War Crimes, Death and Destruction in Mosul ~ [+LIVE UPDATES]

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It’s been months since the Mosul operation began, and – unlike in the coverage of the liberation of Aleppo – Western media have lauded it. But RT journalists have been on the ground in Mosul and discovered more to the story: civilian deaths and damage caused by the U.S.-led coalition’s airstrikes.


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Rushing into crossfire:
Mosul civilians flee amidst coalition airstrikes & Daesh

“It was hell for us, and when the Iraqi army came we celebrated. Our district was completely destroyed. Suicide bombers, rockets, jets bombed us all the time. Civilians are still buried under wreckage”, an elderly woman said.

“Very often the jets would miss. Seven entire families near us were killed this way. Perhaps their weapons were faulty, as they regularly went off-target”, a young female refugee in burka said.

“There are so many people hurt by airstrikes. Four children were wounded yesterday. While they were playing in the garden”, a male refugee told Gazdiev, saying that “army artillery bombed us nonstop“…[…read more…]………..


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Syrian War Report – March 17, 2017: ISIS Defenses Collapsing Across Syria

https://southfront.org/syrian-war-report-march-17-2017-isis-defenses-collapsing-across-syria/

March 17, 2017

Voiceover by Harold Hoover

In the province of Aleppo, the Syrian army’s Tiger Forces liberated the villages of Tal Ahmar, Asimiyah, Qarin, Hazazah, Tal Ayyub, Um Zulaylah and Rasm al-Harmel. Government troops also attacked ISIS units at Ahmadiyah and Zubaydah.

Government forces took control of the Al-Mazar Mountaion, the nearby military depots, the Palmyra gas field. Government troops destroyed an ISIS vehicle at the al-Talila crossroad and some 4 ISIS members at the town of Arak.

Over 150 Russian sappers arrived the Syrian city of Palmyra to take part in a mine clearance effort, the Russian Defense Ministry announced. The sappers will use cutting-edge equipment and protective gear, Ruslan Alakhverdiyev, Deputy Chief of the Russian Armed Forces’ Engineering Troops said at the Russia-24 TV channel.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) mostly consisting of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) captured the Hamad Assaf and al-Kulayb villages, the al-Kulayb Grain Silos and entered entered Judayat Khabur east of the ISIS-held city of Raqqah.

The Free Syrian Army’s Martyr Ahmad al-Abdo Forces have launched an offensive against the ISIS terrorist group in the eastern part of the Qalamoun Mountains in the Rif Dimashq province. Pro-militant sources claim that the Martyr Ahmad al-Abdo Forces seized multiple sites from ISIS. Clashes are ongoing.

Iraqi forces secured the Badush area west of Mosul after a series of clashes with ISIS terrorists in the area and recaptured a large chunk of Mosul’s Old City and three of five Mosul bridges. Up to 20 ISIS members were killed in the recent clashes in the area. According to the Iraqi military, Iraqi forces have achieved control over 60 percent of western Mosul since operations to recapture that area launched in February.

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Iraq Wants More Russian Weapons for Its War with IS

Iraq Wants More Russian Weapons for Its War with IS

PETER KORZUN | 25.02.2017 | WORLD

Iraq Wants More Russian Weapons for Its War with IS

Russia is considering Iraq’s request for arms supplies. The statement was made by a Russian official during the IDEX-2017 arms exhibition in Aby Dhabi. Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) Deputy Director Alexei Frolkin said that Russian-Iraqi military technical cooperation “is developing quite effectively.” According to him, Russia is rendering significant military assistance to Iraq, which is fighting Islamic State (IS) militants.

On January 30, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow did not rule out the possibility of assistance to Iraq in the fight against the IS terrorist group if Baghdad shows such an interest. The statements on arms supplies come amid the ongoingoperation to liberate the Iraqi city of Mosul, which began in October, 2016. Iraqi troops have managed to advance in the eastern part of the city, but the western part – on the right bank of the Tigris River – remains under militants’ control.

