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ISIS growing stronger and more organised in Middle East

A place to talk about domestic politics in Middle East (Iran, Iraq , Turkey, Syria) Also includes topics about Assyrian, Armenian, Chaldean .

Re: ISIS growing stronger and more organised in Middle East

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jul 13, 2020 12:00 am

Iraqi, Kurdish forces
attacks against ISIS


Iraqi security forces and Kurdish counter-terrorism units on Saturday launched the fourth stage of an operation against Islamic State (ISIS) militants in areas disputed between Baghdad and Erbil in Diyala province

Abdul-Ameer Kamil al-Shamiri, deputy commander of Iraqi Joint Operations Command, said in a statement on Saturday that they launched the fourth stage of the “Heroes of Iraq” operation “to pursue remnant terrorists and impose security and stability in Diyala province, as well as clearing and inspecting the border strip with the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The operation is also aimed at entering the disputed areas between Iraqi forces and Peshmerga forces - areas “exploited by Daesh (ISIS) fighters to exist and carry out its terrorist operations,” the statement added.

ISIS was declared territorially defeated in Iraq in December 2017. However, remnants of the group continue to operate in the disputed territories, returning to earlier insurgency tactics including ambushes, kidnappings and targeted killings.

Operations to entirely clear their presence from the area have failed, and military bodies worldwide have warned the group is resurging in several locations

The Iraqi army, the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, or Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic), other Iraqi security forces and Kurdish counter-terrorism forces from Sulaimani province are participating in the latest phase, which targets an areas of 17,685 square kilometers. Iraqi and coalition forces will provide air support.

The first phase of the operation was announced in mid-May, with a focus on the provinces of Anbar, Nineveh and Salahaddin. Phase two was announced on June 2, targeting ISIS holdouts on the fringes of Salahaddin and Kirkuk. The third stage covered Saladin, Diyala, Samarra, and Kirkuk provinces.

The state-owned Iraqi News Agency (INA) reported Saturday morning that Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi arrived at Hashd al-Shaabi’s military base in Diyala to supervise the new phase of the operation.

INA also reported the “clearance” of 27 villages in the province.

The new phase comes one day after after the third anniversary of the liberation of Mosul from ISIS.

Brigadier General Yehia Rasool, spokesperson for the Iraq's Joint Operations Command told Rudaw TV on Thursday that “the Iraqi defense ministry and Peshmerga ministry are continuing their meetings to fill the security gap in the disputed areas, that can reach to 13 km square in some areas.”

Rasool also explained that cooperation between Peshmerga forces and Iraqi security forces is necessary to “exchange information regarding ISIS sleeper cells in the disputed areas.”

However, Peshmerga forces did not take part in Saturday’s operation.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/11072020
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Re: ISIS growing stronger and more organised in Middle East

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Re: ISIS growing stronger and more organised in Middle East

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jul 18, 2020 1:55 am

Iraqi military puts ISIS leaders in crosshairs

Iraqi forces are focusing their operations on leadership of the Islamic State (ISIS) group, using information provided by the national intelligence services as international forces of the US-led coalition continue to draw down

“The operations carried out by the intelligence services and security forces are carried out according to the intelligence efforts and under the guidance of the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and these operations target ISIS leaders,” defence ministry spokesperson Yehia Rasool told state-media on Friday.

Iraqi forces killed the ISIS wali (governor) of Baghdad, Omer Shalal Abid, in an operation announced on Wednesday, alongside two other ISIS members.

Following the territorial defeat of ISIS in Iraq in late 2017, Baghdad has conducted targeted military operations against small groups and sleepers cells throughout the country.

The most recent operation, launched on Saturday, saw Kurdish counter-terrorism units joining Iraqi forces to clear areas in Diyala province, eastern Iraq. The goal of this, the fourth phase of the ‘Heroes of Iraq’ operation, is to “pursue remnant terrorists and impose security and stability in Diyala province, as well as clearing and inspecting the border strip with the Islamic Republic of Iran,” Abdul-Ameer Kamil al-Shamiri, deputy commander of Iraqi Joint Operations Command, announced at the time.

Phase one, announced in mid-May, included operations in Anbar, Nineveh, and Saladin provinces. Phase two began on June 2 and targeted ISIS holdouts on the fringes of Salahaddin and Kirkuk. The third phase covered Saladin, Diyala, Samarra, and Kirkuk provinces.

