make concessions in its talks with Palestinians to mollify Arab populations as their governments yet again throw in with the Americans — and by extension, with the Israelis. This tactic rests on the idea that the only real threat that Islamic State poses to Israel, however remotely, is if it toppled any of the “moderate” Arab states, especially Jordan, by invading them or capitalizing on their local discontents, or a combination of the two.
But the Israeli government, which has no interest, political or ideological, in facilitating a two-state solution, has so far responded with a shrug. The view in Israel is that the moderate Arab regimes are sufficiently threatened by the spread of Islamic State to prioritize drawing the Americans in, warts and all. If anything triggers revolutions in these countries, it will not be the plight of the Palestinians.
The lack of direct threats notwithstanding, Israel has been able to extract some short-term gains from unfolding catastrophe. With the West again mobilizing against a radical Islamist group, Netanyahu find himself on the familiar turf of the “war on terror.” He is capitalizing on this by trying to equate Palestinian nationalism — especially the religious wing of it — with Islamic State at every conceivable opportunity (even if with little perceptible effect). Second, Israel is again making itself useful to the West as a corner of stability and pro-Western sentiment in an otherwise turbulent Middle East — and is using this to push the Palestinian issue further down the agenda.
These considerations apart, Israel sees Islamic State as something that’s happening to other people — and the country will do its best to keep it so.
#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES (Washington) – The Pentagon has publicly acknowledged an air-drop of lethal aid to Kurdish rebels fighting the hardline Islamic State in the pivotal Syrian-Turkish border town of Kobani, shortly after news of considerable gains made against the terrorists there.
The Sunday delivery, which also contained other supplies, comes on the heels of renewed US air-strikes on Syria and Iraq’s oil infrastructure in a bid to cripple the terrorist group’s hold on it.
Eleven of the strikes were on the Kobani area overnight.
A brief statement by US Central Command said US Air Force C-130 aircraft “delivered weapons, ammunition and medical supplies that were provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq and intended to enable continued resistance against ISIL’s [Islamic State, formerly ISIS/ISIL] attempts to overtake Kobani.”
A total of 27 drops with supplies were delivered, another official stated. The aircraft left the Syrian air space following the operation.
On the Kurdish side, a spokesman acknowledged delivery of large quantities of ammunition, weapons and medical aid on Monday. The announcement followed another brief statement that “good news”would soon be released.
The spokesman may have been referring to recent gains made by Kurdish forces against Islamic State militants, who have allegedly been retreating from Kobani.
The latest from the forces on the ground was that a clean-up operation is under-way, but parts of this crucial border town remain occupied by sporadic terrorists and suicide bombers.
#AceNewsServices – TURKEY (Suruc) – October 18 – When Islamic State jihadists launched a major offensive on the majority Kurdish town of Kobane in September, more than 180,000 people fled across the border into Turkey.
Local authorities struggled to cope with the influx at first, and thousands of refugees were forced to sleep on the streets of the Turkish border town of Suruc.
Now camps are being set up to provide shelter and other assistance.
With the borders closed and thousands unable to leave Kobane, VICE News visited one of six refugee camps in the town to find out how refugee families — some sharing tents with up to 14 other people — are coping with leaving their homes and livelihoods behind.
#AceWorldNews – UNITED STATES – October 17 – The US State Department met directly with a Syrian Kurdish group last week in France, in conversations that led to increased American air-strikes against Islamic State militants in Kobani, Reuters reports.
A spokesman for the Kurds said their troops on the ground fed the US military the coordinates of militants in the town, where intense fighting has broken out.
“We have for some time had conversations through intermediaries with the PYD [the Kurdish Democratic Union Party].
We have engaged over the course of just last weekend with the PYD,” said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.
#AceNewsServices – October 15 – American-led forces have sharply intensified air strikes in the past two days against Islamic State fighters threatening Kurds on Syria’s Turkish border after the jihadists’ advance began to destabilize Turkey.
The coalition had conducted 21 attacks on the militants near the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani over Monday and Tuesday and appeared to have slowed Islamic State advances there, the U.S. military said, but cautioned the situation remained fluid.
U.S. President Barack Obama voiced deep concern on Tuesday about the situation in Kobani as well as in Iraq’s Anbar province, which U.S. troops fought to secure during the Iraq war and is now at risk of being seized by Islamic State militants.
“Coalition air strikes will continue in both of these areas,” Obama told military leaders from coalition partners including Turkey, Arab states and Western allies during a meeting outside Washington.
The fight against Islamic State will be among the items on the agenda when Obama holds a video conference on Wednesday with British, French, German and Italian leaders, the White House said.
War on the militants in Syria is threatening to unravel a delicate peace in neighboring Turkey where Kurds are furious with Ankara over its refusal to help protect their kin in Syria.
The plight of the Syrian Kurds in Kobani provoked riots among Turkey’s 15 million Kurds last week in which at least 35 people were killed.
Turkish war-planes were reported to have attacked Kurdish rebel targets in southeast Turkey after the army said it had been attacked by the banned PKK Kurdish militant group, risking reigniting a three-decade conflict that killed 40,000 people before a ceasefire was declared two years ago.
#AceNewsServices (Opinion) – October 14 – Embattled governments in Iraq and Syria have come to rely on Shiite militias as their armies have crumbled in the face of mostly Sunni insurgents and rebels.
In Libya, various armed groups loosely allied with two rival governments have fought over bullet-riddled airports.
Shiite rebels in Yemen have swept down from the north, capturing the capital and, on Tuesday, a key port city.
