By Peter Clifford © (www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-iraq-news-5/)
SYRIA – IRAQ – NEWS
In their sweep through the south of Kobane Canton to the Tishreen Dam, the Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) have removed the Islamic State (IS) from another 640 square kilometres of territory and liberated a further 100 villages and hamlets.
219 x IS Jihadists are reported killed in the operation, with 9 dead from the SDF side, including 2 from the Asayish (Kurdish security police).
The SDF have also freed a number of villages on the west bank of the Euphrates in order to protect their fighters looking after the dam.
According to an SDF statement, the civilian workers at the dam were arrested by IS but later released, though one of them was killed as IS withdrew.
The management of the dam and its hydro-electricity facilities has now been given to the Board of Energy in Kobane Canton.
Some very happy villagers on the west bank of the Euphrates, released from IS control, can be seen in this video footage, (English sub-titles) here:
The YPJ Kurdish women’s force have also been fully involved in the latest SDF operation, (English sub-titles) here:
ARA News has a video report on the Tishreen Dam operation, (English sub-titles) here:
One mystery from the capture of the Tishreen Dam is the identity of a tearful little girl found on her own in the vicinity of the river crossing. She was wearing a bloody dress and with no clue to the whereabouts of her parents, the SDF sent her to Amal Hospital in Kobane.
Discharged after a day she is now in the care of a family in Kobane until her identity can be confirmed.
The little girl has not spoken a word since she was found on December 26th, not even her name.
With the capture of the town of Tishreen as well, the SDF recovered a lot of ammunition and weapons, most of it, according to the box labelling, originating in Saudi Arabia.
Local reports say that the Islamic State is reinforcing Manbij in Aleppo province with heavy weapons, though its civilian members are being evacuated along with those from Al Bab, to Raqqah.
At least 300 civilians were transported from Manbij on Monday, along with some prisoners, some of whom were executed.
Turkey’s response to the presence of Kurdish YPG members of the SDF on the west bank of the Euphrates remains muted, despite it supposedly being a Turkish “red line”.
Speaking in Serbia, after the Tishreen Dam was recaptured, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said that Turkey “would not look positively on Syrian forces hostile to Ankara moving to the west of the Euphrates,” but added (delusionally) that “available information indicated that it was Arab forces, and not Kurds, who had crossed the Euphrates over the weekend”.
As the Kurds make up 20,000 of the 25,000 joint Arab, Kurdish, Turkman and Syriac Christian force of the SDF, Davutoglu is clearly in lula land, though other commentators suggest that Turkey, under pressure from Russia and the US, may just have to accept the inevitable – a Kurdish presence all along its southern border. You can read more at Business Insider.
This does not stop acts of Turkish spite, for which it has developed an unenviable reputation. Kurds on the east bank of the Euphrates in Kobane Canton have expressed concern at the vast amounts of uncontrolled water Turkey is allowing to flow down the Euphrates at present.
And near Qamishli in Hasakah province, the Turkish Army has even crossed the border into Rojava, digging a trench under the border fence and taking tens of metres of territory. Asked by Kurdish villagers what they were doing, the Turkish military said they were “regulating the border line”, (English sub-titles), HERE:
A Turkish journalist, jailed by President Erdogan, writes on press control in Turkey, in the Guardian:
The entrance into Aleppo province by the SDF has not stopped IS from attacking Kurdish targets. Yesterday, Wednesday, an IS unit attacked Asayish headquarters in Tel Abyad and detonated explosives inside the building. Several members of the Kurdish security police were killed.
In the clashes that followed 3 x IS Jihadists were killed and 2 captured, the rest of the group escaping towards Raqqah. Another member of the Asayish later died from his injuries.
2 x IS suicide bombers also attacked the Christian sector of Qamishli under Assad regime control late on Wednesday night.
The bombers blew themselves up near 2 restaurants, killing 17 and wounding 30.
In the north-west of Aleppo province in the Kurds Afrin Canton, the Al-Nusra Front (ANF), along with their Islamist allies, Ahrar al-Sham, fired dozens of mortar shells indiscriminately into Afrin city on Monday.
The mortars hit the city centre and residential areas causing a lot of damage and casualties, victims being pulled from the rubble of destroyed buildings. The YPG has vowed to retaliate.
Over in Iraq, 3,000 homes are said to have been destroyed in Ramadi and IS rigged almost all public buildings with explosive devices before leaving.
True to the Islamic State’s grisly and inhuman reputation, IS also took 40 members of 25 families as hostages as they left the city, but later executed them, including women and children.
A large mass grave has been discovered in north-west Nineveh province near Aski village. It is believed to contain the remains of 120 Iraqi security personnel and some civilians, killed when IS swept into Mosul and northern Iraq.
In Mosul on Tuesday, IS is reported to have burned to death 20 media activists on charges of leaking information to “hostile parties”. The executions were carried out in a public square infront of dozens of people, including some of the victim’s family members, in the Al-Houd district of the city.
And yesterday, a well known member of the Jabour tribe in Mosul, was beheaded in public on charges of “treason” after he attempted to help several Yazidi girls escape from IS custody. The girls were unfortunately apprehended and returned to IS headquarters in the city.
(EDITOR: The sooner these monsters are stopped, the better!)