Syria: U.S. backed Militias hit by Russian Strike

Syria is a battleground with corpses, blood and ruins for the eyes, as far as they can see.  For years we have seen horrifying images from the civil war, sprouted as an uprising and turned into a full-scale conflict. A Russian strike wounded members of the US backed militias in Syria on Saturday from Russian jets. Six of its fighters were wounded in the strike, The Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Khurdish and Arab militia fighting with the U.S. led coalition said.

Russia bombed a position east of the Euphrates river where it knew SDF fighters and coalition advisers were stationed- said The Pentagon. However, the jets did not injure any coalition forces.

The SDF accused Damascus of trying to obstruct the fighters, and that “such attacks waste energies that should be used against terrorism… and open the door to side conflicts”, it said. The attacks by Russia backed Syrian army and U.S. supported SDF have at times raised fears of clashes, which may result into greater tension between the world powers. 

Russian military request to strike an area in the province of Deir Ezzor, as they were coalition advisers and US backed Syrian forces there. Bu the Russians decided to carry out the strike anyway.

Ahmed Abu Khawla, the commander of the SDF’s Deir al-Zor military council, said Russian or Syrian fighter jets flew in from government territory before dawn on Saturday. 

The warplanes struck as the SDF waged “heated and bloody battles” in the industrial zone on the eastern bank, seizing factories from Islamic State militants, he said. 

Both the U.S. led coalition and Russia are battling in ISIS in Syria, but they are on two very different sides of the civil war. The United States and its allies support some anti-government rebel groups in their fight to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. And Russia backs his regime.

Sources: Reuters, CNN

18-year-old arrested in connection to London Tube blast

An 18-year-old man has been arrested by the London Police during their ongoing  investigation in the London Tube ‘bucket blast’ at Parsons Green station early on Friday morning.The arrest was made early on Saturday, September 16, by the Kent police in the port area of Dover, under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act.

As reported by News 18, in a statement made by the police to the press, Metropolitan Police Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said, “Although we are pleased with the progress made, this investigation continues and the threat level remains at critical,”

The Islamic State, better known as ISIS, has claimed responsibility of the attack, which left dozens injured, leaving the people of London in shock and anger. However, Met Police Commissioner Mark Rowley dismissed it saying it was “very routine” of ISIS to claim attacks whether they were responsible for it or not.

This is the fifth terrorist attack since March in Britain, the London and Manchester attacks claimed the lives of 35 people. Prime Minister Theresa May announced on Friday that the level of threat is “critical” and that another attack could be imminent, as she advised the public to be vigilant, in addition to keeping security tight, as military troops would support the police in guarding key areas for public safety.

Sources: News18, Mirror

U.S forces conducts airstrike, kill 11 Taliban insurgents

In the airstrike carried by US troops, at least eleven insurgents of Taliban have been killed in eastern Nangarhar province of Afghanistan.

According the reports from the office of the provincial government media, the airstrike was carried out in the territory of Bati Kot district in which weapons belonging to the Taliban insurgents were also destroyed.  As reported by Khama press, the official statement quoted, “The militants were hanging out in the area when they were targeted, leaving eleven of them dead and one more wounded.” Taliban has not commented on the deaths so far.

Earlier on tuesday, airstrikes conducted by the U.S. forces in Afghanistan’s eastern Nangarhar, in Haska Mina District, targeted the militants operating under the command of ISIS leader Tariq Afridi, killed at least fourteen militants affiliated with the ISIS-K.

Afghanistan is carrying out an Anti-ISIS as well as anti- Taliban operation with the prime objective of eradicating presence of ISIS affiliates in Nangarhar province and the U.S. forces are providing airstrikes support to the Afghan forces to achieve the targeted. After 9/11 attacks, it had been the principle objective of U.S policy ensure that the country does not become a haven  for radical anti-Western jihadi  terrorist groups.

 

Sources: ANI, Business Standard

Barcelona terror attack: a dreadful day for Spain

Spain is mourning over the death of 13 people, who were killed in a terror attack that took place in Barcelona on Thursday, August 17. More than 100 people were severely injured in this attack.

Though ISIS has taken responsibility for this terror attack, the authorities still have to confirm it.

The fatal event began in the evening when a van rushed through the crowd on the Las Ramblas avenue, a popular tourist spot of Barcelona. The driver escaped the scene, but a police manhunt for him continues, reported the Guardian.

Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called this attack an act of jihadi terrorism.

Later, a second attack took place in a coastal town Cambrils which is around 120 km from Barcelona. In this six bystanders and one police officer were injured.

Post this attack, police officers shot dead five suspects, some of whom were wearing what appeared to be explosive belts. Authorities have claimed that both the attacks are linked. Police have taken two suspects into custody, although neither of them is the driver.

These attacks are also being linked to an earlier explosion that destroyed a house in Alcanar, killing one person and wounding at least one more

Sources – CNN, The Guardian 

Australian police find plans for elaborate IED in Sydney

Australian officials have arrested four men who were allegedly conspiring to bomb an airplane. The arrests took place in Sydney after raids were conducted on Saturday. Australian police forces raided five properties across Sydney after a home-made bomb was found on a terrace in the eastern suburb of Surry Hills. The police issued a statement regarding the intentions of the attackers, saying that the plot was inspired by Islamic radicalism.

