Iraqi and Kurdish forces have made significant gains against Islamic State militants over the weekend, aided by coalition airstrikes. Kurds managed to take the Iraqi town of Zumar, while also repelling IS attacks on the strategic Syrian town of Kobani.
Islamic State militants in northern Iraq have modern portable air defense systems that are capable of shooting down a passenger plane, Germany’s Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported citing the country’s foreign intelligence agency.
Caught between ISIS-besieged Kobani and unwelcome in Turkey, an unarmed Kurdish brigade guards the Turkey-Syria border. The volunteers’ problems are not only with Islamic State militants – Turkish troops are also resolved to keep the brigade away.
Over the past month the Islamic State's siege of Kobani (aka Ayn al-Arab) has been dominating the world news coverage, revealing Turkey's fraught relationship with its own Kurdish minority and with Kurds and Kurdish organizations across the wider region.
Oil sales, ransoms and extortions help ISIS “generate tens of millions of dollars” monthly, the US Treasury estimates, promising to undermine the group’s finances and to impose sanctions on anyone attempting to do business with the extremists.
Reporters are now being warned by the Federal Bureau of Investigation that extremists affiliated with the so-called Islamic State have been “tasked with kidnapping journalists,” according to the Washington Post.
United States and coalition airstrikes in Syria over the last month have killed more than 500 jihadists, of both Islamic State and Al-Qaeda affiliated groups, and 32 civilians, according to a human rights monitor.
Not only is Syria’s future at stake as the civil war rages on, but now also its past. The black market flourishing in the conflict now sees relics - some as ancient as 1,200 years - traded by rebels for AK-47s.
The IS is using weapons the US and Sunni coalition countries “inadvertently” provided it with while supporting the Arab Spring. The militants, in particular, pried arms from Syrian rebels Max Abrahms, professor at Northeastern University told RT.
The Pentagon has admitted that a chunk of its cache of weapons meant for Kurdish forces battling Islamic State militants in Kobani has fallen into terrorist hands. The Turkish president has been voicing his frustration with Washington over this.
Authorities suspect three teenage girls from suburban Denver, who stole money from their parents and flew to Germany over the weekend, were attempting to reach Syria to join Islamic State, the extremist group now being targeted by US-led airstrikes.