Russiaand Iraq have a history of successful military cooperation. In October 2012, Iraq signed a $4.2 billion deal to include a combination of 43 Mi-35 (28) and Mi-28NE (15) attack helicopters, plus 42-50 Pantsir-S1 combined short to medium range surface-to-air missile and anti-aircraft artillery weapons systems. The contract was fulfilled last October as the attack helicopters and anti-aircraft systems had been delivered to the Iraqi military.

The Iraqi armed forces inventory also includes Russia-produced TOS1ABuratino heavy flame throwers, Grad truck-mounted 122mm multiple rocket launchers, 152mm MSTA howitzers, Su-25 attack planes and armored vehicles.

According to Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Russia-made weapons are widely used in the battle for Mosul.TOS-1A heavy flamethrower system is a 220mm 24-barrel multiple rocket launcher and thermobaric weapon mounted on a T-72 tank chassis. It is designed for defeating enemy personnel in fortifications, in open country, and in lightly armored vehicles and transport. In addition to traditional incendiary rockets, it can also fire thermobaric rockets. When fired, the rockets disperse a cloud of flammable liquid into the air around the target, and then ignite it. The explosion is significantly longer and the shockwave is much stronger than a conventional warhead. All the oxygen in the near vicinity is also consumed, creating a partial vacuum. It is a formidable weapon to strike terrorists hidden in bunkers and caves, like in Mosul, for instance. A full salvo of the system’s 24 rockets will make a rectangle 200 meters by 400 meters to incinerate more than eight city blocks.

The Wall Street Journal reported in December that a Russian Kornet anti-tank guided missile destroyed 120 IS truck bombs in Iraq. Reportedly, it obliterated a US-made Abrams tank. The Kornet can defeat reactivearmorand penetratesteel armorup to one meter deep.

Iraqi Mi28 and Mi-35 effectively launch attacks against IS positions in Mosul.

The military cooperation with Iraq – the country engaged in fierce fight against the IS – is part of a larger process.

Moscowis the key player in the Astana process aimed at achieving peace in Syria. It is expanding its naval base in Tartus as well as a new air base near Latakia, giving it a large, permanent military foothold to project power.

Turkey, a NATO member, is in talks with Russia regarding the purchase of advanced S-400long-range air defense missile systems. The parties are studying the prospects for boosting military cooperation in all areas, including procurement deals in electronic systems, ammunitions and missile technology. The related issues were discussed during the visit of General Hulusi Akar, the head of the Turkish armed forces’ General Staff, to Moscow last November.Moscowand Ankara are engaged in implementation of the ambitious Turkish Stream gas project.Turkeyhas even mentioned the possibility of joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Political forces in Libya have approached Russia for help. In January Eastern Libyan military commander Khalifa Haftar visited Russia aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov on patrol in the Mediterranean.

The Russian-Egyptian relationship has flourished recently, including intensive military cooperation.

Moscowenjoys close ties with Tehran, cooperating in Syria. Iran has recently boosted its anti-aircraft capabilities after receiving Russian S-300 air defense systems.

Russiaand Jordan cooperate in the anti-terrorist effort.

Russiaand Israel set a good example of avoiding conflicts and incidents: both countries do not interfere with each other’s activities in Syria.

Algeriais strengthening ties with Moscow. It has recently purchased 14 Su-30MKA fighters and 40 Mi-28 attack helicopters. Other contracts may follow as the country is facing a terrorist threat to make it strengthen its borders.

Moroccoand Tunisia are interested in strengthening its military capabilities with Russian weapons.

The military cooperation encompasses the Persian Gulf. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu and Qatar’s State Minister for Defense Khalid bin Mohammad Al Attiyah signed a military cooperation agreement last September on the sidelines of the Army-2016 international military-technical forum in Kubinka near Moscow.

The success of the military operation, as well as Moscow’s staunch support of the ally in Damascus, boosts its clout in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Moscow has become an important partner for regional powers regardless of their opposing interests.

