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Showing posts from February 24, 2016

Libyans celebrate 'liberation' of Benghazi

Forces loyal to Tobruk government reportedly kick out militant groups from Libya's second city after two years of trying

A man celebrates in Benghazi on 23 February (AFP)

Libyans took to the streets of Benghazi on Tuesday to celebrate the apparent victory of Libyan forces over militant groups that had held parts of the city for years, according to reports.

The AP news agency said troops loyal to the Tobruk government pushed into the area of al-Laithi, forcing a withdrawal of militant Islamist fighters.

Unconfirmed reports have since emerged that Special French Commando forces recently arrived in Benghazi to support the military operations, a Libyan military source told Huffington Post Arabi.

The unnamed sources said that the forces were stationed in Benina Air Base, east of Benghazi, and had set up a common operations room with the Libyan forces to coordinate the action. However, the sources did not say how many troops had been sent and the nature of the reported force remains unclea…

Scores of al-Qaeda militants killed in clashes with Kurdish YPG forces north Syria

YPG fighters observe an ISIS stronghold south Hasakah. Photo: ARA News

ALEPPO – Militant fighters of al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda wing in Syria, launched on Tuesday a mortar attack on the Kurdish district of Sheikh Maqsoud in Aleppo, causing casualties among civilians, local sources reported.

“Nusra militants fired dozens of mortar shells on a crowded market in central Sheikh Maqsoud. At least two civilians were killed and 13 others wounded in the bombardment,” rights activist Haytham Mahmoud told ARA News in Aleppo.

Sheikh Maqsoud is under the control of the Kurdish forces of the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Subsequent to the attack, clashes broke out between the Kurdish fighters and Nusra militants in the vicinity of Sheikh Maqsoud on Tuesday evening.

Speaking to ARA News, YPG spokesman Habun Osman said that the clashes centered in the eastern part of the district, “where Nusra terrorists were trying to take over a security checkpoint for the YPG”.

“The YPG used heavy machine guns in th…

On The Front Line With the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Battling Outside Aleppo

'England is helping Isis and an English reporter is here asking for information'

By Robert Fisk

We knew who they were the moment they approached us on the front line outside Aleppo. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards – no longer merely advisers but fighting troops alongside the Syrian army – emerged on the roadside in their grey-patterned camouflage fatigues, speaking good though not perfect Arabic but chatting happily in Persian when they knew we could understand them.

Why, they asked politely – they were courteous, but very suspicious in the first few minutes – were we filming this part of their line? A mortar exploded in a field to our right – sent over either by Isis or by Jabhat al-Nusra – and we had filmed its cloud of brown smoke as it drifted eastwards.

I told the Iranian commander, a tall, bespectacled and thoughtful man, that we were journalists. I got the impression that these men wanted to talk to us – which proved to be the case – but they were wary of us, as if we…