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Showing posts from February 16, 2016

Kurdish-backed forces take parts of Syrian town near Turkish border

Kurdish fighters fire shells towards what they said were ISIL strongholds in Tel Abyad of Raqqa governorate after they said they took control of the area in this June 15, 2015 photo. (Photo: Reuters)

The Kurdish-backed Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) took control of around 70 percent of the town of Tal Rifaat on Monday, seizing territory close to the Turkish border and pushing east towards Islamic State-held territory, conflict monitors said.

The move means the SDF -- which include the Kurdish YPG militia -- has further consolidated recent gains around the rebel-held Syrian town of Azaz, the last before the border with Turkey.

Turkey, which considers the YPG to be a terrorist group, has warned Kurdish fighters in northern Syria they would face the "harshest reaction" if they tried to capture Azaz and has been shelling SDF forces for the past few days.

But YPG fighters appear now to be moving eastwards rather than north, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group and …

Isis and the Taliban are Brutally Carving up Modern Afghanistan

I have long nursed the suspicion that Taliban units, Isis and government militias are not fighting about religion or government at all, more about mafia power

By Robert Fisk

If anyone wants to understand the shame of Afghanistan - the yearly cull of civilians, the beheadings, the execution by single shots, the kidnapping of women - they have only to read the shocking UN report just published in Kabul. It is laced with fearful eyewitness descriptions of brutality. Isis features in its 87 pages with its usual depravity (in Afghanistan, of course, not in Iraq or Syria) and the report’s statistics show clearly that, last year, there were more civilians killed or wounded in the country than in any year since 2009.

In 2015 alone, 3,545 civilians were killed and 7,457 injured. Since 2009, the total civilian dead – not soldiers, militiamen or Taliban – comes to 21,323 dead. And this, remember, is the graveyard of empires into which we blithely trod after 9/11 on the basis that we would not “fo…

Road To World War III: Turkish Army Enters Syria After Second Day Of Shelling As Saudi Warplanes Arrive

By Tyler Durden
Update: The following video depicts the aftermath of the shelling, which has reportedly claimed the lives of at least two civilians.
(as RT reports, "a video released by the Syrian Kurdish news agency ANHA and obtained by Ruptly shows damaged buildings and people rushing to take care of the wounded in the village of Maryamayn near the town of Afrin") Update: Reports indicate the Turkish army has crossed the border into Syria.
"The Syrian government says Turkish forces were believed to be among 100 gunmen it said entered Syria on Saturday accompanied by 12 pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine guns, in an ongoing supply operation to insurgents fighting Damascus," Reuters reports. "The operation of supplying ammunition and weapons is continuing via the Bab al-Salama crossing to the Syrian area of Azaz," the Assad government says. Meanwhile, since all that would take to unleash a full-blown war is for some Russian to be unexpectedly blown up, …

A Dramatic Escalation Appears Imminent

Week Eighteen of the Russian Intervention in Syria

The Saker

The situation in Syria has reached a watershed moment and a dramatic escalation of the war appears imminent. Let’s look again at how we reached this point.

During the first phase of the operation, the Syrian armed forces were unable to achieve an immediate strategic success. This is rather unsurprising. It is important to remember here that during the first weeks of the operation the Russian did not provide close air support to the Syrians. Instead, they chose to systematically degrade the entire Daesh (Note: I refer to *all* terrorist in Syria as “Daesh”) infrastructure including command posts, communication nodes, oil dumps, ammo dumps, supply routes, etc. This was important work, but it did not have an immediate impact upon the Syrian military. Then the Russians turned to two important tasks: to push back Daesh in the Latakia province and to hit the illegal oil trade between Daesh and Turkey. The first goal was needed for t…