Russia is back to the region as a major actor. It has turned the tide of the Syrian conflict to take control of the peace process. It has built a close relationship with Turkey, including joint military activities in Al Bab. It develops strategic relationship with Egypt, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Algeria and other countries, including Israel. According to Newsweek, over the past two years, Russian President Vladimir Putin has received the leaders of Middle Eastern states 25 times – five more than former US President Barack Obama, according to a Newsweek analysis of presidential meetings.

Russian military effort in MENA is gaining ground. High effectiveness of Russian weapons in the Syrian boosts the customer demand and, consequently, political clout. The military operation in Syria has greatly raised its regional profile. It prevented Islamic extremists from turning the country into a part of “caliphate” to encourage their supporters and sympathizers across the Muslim world.

Moscow is perceived as a pragmatic, savvy, no-nonsense player able to weigh in on regional matters by both diplomatic and military means. New alliances emerge and old friendships are revived to involve the countries long regarded as being within the Western sphere of influence. The political landscape of the region is going through fundamental changes, with Russia greatly influencing the process.

Iraqi War Report – February 23, 2017: ISIS Combat Drones In Battle For Mosul

 

Iraqi War Report – February 23, 2017: ISIS Combat Drones In Battle For Mosul

Iraqi military for the first time officially admitted their losses from bombing, carried out by small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), used by ISIS. The casualties were suffered during incidents in eastern and southern Mosul on February 21. As the Daily Sabah newspaper reported, citing Brigadier General Abdul-Mahdi al-Ameri, an ISIS UAV “fired a missile” and killed two secondary school students in the district of Karaj Al-Shamal. Separately, three Iraqi servicemen were killed by a grenade, dropped from a quadrocopter in Furqan district, while two other soldiers lost their lives in the historical part of the city (the eastern part of Nineveh), and two others – in Al-Nour district.

In total, according only to the Iraqi government’s reports, 9 people were killed in attacks by UAVs. At the same time, ISIS claims that at least 30 Iraqi servicemen were killed as the result of dropping of various bombs from UAVs.

ISIS has been massively using various UAVs for the reconnaissance and correcting of artillery fire since 2014. However, since the end of 2015, the group has started to use its UAVs for aerial attacks. The compact Mosul battlespace allows to ingore problems with a lack of range of the used commercial UAVs. The fact that the city is separated by the Tigris also increases the role of UAVs in reconnaissance and ammunition supplies. ISIS members launch UAVs from roofs of civilian buildings which allow, in general, avoiding artillery and aerial strikes from US-led coalition and Iraqi forces.  Warplanes are ineffective against small UAVs and Iraqi forces deployed to Mosul don’t have means of electronic warfare to ping and mute ISIS UAVs. While this problem is not solved, ISIS UAVs will pose a threat to Iraqi and US-led coalition military personnel on the ground and to play an important role on the Mosul battlespace.

ISIS is actively promoting its UAV attacks in own media outlets, de-facto encouraging the terrorist group’s supporters to use UAVs for terrorist attacks in Europe and across the world.

 

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Iraq Dialogue …. The start of politics حوار العراق… بداية السياسة

 

Iraq Dialogue …. The start of politics

يناير 24, 2017

Written by Nasser Kandil,

When a conference held in Iraq under the name of the dialogue, and in which the President of the Republic participated to grant it the protocol legitimacy, and when the Prime Minister, and the Speaker of the parliament participated in a speech without  compliments, and in which the political and the sectarian components involved to express publically their concerns and obsessions, and when the representatives of the Kurdistan region attend talking frankly about the self-determination and the secession, then this means that it is a public dialogue not a media manifestation that celebrates the victory of Mosul which is about to enter the crucial stage, and when you are invited to participate in this dialogue to attend, to witness, to ask , and to communicate then you have to witness that the Iraqis have surprised you that they started politics in its deep meaning, in  a way that surpasses the narrow limits of managing the authoritarian interests and the competition on sharing them. So the necessary expression must be first for the sponsor of the Dialogue the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament and the Head of the Iraqi Institute for the dialogue of thought; Sheikh Dr. Humam Hamoudi who has succeeded away from circulating his name as one of the figures of the politics-making in reserving a seat among the professional policy-makers.

