Page 1 of 1

Militias not under Iraqi state control pose great threat

PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2019 9:21 am
Author: Anthea
Israel allegedly supplying Syrian
Kurds with anti-aircraft missiles

The United States and Israel are allegedly supplying the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) with anti-aircraft missiles, the Turkish publication Yeni Safak claimed over the weekend

Citing local sources, Yeni Safak alleged that the U.S. is set to deliver a shipment of Stinger Man Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) to the Syrian Democratic Forces.

The publication claimed the ‘PKK’ (Turkish gov’t reference to Syrian Kurdish groups) had designated the towns of Rmelan, Al-Jalabiyah, Al-Umar, and Shaddadeh as launching zones for the missiles.

This is not the first time that this claim has been made; in fact, it was first in late April by Syrian opposition media.

However, there has been no proof to corroborate these claims and if Washington really did supply these weapons to the SDF, it would cause a major rift between them and Turkey.

Turkey and the U.S. are already at odds over Washington’s ongoing support for the Syrian Democratic Forces and Ankara’s decision to buy Russia’s S-400 system.

Neither the United States nor Israel have commented on these latest allegations. ... ish-media/

Re: Israel supplying Syrian Kurds with anti-aircraft missili

PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2019 6:56 pm
Author: Anthea
Russia, Syrian army step up
attacks on rebel-held northwest

Russian and Syrian forces intensified air strikes and shelling in rebel-held northwestern Syria overnight, the heaviest assault since the area was declared a demilitarised zone under a Russian-Turkish deal, residents and medics said on Thursday

The targeted villages and towns in northern Hama and southern Idlib fall within a buffer zone agreed last September between Russia and Turkey as part of a deal which averted a major offensive on the area.

Schools, health facilities and residential areas have been hit, United Nations regional humanitarian coordinator Panos Moumtzis told Reuters on Thursday. “The barrel bombing is the worst we have seen for at least 15 months.”

He added that 300,000 people live in the buffer zone where there are hostilities.

Earlier this week, the United States warned violence in the buffer zone “will result in the destabilisation of the region”.

Since Tuesday, attacks have forced thousands of civilians to flee to camps further north along the Turkish border and damaged four medical facilities, according to Idlib civil defense officials and a U.S. medical aid agency working in the area.

“Medical facilities are being evacuated, leaving the most vulnerable with no access to medical care. We are on the edge of a humanitarian catastrophe,” Khaula Sawah, vice president of the U.S.-based Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations said in a statement on Wednesday.

Syrian army helicopters have dropped barrel bombs, which are drums or cylinders packed with explosives and shrapnel that cause indiscriminate destruction, killing at least 15 civilians and injured dozens, rescuers in Idlib province said.

Opposition-run civil defense agencies say hundreds of people, mostly civilians, have been killed by Russian and Syrian strikes since the September deal, which prevented a potentially devastating offensive on Idlib and nearby areas held by insurgents and now home to over 3 million people.

Syrian state media, quoting army sources, blamed rebels for the assaults and said it had targeted “terrorist groups” in towns in northern Hama including Kfr Nabouda.It also said al Qaeda-inspired groups have stepped up drone attacks on Russia’s main air base near the Syrian Mediterranean coast, but that these have been unsuccessful.

The military escalation is expected to be a focus of talks in Geneva on Friday between envoys from seven countries including U.S. Ambassador James Jeffrey and U.N. Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen.

Idlib is the last major area of Syria still in rebel hands after a string of government offensives backed by Russian air power since 2015 turned the tables in a protracted civil war.

President Bashar al-Assad has regained control over most of the country, with the northeast held by Kurdish groups backed by the United States.

Idlib is held by an array of rebel groups. The most powerful is Tahrir al-Sham, an amalgam of Islamist groups dominated by the former Nusra Front - an al Qaeda affiliate until 2016.

Turkey, which has supported the rebels and has troops to monitor the truce, has been negotiating with Moscow to halt the strikes with little success.

The main Turkish-backed rebel grouping said they were rushing extra fighters to the main fronts to face all “possibilities”.

In response to the escalation, rebels said they mounted several rocket attacks on army positions including the Breideej army base in northern Hama, injuring and killing at least four Russian soldiers in a mortar attack that hit their vehicle.

“We have stepped up our readiness and sent troop reinforcements to confront any attack (by) the regime and the Russians on any area,” said Naji al-Mustafa, spokesman for the National Liberation Front coalition of rebel groups.

“We cannot leave matters like this... We are preparing for any possibility...,” he added. ... SKCN1S80KG

Re: Army step up attacks on rebel-held northwestern Syria

PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2019 12:06 am
Author: Anthea
Militias not under Iraqi state
control pose great threat

Armed actors not under state control are one of the greatest threats to Iraq in the post-ISIS phase, argued a top US Department of State official on Thursday

"To ensure durable stability, we must support Iraqi-led efforts to bring undisciplined armed actors that are not under the control of the state under full state control," said Denise Natali, the assistant secretary for the Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Efforts.

She was speaking at an event at the Washington, D.C.-based think-tank Hudson Institute on Post-ISIS Stabilization and Reconstruction in Syria and Iraq.

Militias through the conflict with the Islamic State (ISIS) had strong links to Iran-backed groups and their loyalty to Baghdad has been a question for successive prime ministers — Haider al-Abadi and now Adil Abdul-Mahdi.

"These armed actors are one of the most serious obstacles to successful stabilization in certain areas," she added.

These groups are "expanding their influence in liberated areas."

"They obstruct assistance, they stoke sectarian tensions prevent IDP returns, destabilize local politics, and exacerbate the conflict economy," Natali said, "which in turn may fuel ISIS resurgence."

A particular hotbed for ISIS rebuilding is the disputed area of Makhmour located between Mosul and Hawija.

"These armed actors must be reined in," Natali said.

To improve services, the international community should extend assistance to Abdul-Mahdi, Natali added.

The EU and NATO missions in Iraq "compliment" US efforts; however, more is needed at the local and provincial levels.

Local officials have told Rudaw English that they feel not enough of what is being thrown at Baghdad reaches provinces such as Saladin which lie in post-ISIS ruins.

"Despite the returns of approximately 70 percent of the people displaced by ISIS, more than 1.74 million Iraqis remain displaced," Natali said.

She described training partnered Peshmerga as "critical" to success, explaining the United States has trained and 190,000 members of the Iraqi Security Forces.

The Kurdistan Region continues to host 1.5 million displaced Iraqi and Syrian refugees.

"Many of the displaced are perceived to be affiliated with ISIS and are not able or willing to return to their homes," Natali added.