The chaos unleashed by the Arab Spring has led to the rise of powerful militias – including many Islamic extremist groups – across a Middle East where many central governments have been exposed as weak.
Some of the groups are allied with the governments, while others are fighting to topple them.
Some – like the Kurdish peshmerga in northern Iraq – are seen as vital allies for the West.
All could prove to be major obstacles to peace or stability in the region.
AceWorldNews – TURKEY – October 14 – Turkish war-planes have bombed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets near the country’s border with Iraq.
The strikes highlight rising tensions in Turkey over Ankara’s perceived unwillingness to aid besieged Kurdish fighters in the Syrian town of Kobani.
The Turkish General Staff dispatched F-16 and F-4 jets to the southeastern village of Daglica in Hakkari province on Monday, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reports.
The daily says the airstrikes caused “heavy damage” to the PKK.
The PKK’s military wing, however, said in a statement on its website that its forces had not suffered casualties during the strikes, Reuters reports.
Turkey says the bombings came in response to three days of attacks on the Daglıca military guard post with rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine guns.
PKK insurgents for their part blamed the Turkish military of violating the ceasefire.
Monday’s strikes were the first to be conducted since the Kurdish rebel group declared a ceasefire with Turkey in March 2013.
The incident underlines simmering anger among Kurds in south-eastern Turkey over Ankara’s failure to intervene against so-called Islamic State (IS) militants, who launched a massive offensive on the predominately Kurdish town of Kobani – not far from Syria’s border with Turkey – on September 16.
At least 35 people were killed throughout Turkey’s Kurdish majority south-eastern provinces last week after protests against Ankara’s inaction descended into violent street clashes.
#AceWorldNews – IRAQ (Baghdad) – October 12 – A triple suicide bombing killed 26 Kurdish security forces north-east of Baghdad on Sunday and a roadside bomb killed the police chief of the western Anbar province, dealing major blows to Iraqi security forces struggling to combat the Islamic State extremist group AP reported.
A bomb has killed Brig. Gen. Ahmed al-Dulaimiof, the police chief of Iraqi Anbar province, Councilman Faleh al-Issawi said.
The triple attack took place in Qara Tappah, in the ethnically and communally mixed Diyala province, according to an official from the Kurdish Asayish security forces.
He said the first bomber detonated an explosives vest at the gateway to a security compound that also houses the office of a main Kurdish political party.
Minutes later, two suicide bombers plowed cars filled with explosives into the compound, causing heavy damage.
At least 60 people were wounded in the attack.
The Islamic State extremist group claimed the attack, saying it was carried out by three non-Iraqi jihadists.
The authenticity of the on-line statement could not be independently verified, but it was posted on a Twitter account frequently used by the militant group.
#AceNewsServices – October 10 – Female Kurdish fighters ignite fear into Islamic State militants, who believe that they’ll go straight to hell if they are killed by a woman.
RT travelled to Iraqi-Syrian border to meet the YPG, the female battalion fighting IS.
The border area between Iraq and Syria is currently controlled by Kurdish volunteers after both Iraqi and Syrian military forces abandoned the border crossings.
The women fighters occupy the lookout post on the border, which allows them to monitor all IS activities in Iraq and Syria.
Women fighters make up one third of all #Kurdish resistance.
— PaulaSlier_RT (@PaulaSlier_RT) October 7, 2014
Rosarine, one of the women, confessed that she had never fired a gun in her life before the war against Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS) began.
“The first time I fired I was scared, but my love for my country was bigger than my fear,” she told RT’s Paula Slier. “Islamic State thought women can’t fight them, but here we are. We are not afraid because we know what we are fighting for.”
The 19-year-old, who dropped out of school to join the YPG, Kurdish People’s Protection Units, says that now she opens fire “whenever something moves [on the IS side].”
— PaulaSlier_RT (@PaulaSlier_RT) October 7, 2014
All the women fighters in the battalion are volunteers, who go into battle under the “Hava” (friendship) motto. Rosarine added that she and her ‘sisters in arms’ get full support and encouragement from their families as they’re fighting to protect the Kurdish land and its people.
The commander of the Kurdish women fighters, Dalil Derki, said that his unit strikes terror into Islamic state militants, who have “twisted Islam.”
“In their philosophy women don’t have their own role in society. Their philosophy and culture is that they believe that if they are killed by a woman they won’t go to heaven. Instead they will go to hell,” he explained to RT.
According to the YPG commander, half of the jihadists on the border were killed by women fighters and “if they want to go to hell, they should keep fighting us.”
Derki said that he’s proud of his troops and their achievement on the battlefield as they “set an example to women all around the world.”
— PaulaSlier_RT (@PaulaSlier_RT) October 7, 2014
Another female soldier, Beritan, said that she has already been in many “dangerous fights,” with one battle even lasting “for an entire night and day.”
“I wasn’t really scared, I was more focused on killing the terrorists than dying myself,” she explained.
Many of the girls told RT that they’ll remain soldiers after the war with IS is over as the battle for an independent Kurdish state, Kurdistan, is underway.
The Kurds do not have their own state, with the Kurdistan region spanning adjacent parts of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.
The Kurdish conflict with various jihadist groups taking part in the Syrian civil war, including IS, started in July 2013 in the Syrian town of Ras al-Ayn.
While Kurdish forces recently managed moderate military gains against IS in northern Iraq.
However, the jihadists seem to be taking the upper hand in the battle for the strategic town of Kobani on the Turkish-Syrian border.