In politics, it is clear that each of the main participants have recorded through his participation his interest by leaving his imprint in the success of the project of the internal settlement which is in circulation, through the attempt of reconciling between democracy that depends on voting and produces according to the Iraqi demography fears of the dominance of Shiites on the political and procedural decision, and a consonance that does not disable the mechanism of the country , confines it and abolishes the democracy, but those important players did not forget scoring points in the major conflict that is about to launch, its title is the Iraq’s Parliament 2018 which will be an image of new balances, but it will draw the new image of Iraq.

Politics and scoring points are present; it is clear from the words of Al-Abadi his announcement of the transition from the position of the Prime Minister in a way that is closer to proxy, to become a player who aspires to stay in the arena with the same position, a project of a future Prime Minister with a political speech, its basis is the success in liberating the Iraqi provinces which are under the control of ISIS and restoring them to the Iraqi sovereignty, in addition to his sponsorship of helping the army to get up from the setback of Mosul, targeting the political sect with a symbolism that targets whom he considers them rooted competitors  in the political game, at their forefront the former Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, thus the supporters of Al-Maliki responded by saying; that the popular crowd which took upon itself the accomplishment and which was the most prominent party and has protected Baghdad and has paved the way for the reformation of the army has moved on before the new government, where Al Maliki was at the forefront of its sponsors. The problem with Al Abadi was that he has returned the Americans whom were brought out of Iraq by Al Maliki, while Mr. Ammar Al Hakim the Head of the National Alliance for which Al Maliki will belong, and which took over the responsibility of nominating Al Abadi clarified that the seven points which presented by Al Abadi are the alliance project, and that the crowd has been formed by the fatwa of reference and the alliance’s decision. During the dialogue and the communication the Speaker of the Parliament Salim Al Jabouri as the most powerful representative of Sunni participated by saying that the formation of the Iraqi scene within the multiple regions alone ensures the settlement. The Kurds at the spokesman of Barham Saleh announced their sticking to the right of determining the till the secession.

This wide area of the political engagement seems closer to the entry into the serious politics instead of being a division project. The sharp political conflict is waged this time carefully in order not to fall into the traps that make the victory on ISIS a political paper inside the Shiite house, since the popular crowd is a common investment that its assets cannot be distributed, or make this victory a gateway for the exit of the Sunni leaderships from the position of the defeated. The experience has taught all, now they are professing what they have learnt. The emergence of ISIS has showed the Sunnis that the strike of politics do not leave them immune from the dangers of who targets Iraq, even when it makes the title of its war sectarian. The Sunnis have spent high cost for the expansion of ISIS in provinces most of them are from them. Their leaders know how to deal with the disputes under the roof of the quest for consensus, not linking it with the regional variables that strengthen the positions of the countries which present themselves as sponsor for them as Turkey and Saudi Arabia. It became clear their inability to adjust the balances in their favor in the light of the war of Syria, as it is clear that they adapt themselves through their special considerations with the other regional involved in Iraq, not through the Iraqis’ considerations. The Shiite leaders disclose that they learnt the meaning of depriving ISIS from the incubating background, the importance not to neglect what is going on in the Sunni arena, and to be sufficient with the legitimacy of having control over the power according to the simple equations of democracy. Both of Mr. Ammar Al-Hakim and Al Sheikh Humam Hamoudi ensure in explaining the philosophy of the historical settlement which searches in the equation of the balance the need to comply with the need of democracy, while the Kurdish speech about the self-determination does not disturb anyone, so Adel Abdul Mahdi Barham Saleh replied that the Kurds do not want the secession and its circumstances are not mature yet, but when the opposite happens no one will wait our approval. The attendance of the Kurds in Baghdad’s Dialogue is a sign that neither they want nor the circumstances have got mature. Therefore the recalling is a political negotiation and everyone is ready and willing of that negotiation.