While Australia has seen several attacks and foiled plots that were inspired by the Islamic State, this attempt deviated from the usual lone-wolf tactics that have characterised previous attacks. The group arrested on Saturday comprised of two middle-aged men and their adult sons, who were working on devising an elaborate Improvised Explosive Device(IED) with the aim of taking down a plane.

“The primary threat to Australia still remains lone actors, but the events overnight remind us that there is still the ability for people to have sophisticated plots and sophisticated attacks still remain a real threat,” said Justice Minister Michael Keenan. The operations have caused the implementation of revised boarding procedures at Australian airports. The measures include extra screening time and additional checks of both hand and checked baggage.

Sources: Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Federal Police

What made her Malala Yousafzai

Eight years ago, an eleven year old girl started writing blogs for BBC Urdu, describing her life in the Swat valley which happened to be occupied by the Taliban. This girl, Malala Yousafzai then grew up to be the youngest Nobel Prize Laureate, which she won for fighting for female education. Growing up with parents who ran schools in Swat Valley, Pakistan,

As a child she became an advocate for child’s rights and women’s rights and this put her in the radar of the Taliban which had been issuing notices for schools to be shut down, especially for girls. The Taliban issued a death threat against her because of her activism.  Along with being under the radar of the Taliban, Yousafzai also came to the notices of scores of NGOs globally, which helped her fight for her cause. With the help of the NGOs and the UN, Malala brought eh the plight of women;s and children’s education in Pakistan to light.

On October 9, 2012, A gunman shot Malala in the head. She survived and used the incident to push her cause further. She then went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013, making her the youngest Nobel Prize Laureate. In her speech at the United Nations, she said that she is just one of the people who were hurt by the terrorists and this incident gave her even more courage to fight for education.

On July 12, 2015, Malala Yousafzai turned 18 this is an important event of her life. Wanting to celebrate her birthday in a special way which was also Malala Day, she opened a school in Lebanon, for Syrian refugee girls. According to biography.com, she said during the inauguration, “Today on my first day as an adult, on behalf of the world’s children, I demand of leaders we must invest in books instead of bullets”.

Later, in October of the same year, a documentary on Malala’s life, named, “He Named me Malala” was released. The documentary was directed by Davis Guggenheim and it shows the life of Malala and her immediate family along with the work she does and her travel.

Two years later, Turning twenty, Malala spent her birthday in Mosul, Iraq, by way of her ‘Girl Power Trip’ , an initiative by Yousafzai where she travels around the world to educate people  and create awareness on the importance of education.

In Mosul, Malala spoke to girls whose education has come to a pause because of the activities of the ISIS. According to a report by Mic, Yousafzai met an Iraqi girl who who has not gone to school for three years because her father was captured by the ISIS. The girl, Nayir, told Malala, “No matter what, nothing will keep me from finishing my studies.” According to the report on the same website, Yousafzai said, “For me, the most important thing is talking to other people, learning from them and speaking out for what you believe in”.

In April 2017, Yousafzai was named the U.N. Messenger of Peace to promote girls education. Yousafzai has also been made into an honorary Canadian citizen.

News Source: Mic articles 

Image Source: Parade

 

Mosul Pays the Price for Freedom

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi triumphantly declared the successful liberation of the city of Mosul from the ISIS’s brutal regime on the 10th of July. The announcement marked the end of ‘The Battle of Mosul,’ and came almost exactly three years after the ISIS assumed control of the city in June 2014.

The fight to retake the city began nine months ago, on October 17, 2016, with the deployment of an Iraqi-led coalition of troops estimated to have a strength of over 1,08,500 soldiers. The battle comprised of two separate offensives for the Eastern and Western halves of the city, which are separated by the Tigris river. The Eastern half of Mosul was liberated on 24 January, after the coalition captured the Rashidiyah district.

The offensive for western Mosul began in February, as Iraqi forces gradually moved westward, into the Old City districts of Mosul. Large parts of the fighting took place in urban areas, especially in the Western half of the city, which is significantly more crowded than the Eastern half. By the month of May, ISIS militants occupied less than five square miles of territory, which housed tens of thousands of civilians. The narrow streets, dense population and compact planning of these neighbourhoods posed considerable problems to Iraqi forces, and civilian-casualty rates escalated during this phase of the battle. This was most evident in an incident that occurred on 25 May, when a coalition airstrike unintentionally killed close to 100 civilians, after it set off explosives planted by ISIS.

The Western half was liberated on 10 July, and peace was restored to Mosul, but the struggle to recover any semblance of normalcy has just begun. The fighting took its toll on the city, as entire buildings were razed to the ground and thousands of civilians were killed or injured during military operations. ISIS destroyed several famous buildings and structures of Mosul, like the al-Nuri and Hamou al-Qadu mosques and the shrine of Imam Awn al-Din.

The Battle of Mosul has given cause for Iraq and America to reconsider their methods of warfare. Amnesty International released a report shortly after the announcement by Haider al-Abadi which alleged that coalition forces did not do everything they could to limit civilian casualties. Close to 6000 civilian deaths are estimated to have been caused by the offensive for western Mosul, and the use of explosives in crowded urban areas has been condemned by the report. The citizens of Mosul face a long and arduous road to recovery, but with ISIS on the run and Shia-Sunni tensions at a low, perhaps this is Iraq’s chance to achieve stability in the nation.