The US-led coalition provided Iraqi army units on the ground with air support alongside the Iraqi air force. The coalition has had troops on the ground in Iraq since 2014, training and advising Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the fight against ISIS. Over the border, they have also collaborated with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

In recent months, the coalition has withdrawn from several Iraqi bases and repositioned troops after successes in the campaign to defeat ISIS and to protect personnel amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, British troops withdrew from Taji military camp in northern Baghdad and handed over the training mission to Iraqi security forces, according to an official statement from the coalition.

The international forces have handed control of six other military bases to the Iraqis in the space of a month: Abu Ghraib near Baghdad, K1 in Kirkuk, al-Qaim near the Syrian border, Qayyarah in western Iraq, al-Sqoor in Mosul, and al-Taqaddum in Anbar.

ISIS welcomed the withdrawal as an opportunity to spread its insurgency and has vowed to exploit the drawdown of coalition troops in Iraq, resuming hit-and-run tactics and torching farmers’ fields.

The militants have also carried out a spate of attacks on Iraqi security forces and units of the Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, also known as Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic).

On May 15, two soldiers were killed and four wounded when a convoy hit an improvised explosive device (IED) in northern Baghdad province, the Iraqi Defense Ministry said. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the blast.

May was a deadly month. Ten PMF fighters were killed in a five-pronged assault in Saladin on May 2. On the same day, militants killed three federal police officers and wounded two others in an attack on Zaghniya police station in Diyala province.

On Thursday, ISIS weekly propaganda al-Naba newspaper claimed its militants had carried out 23 attacks in Iraq between July 9 and 15 alone – mainly in Diyala.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/170720201
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Re: ISIS growing stronger and more organised in Middle East

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jul 18, 2020 1:58 am

SDF launches new anti-ISIS
campaign in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor


Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in Deir ez-Zor province on Friday launched a new phase of their operation against Islamic State (ISIS) remnants in the eastern Syrian province

The ‘Deterrence of Terrorism’ operation “targets ISIS hideouts and their cells that threaten stability and civil peace in the areas of Deir Ezzor,” the SDF announced, noting militants have increased attacks on the civilian population.

On the first day, 24 suspected ISIS members were detained in the towns of al-Basira and al-Shahel.

The first phase of the campaign began in early June in coordination with the US-led global coalition. The SDF arrested 110 ISIS members and confiscated large amounts of ammunition.

This stage will cover ground near the Euphrates River and “any other areas where necessary,” Adnan Afrini, SDF commander in Deir ez-Zor, said in a video published by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) on Twitter. The YPG is the backbone of the SDF.

ISIS was declared territorially defeated in Syria in 2019 and in Iraq in 2017, but the group remains a threat on both sides of the border, including carrying out hit-and-run attacks and abductions.

The Coalition said in a tweet on Friday that their allies in Iraq and Syria have carried out 16 operations against ISIS in the last week, leading to the detention of 26 ISIS fighters. “Daesh cannot hide itself in Iraq and Syria,” read the tweet in Kurdish, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

The current campaign is at the “request of the people, chieftains, and elderly of the tribes of the region, especially after ISIS attacks on civilians increased and posed a direct threat to their lives,” the SDF stated.

Relations are tense between Arab tribes of Deir ez-Zor and the Kurdish-dominated SDF and political administration of northeastern Syria. On Friday, conflict monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported skirmishes between SDF and demonstrators protesting a new school curriculum.

According to the Observatory, the curriculum includes instruction on multiple religions, and “called for the division of Syria.” Teachers and parents say this contradicts local customs and traditions.

Last year, the Kurdish leadership met with representatives of some 70 clans and tribes to strengthen frayed ties.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeas ... /170720201
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Re: ISIS growing stronger and more organised in Middle East

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jul 18, 2020 11:26 pm

ISIS responsible for killing

The Islamic State group (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the killing of a top Iraqi army commander north of Baghdad in an "ambush" on Friday

In a statement published on ISIS-affiliated Amaq media outlet, the extremist group claimed militants "killed General Brigadier Ali Hameed Ghaydan, commander of Brigade 59 of the Iraqi Army on Ibn Sina street... in an ambush by our fighters with various weapons."

Three others were said to be killed in the attack, according to the statement.

Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Friday ordered intelligence and security forces to "immediately and urgently arrest those terrorist fighters who attacked the vehicle of General Brigadier Ali Hameed Ghaydan."

The attack comes as Iraqi forces have carried out a number of recent offensives against ISIS.

Iraqi and Kurdish forces announced the fourth phase of the “Heroes of Iraq” operation in Diyala province last week. Previous phases covered areas in Anbar, Nineveh, Salahaddin, Kirkuk, and Samarra.

The US-led global coalition against ISIS is drawing down in Iraq. American troops have withdrawn from six bases in Iraq and this week British forces left Taji military camp in northern Baghdad.

ISIS has welcomed the withdrawal as an opportunity to spread its insurgency and has vowed to exploit the drawdown of coalition troops.

On Thursday, ISIS weekly propaganda al-Naba newspaper claimed its militants had carried out 23 attacks in Iraq between July 9 and 15 alone – mainly in Diyala. On Telegram, the group claimed to have carried out two recent attacks against Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic) in Diyala and Dijla areas, killing two fighters and injuring six others.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/iraq/180720202
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Re: ISIS growing stronger and more organised in Middle East

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Jul 18, 2020 11:41 pm

Turkey supporting ISIS

The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria calls upon the whole world to hold Turkey to account for smuggling ISIS members and implicit and explicit support for ISIS

The Turkish secret service MIT has freed a Moldovan female member of ISIS and her children held in the Hol (al-Hawl) camp in Hesekê in northeast Syria and handed them over to Moldova. The "rescue operation", according to a report by the official news agency AA, apparently took place at the request of the government of the South-East European country. Meanwhile, it is unclear why Moldova turned to NATO partner Turkey to free a member of the terrorist organization ISIS from coalition custody instead of lobbying the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria for the repatriation of the woman and her four children.

The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria calls upon the whole world to hold Turkey to account for smuggling ISIS members and implicit and explicit support for ISIS.

The statement, which follows Turkey's announcement it has 'rescued' foreign ISIS members from SDF detention, reads as follows:

"Since the beginning of the crisis in Syria and the emergence of ISIS and other radical organizations, Turkey has endeavored, in every possible way, to support and benefit from terrorism in Syria. This support became clear with the SDF’s campaign against ISIS in the summer of 2015, at a time when Turkey was hiding these issues and preventing their revelations. However, with this campaign, everything became clearer, and it demonstrated the extent of Turkey’s relationship with, and insistence on preventing the defeat of any extremist faction, foremost of which is ISIS.

There are thousands of evidences, which have been documented by all parties and actors in Syria as well as the confessions of those who are now in the hands of the Autonomous Administration, confirm Turkey’s support of terrorism in Syria, the movement of extremists from and into Syria, the commercial dealings between them, the reception and the treatment of ISIS’ wounded people in Turkey. Not to mention the new form of ISIS support, including its sleeper cells and the mercenaries who were in the ranks of ISIS and bringing them to the areas of Afrin, Serekaniye (Ras al-Ain) and Gire Spi (Tal Abyad) under the name of Syrian National Army in an attempt to deceive the international public.

The al-Hawl (Hol) camp, which houses thousands of ISIS women and children, was part of the continuing Turkish attempts to penetrate the camp and smuggle these women, and use them as a bargaining chip to blackmail the world. Many attempts to smuggle them were foiled. Turkey’s announcement on 17 July 2020, of its alleged rescue of a Moldovan woman with her children from the aforementioned camp is dangerous and an important evidence of Turkey’s continuing effort to revive ISIS in the region, especially in light of Turkey’s talk that these women are being forcibly detained. Turkey also describes, in an explicit manner, that these people should not be detained in these camps, and it announces publicly the need to free ISIS women. Not to mention the volume of continuous attempts to target places of detention of ISIS members and women, from targeting Ain Issa Camp to one of the detention facilities in Kobani as well as in al-Jazeera. Turkey also encourages, through its agents, ISIS prisoners to disobey prison orders and revolt in their prisons.

In addition to the situation that has emerged today, other cases show ISIS members fled and arrived in Turkey with the help of Turkish intelligence. In addition, there are confessions from a number of others who tried to escape and their destination was Turkey, as Turkish intelligence is making great efforts and providing financial support to this end.

We, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, call upon the whole world to hold Turkey responsible for smuggling and receiving ISIS members, and its explicit and implicit support for ISIS’ sleeper cells in the region. These practices are consistent with attempts to place Syria, the region, and the world under the threat of ISIS. This support also targets the efforts made by the international coalition and its partner, the SDF, to secure the world from the threat of ISIS. Therefore, everyone should work to put an end to the Turkish state’s practices, which pose a great threat to the security and safety of the region and the world.”
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Re: ISIS growing stronger and more organised in Middle East

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jul 19, 2020 11:13 am

SAS snipers target jihadis

Special Forces sniper teams have targeted British jihadis in fierce cave battles in the mountains of northern Iraq, killing at least 100 fighters in a ‘secret war’ to crush an Islamic State resurgence

In scenes similar to the hunt for Osama Bin Laden in the Tora Bora mountains of Afghanistan after 9/11, elite SAS troops have tracked ISIS killers, including British volunteers, to their hideouts in the remote highlands.

They have then taken them out using sniper rifles, artillery rounds and precision airstrikes launched from RAF Typhoon jets and unmanned UK Reaper drones.

Elite SAS troops have tracked ISIS killers, including British volunteers, to their hideouts in the remote highlands

Defence sources last night confirmed that there have been at least ten battles in northern Iraq in the past three months, with further secret operations in neighbouring Syria.

Several UK jihadis are understood to have been killed in the fighting, many of whom had escaped from desert prison camps and returned to their military units.

They took shelter in rugged terrain in northern Iraq where Islamic State uses a network of caves and tunnels to avoid capture.

The renewed assault began on April 10 when UK ground troops, accompanied by British-trained Kurdish soldiers, forced fanatics to take refuge in a building before an SAS radio operator called in two Typhoons based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, and a drone flown by controllers at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire.
How elite troops waged ‘secret war'

1) April 28

Two RAF Typhoons destroy caves in the Hamrin mountains, in the north-east of Bayji, Iraq, where Islamic State fighters are hiding, killing ten militants. Six caves are targeted with Paveway IV bombs in the night-time attack, with British jihadis among the dead.

2) May 8

An unmanned Reaper drone (pictured, top), controlled from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, strikes an IS bunker in northern Iraq using a laser-guided bomb.

3) May 10

Two Typhoons are sent on a reconnaissance mission patrol. US Special Forces are notified of IS fighters in caves near Lake Tharthar, south-east of Hatra. Three militants are killed.

4) May 13

An RAF Reaper drone strikes two IS bunkers in northern Iraq, west of Tuz Khurmatu. It is not known how many are killed.

5) May 23

A Reaper drone kills ISIS fighters found hiding in woods in northern Iraq. Military equipment and explosives belonging to the fighters are also destroyed.

6) May 31
7) June 3
ISIS fighters tracked to a mountain lair 17 miles west of Tuz Khurmatu are hit by a GBU-12 bomb and Hellfire missile.

7) June 3

A pair of Typhoons are involved in a coalition Air Force attack on an ISIS headquarters, 35 miles north-west of Kirkuk.

8) June 22

An ISIS IED storage facility is identified 35 miles north-west of Tikrit. Two Typhoons drop four bombs on a cave network.

9) June 24

Another cave network in the Makhmur Mountains is destroyed by four Paveway bombs.

A dramatic night battle between the SAS and Islamic State followed on April 28. At least ten militants were killed when Special Forces soldiers found jihadis hiding in caves in the Hamrin mountains.

Again, the RAF was called in to provide cave-busting firepower. According to debriefing reports, Paveway IV laser-guided bombs were dropped on to six caves before SAS and Kurdish troops cleared the entire complex.

The attacks in April were followed by five battles in May where the RAF launched fighter jets and drones. Last night, a defence source said: ‘The regiment has been having a field day. It’s been hard soldiering in tough conditions, very hot and mountainous, and Islamic State fights to the death.

‘Around 100 militants have been eliminated. There was a major battle every few days in May followed by some big clashes in June too.

‘The RAF’s bombing has been very accurate with no civilian casualties and there have definitely been British jihadis among the deceased. They’ve been identified during the battle in communications intercepts and afterwards from ID cards and by DNA.

‘It is imperative that ISIS doesn’t get a foothold in the region again.’

According to official Ministry of Defence accounts, the RAF dropped ordnance on ISIS bases on May 8, 10, 13, 23 and 31. The Typhoons and Reapers have fired GBU-12 guided bombs, Paveway IV missiles and Hellfire missiles. There have been no reports of any SAS casualties.