The determination and the openness are available, they are main conditions but not sufficient. The difficult equation between the consensus and the democracy is known by the Lebanese people that it is not just a desire. The Iraqis bet on the Saudi understanding and responding to the settlement requirements as they did in Lebanon, but they do not have yet enough signals, while Iran has a high representation through the Chairman of the Commission of the Foreign Affairs in Al Shura Council Alaeddin Broujerdi to say that it blesses, and the Chairman of the Commission of the Foreign Affairs in the Egyptian and the Jordanian Parliaments attend to say that we are awaiting, but this is not enough.

The big question which is faced by the Iraqi Dialogue is how Iraq is not a playground, since through its size, wealth, and its geographical position cannot be outside the attention, so in order not to be a playground it must be a player, and this means to have a clear position in the regional geography, not to be afraid of identifying the compass of its security between a concept that sees Israel as a source of danger, and a concept which sees the danger from Iran, and not to be afraid also from the engagement in forming a security economical bilateral with Syria that is imposed by the challenges, risks, interests, and roles, because without the first part is an internal confusion and variations, and without the second part is a red US line. So will the Iraqis wage the risks through these two issues? Or will the American and the Saudi precede them to cope with the settlements, and thus the complexities will be easy? Or will ISIS precede all and target Saudi Arabia?

Translated by Lina Shehadeh,

 

حوار العراق… بداية السياسة

يناير 16, 2017

ناصر قنديل

– عندما ينعقد في العراق مؤتمر تحت عنوان الحوار ويشترك فيه إلى رئيس الجمهورية لمنحه الشرعية البروتوكولية رئيسا الحكومة والمجلس النيابي للخوض في خطاب بلا مجاملات وتشارك المكوّنات السياسية والطائفية للبوح بصوت عالٍ بمكنوناتها وهواجسها، ويحضر ممثلو إقليم كردستان متحدّثين بصراحة عن حق تقرير المصير والانفصال، فهذا يعني أنه حوار في الهواء الطلق وليس تظاهرة إعلامية تحشد للاحتفال بنصر الموصل الذي يوشك على دخول المرحلة الحاسمة، وعندما تُقيّض لك المشاركة في هذا الحوار حاضراً وشاهداً وسائلاً ومحاوراً، فعليك أن تشهد أن العراقيين فاجأوك بأنهم بدأوا بالسياسة، بمعناها العميق بما يتخطّى ضيق أفق إدارة المصالح السلطوية والتنافس على تقاسمها. والشهادة الواجبة أولاً لراعي الحوار نائب رئيس مجلس النواب ورئيس المعهد العراقي لحوار الفكر الشيخ الدكتور همام حمودي، الذي نجح من خارج التداول باسمه كواحد من شخصيات الصف الصانع للسياسة في ما مضى بحجز مقعد متقدّم بين الصنّاع المحترفين.

– في السياسة، الواضح أن كلاً من المشاركين الرئيسيين سجل بمشاركته اهتمامه وعنايته بترك بصمة في إنجاح مشروع التسوية الداخلية المطروحة في التداول، بمحاولة للتوفيق بين ديمقراطية تعتمد التصويت وتنتج وفقاً للديمغرافيا العراقية مخاوف طغيان الشيعة على القرار السياسي والإجرائي، وبالمقابل توافقية لا تشل آلة الدولة وتكبّلها، وتلغي الديمقراطية، لكن لم يغب عن هؤلاء اللاعبين الكبار تسجيل النقاط في صراع كبير يوشك على الانطلاق عنوانه برلمان العراق 2018 الذي سيكون صورة لتوازنات جديدة، ولكنه سيرسم صورة العراق الجديدة.