Further engagements were noted on June 3, 22 and 24, says the MoD.

ISIS lost its deadly stranglehold on Iraq in 2017 and in Syria in 2018 but its fighters have been reforming, triggering a response from British and Coalition special forces.

Earlier this year, its leaders also called on followers to exploit the global Covid pandemic to launch attacks.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: ‘The use of RAF jets and Reaper aircraft to deliver successful strikes against terrorists and their hideouts demonstrates that the UK’s defence never sleeps and we will always do what is necessary to protect our people.’

ISIS lost its deadly stranglehold on Iraq in 2017 and in Syria in 2018 but its fighters have been reforming, triggering a response from British and Coalition special forces

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/articl ... -Iraq.html

UK Reaper drones disgusting, akin to shooting rats in a trap, the UK has become as vile as those it seeks to eliminate

I always thought that shooting someone in the back is an act of cowardice and that the only time it is justified is if that person is an immediate threat

If people are trapped in a cave then they are not an immediate threat to anyone

Logic says that eventually they will have to emerge

If they come out shooting then by all means return fire

Has there been an Act of Parliament forbidding the UK armed forces from taking prisoners

TWO WRONGS DO NOT MAKE A RIGHT

ISIS are fanatics who believe that to die killing non-Muslims sends them to heaven where they will be given palaces to live in, 72 Virgins to meet their every need and a place at the table of Mohammed

I would cut the penises from dead ISIS fighters and feed them to pigs so that the jihadists know they will never have 72 virgins

It is my opinion that a lot less jihadists will risk being killed if they have no virgins to look forward to

At present captured jihadists, both male and female, are treated will ill deserved respect

    ISIS men should be banned from praying and have their beards cut off

    ISIS females should banned from praying and forced to wear brightly coloured short dresses without head coverings
It is my opinion that a lot less jihadists will risk being captured if they have ISIS religious practises, clothing and beards removed
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Re: ISIS growing stronger and more organised in Middle East

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Jul 22, 2020 11:26 pm

A female member of ISIS

Recently I wrote about the British Court of Appeal’s decision to allow the return of Shamima Begum to fight the Government’s ruling to remove her British citizenship. Begum lives in a squalid Syrian refugee camp. Before that, she spent more than three years under Islamic State rule. We refer to Begum and women like her as “jihadi brides”, which takes away their agency as active participants in the violence and ideology to which they subscribe.

The media tends to stereotype and fetishise female terrorists, often characterising them as mothers and carers. We view these women as abhorrent and unnatural and they are rarely considered to be either as violent or ideological as men. Under the Isis occupation, women had fundamental roles as Sharia enforcers, which included the torturing of recalcitrant women and the preparation of Yazidi sex slaves for rape by their Isis husbands.

We have a gruesome fascination with women who commit brutal crimes, like Irma Grese, the warden of the women’s sections of Auschwitz and Belsen, who was executed at Nuremberg and was infamous for her sexual violence against Concentration Camp inmates. It’s no surprise that women who are part of these terrorist cells are as cruel as men, and as devoted. In 2016 it was estimated that 40 per cent of all French migrants in Isis-controlled territory were women. Both men and women are compelled by the same propaganda when it comes to narratives, beliefs, and grievances. The same factors that appeal to men appeal to women. The women of Isis were part of the propaganda machine.

When I corresponded with international lawyer Jela Keyany, she said, “let’s start by ending the phrase ‘Isis brides’. It should be “female Isis member.” Keyany worked in Kurdistan and is one of the legal coordinators of the Yazidi Legal Network which tries to obtain justice for the survivors of the crimes committed by Isis.

In the case of Begum, the former east London schoolgirl, Keyany points out that she was not married when she entered Syria and that by calling the women who joined Isis “brides”, “it presumes that there was no membership or participation. Isis is not only a violent organisation but also a terrorist organisation. Meaning, they know how to create theatre, and they have an understanding of its addressees. They know that there is sympathy or empathy towards women, specifically Muslim women, as there is a perception of weakness in the Western patriarchal mindset.”

Women have played an essential role in the denial of genocide. Like Begum, many are now diminishing their role in the Yazidi genocide which began in Sinjar, Iraq in 2014. “They are successfully minimising their crimes to terrorist acts instead of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide,” says Keyany. Many Isis female members claim are they did not witness any violence against locals and have created a victim perspective for themselves.

Denial is the tenth stage of genocide, according to Dr Gregory Stanton of Genocide Watch. It begins with classification, symbolisation, discrimination, dehumanisation, organisation, polarisation, preparation, persecution, extermination and finally, denial. “Not knowing” has been used by women in almost all genocides.

Six years on, the Yazidis are still waiting for justice. Keyany is not necessarily against the return of Isis female perpetrators, but she wants accountability. “National courts are in the process of collecting evidence or have difficulties in getting the evidence. That’s why we have the Yazidi Legal Network. Keeping the Isis women and men in Syria and Iraq is not a solution, especially for the locals as Isis still poses a danger for the survivors and witnesses.” The next generation of Isis fighters, Yazidi boys, in particular, are indoctrinated by women as Cubs of the Caliphate.

David Haines was beheaded in Syria by Isis in 2014 by the cell knows as “The Beatles”. The daughter of the British aid worker Bettany Haines said of Begum, “she knew what she was getting herself into. She needs to live with the consequences. From what I gather, Begum still has a strong hatred of the UK. She’s a ticking time bomb.” The women of Isis were part of the propaganda machine. Now, the narrative needs to change, and we should begin by acknowledging women’s agency.

https://www.thearticle.com/not-a-jihadi ... er-of-isis
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Re: ISIS growing stronger and more organised in Middle East

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Aug 01, 2020 12:54 pm

ISIS video of Peshmerga's beheading

An extremist group on Wednesday released footage on their social media platforms purportedly showing the beheading of a former Kurdish Peshmerga soldier a year and a half after he was kidnapped in the Kurdistan Region's Garmiyan administration

Image

Asaad Ali, 33, from the administration’s village of Qalla, near Kifri town, was kidnapped alongside a shepherd friend by the White Flag group in February 2019 near Sarqala sub-district while the two were hunting. The shepherd was released after a short while, but Ali remained missing.

The White Flag group is thought to be one of a number of groups to have emerged from the fragments of ISIS since its ejection from Iraq's major urban centers in 2017.

"We had information that the White Flag militants had killed this Kurdish man [in the past], but they published the video just now to terrorize people," Jamal Salah, mayor of the Zinana sub-district in Garmiyan, told Rudaw.

A brother of the deceased told Rudaw that they had "knocked on many doors," but their efforts to rescue Assad from the clutches of the group were futile.

"After Assad was abducted, we did not hear anything from him," Hussein Ali, the brother of the beheaded, recalled to Rudaw.

"This is another Eid where our happiness is mixed with sorrow," the distraught brother said.

Karwan Hama Tal, the friend who had been kidnapped alongside Assad recounted the day they were abducted.

"They popped up all of a sudden. They forced us to face down. Then, they tied our hands behind our backs. After a short while, they released me," he said. "Although I begged them to let Assad go as well, they did not listen," the shepherd recalled.

ISIS first swept into Iraq in 2014, capturing cities across northern and central Iraq including Mosul, Iraq's second largest city and the capital of Nineveh province. At the height of its power, ISIS controlled a contiguous area equivalent in size to the United Kingdom. During their occupation of Iraq and Syria, ISIS subjected as many ten million people to an extreme and violent interpretation of Islam.

Although Baghdad declared the territorial defeat of the group in Iraq in December 2017, its remnants have since reverted to insurgency tactics; ambushing security forces, kidnapping and executing suspected informants, and extorting money from vulnerable rural populations.

Sirwan Barzani, Peshmerga commander of the Makhmour-Gwer front told Rudaw last week that the Kurdish Peshmerga's top priority is to return to areas disputed between Baghdad and Erbil. He said he was optimistic that ongoing talks with the Iraqi army will bear fruit to fill the security void in the disputed territories that have turned into a breeding ground for ISIS militants.

According to Peshmerga's monitoring of ISIS, the terrorist group has continued to be very active in 2018 and 2019, especially in Kurdish-poulated areas outside the KRG administration, including Diyala, Hamrin, Kirkuk, Tuz Khurmatu, and Qarachogh, Jabar Yawar, secretary general of the Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs told Rudaw in April.

https://www.rudaw.net/english/kurdistan/30072020
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