– السياسة وتسجيل النقاط حاضران، فالواضح من بين سطور كلمة العبادي إعلانه الانتقال من رئيس حكومة الضرورة بطريقة أقرب للوكالة، ليصير لاعباً طامحاً للبقاء في الملعب وبالمنصب ذاته، مشروع رئيس حكومة مقبل بخطاب سياسي قوامه، النجاح في تحرير المحافظات العراقية التي استعادها من يد داعش للسيادة العراقية، ورعايته لقيامة الجيش من نكسة الموصل، وتصويبه على الطائفية السياسية برمزية تستهدف من يراهم منافسين متجذّرين في اللعبة السياسية، وفي مقدمتهم الرئيس السابق للحكومة نور المالكي، ليردّ مناصرون للمالكي بالقول، الحشد الشعبي الذي تولى الإنجاز أبرز من حمى بغداد، وأفسح المجال لإعادة بناء الجيش انطلق قبل الحكومة الجديدة والمالكي كان في مقدمة رعاته. والمشكلة مع العبادي أنه أعاد الأميركيين الذين أخرجهم المالكي من العراق، بينما يوضح السيد عمار الحكيم كرئيس للتحالف الوطني الذي ينتمي إليه المالكي والذي تولى تسمية العبادي، أن النقاط السبع التي عرضها العبادي هي مشروع التحالف، وأن الحشد تشكل بفتوى المرجعية وقرار التحالفز ويدخل على خط الحوار والتجاذب رئيس مجلس النواب سليم الجبوري كممثل أقوى في الساحة السنية ليقول إن تشكيل المشهد العراقي ضمن الأقاليم المتعددة، وحده يضمن التسوية، ويعلن الأكراد بلسان برهم صالح تمسكهم بحق تقرير المصير حتى الانفصال.

– هذه المساحة الواسعة من الاشتباك السياسي تبدو أقرب لتمرين الدخول في السياسة الجدية، بدلاً من أن تبدو مشروع انقسام، فالصراع السياسي الحاد يُخاض هذه المرة بعناية عالية لعدم الوقوع في فخاخ تجعل النصر على داعش ورقة سياسية داخل البيت الشيعي باعتبار الحشد الشعبي استثماراً مشتركاً لا يمكن توزيع أرصدته، أو تجعل هذا النصر مدخلاً لخروج القيادات السنية في موقع المهزوم. فالتجربة علمت الجميع وها هم يجاهرون بما تعلّموه، أن ظهور داعش قال للسنة بأن الإضراب عن السياسة لا يتركهم بمنأى عن مخاطر مَن يستهدف العراق، حتى عندما يجعل عنوانه حرباً مذهبياً، فقد دفع السنة ثمناً غالياً لتمدّد داعش في محافظات أغلبها منهم، وتعلم قادتهم معالجة الخلافات تحت سقف السعي للتوافق، وعدم ربطه بمتغيرات إقليمية تعزز مواقع الدول التي تقدم نفسها كراعٍ لهم، مثل تركيا والسعودية، بات واضحاً عجزها عن تعديل الموازين لصالحها في ضوء حرب سورية، كما هو واضح أنها تتأقلم بحساباتها الخاصة مع المعنيين الإقليميين الآخرين في العراق، وليس بحسابات العراقيين. كما يفصح قادة الشيعة أنهم تعلموا معنى حرمان داعش من البيئة الحاضنة، وأهمية عدم إدارة الظهر لما يجري في الساحة السنية، والاكتفاء بشرعية إمساك السلطة وفقاً لمعادلات الديمقراطية البسيطة، كما يؤكد كل من السيد عمار الحكيم والشيخ همام حمودي في شرح فلسفة التسوية التاريخية، الباحثة عن معادلة توازن الحاجة للتوافق مع الحاجة للديمقراطية، بينما لا يقلق أحداً الكلام الكردي عن حق تقرير مصير، فيجيب عادل عبد المهدي برهم صالح في منصة الحوار ذاته، الكرد لا يريدون الانفصال وظروفه ليست ناضجة، وعندما يحدث العكس لن ينتظر أحد موافقتنا، ومجيء الأكراد لحوار بغداد علامة على أن لا هم يريدون ولا الظروف نضجت، وأن التذكير هو تفاوض سياسي، والجميع جاهز وراغب بهذا التفاوض.

– تتوافر العزيمة وتحضر المصارحة. وهما شرطان أساسيان لكنهما غير كافيين، فالمعادلة الصعبة بين التوافق والديمقراطية يعرف اللبنانيون أنها ليست رغبة فقط، ويراهن العراقيون على تفهّم سعودي وتجاوب مع متطلبات التسوية، كما فعلوا في لبنان، لكن ليست لديهم بعد إشارات كافية بينما تحضر إيران بمستوى تمثيل عالٍ عبر رئيس لجنة الأمن والخارجية في مجلس الشورى علاء الدين بروجردي لتقول إنها تبارك، ويحضر رئيسا لجنة الشؤون الخارجية في البرلمانيين المصري والأردني ليقولا إننا ننتظر، لكن لا يكفي أهل العريس والمدعوين ليكتمل العرس، بينما العروس وأهلها غائبون.

– السؤال الكبير الذي يواجهه الحوار العراقي هو: كيف لا يكون العراق ملعباً، وهو بحجمه وثرواته وموقعه الجغرافي لا يمكن أن يكون خارج الاهتمام، فكي لا يكون ملعباً يجب أن يصير لاعباً. وهذا يعني أن يملك موقعاً واضحاً في الجغرافيا الإقليمية، لا يخشى تحديد بوصلة لأمنه وسط تجاذب بين مفهوم يرى «إسرائيل» مصدر الخطر وآخر يرى الخطر من إيران، ولا يخشى الانخراط في تشكيل ثنائية أمنية واقتصادية مع سورية تفرضها التحديات والمخاطر والمصالح والأدوار، ودون الأولى ارتباك داخلي وتباينات، ودون الثانية خط أحمر أميركي، فهل يقدم العراقيون على خوض المخاطر فيهما؟ أم يسبقهم الأميركي والسعودي بالتأقلم على خط التسويات فتهون التعقيدات؟ أم يسبق داعش الجميع ويضرب ضربته في السعودية؟

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Syrian-Iraqi War Report – January 18, 2017: War Against ISIS

18.01.2017

Clashes continued in the city of Deir Ezzor where government forces were repelling ISIS attacks on the Deir Ezzor Airport and nearby areas. Cemetry, Al Fourat University, Al-Maqabis Production and Jiraiya were the main areas of the confrontation. ISIS also attempted to capture the al-Assad Hospital but failed to do this.

Pro-ISIS sources report that over 50 government troops were killed and about 10 units of military equipment destroyed on January 16 and January 17. Pro-government outlets claim that about 70 ISIS members have been killed since January 16.

Over 100 Syrian soldiers trained by Russian military advisors near Damascus were deployed in the Tyas Airbase in the province of Homs, according to pro-government sources. The deployment of fresh troops was aimed to improve the Syrian army’s combat capabilities and to contribute to offensive efforts in the area.

Two Syrian generals – Rafat Ibrahim Nasif and Bilal Bilal – and at least six troops were killed in a militant bombing attack in the town of Harasta near Damascus on January 18, according to the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. A number of government fighters were also reported to be in a critical condition.

Following previous gains in the Wadi Barada area northwest of Damascus, the Syrian army and its allies entered the militant-held town of Ayn al-Fijah and seized over a half of it. Jabhat Fatah al-Sham, Ahrar al-Sham and other militant groups operating in Ayn al-Fijah, Dayr Miqrin and Kafr Az Zayt are in a very bad military situation because government forces control strategic heights north of these villages. Experts believe that soon Ayn al-Fijah and nearby areas will fall into the hands of the Syrian army.

Iraqi security forces (ISF) have cleared from ISIS militants the Mosul Park and the areas of Al-Muhandisin, Nurqal, Taqafah and the Ancient Nineveh, de-facto setting up control over the whole eastern part of Mosul. ISF units have also gained control over 5 Mosul bridges from the eastern side of the city.

As soon as eastern Mosul is secure, ISF will start preparation to retake the rest of the city. Iraqi forces will need to reach Mosul from the southern and western directions before launching this advance.

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