By Peter Clifford © (www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-iraq-news-5/)
SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS
The first explosion this morning, Monday, was at the Turkish town of Suruc not far from the border with Kobane and home to a refugee camp for Kobane’s refugees.
Young Volunteers Enjoying Breakfast Shortly Before the Bomb Blast
The blast appears to have been a suicide bomb at the Kurdish Cultural Centre where young members of the Socialist Youth Association were meeting to plan the building of a library and a park in Kobane.
The bomb went off while a press release was being made about the young volunteers going to Kobane to give their time to aid the reconstruction of the city.
The were photographed sitting at tables under the trees happily enjoying breakfast together shortly before the bomb went off.
Turkish officials initially said 27 young people were killed and more than 100 injured, though the death toll has now risen to 31. The injured have been transferred to Urfa and hospitals in other surrounding towns.
The numbers of dead would have been even higher if some buses bringing more volunteers to the press conference had not been delayed.
The bomber is reported by one media outlet as an 18 year old woman, but this has not been confirmed. Another says there is an injured young woman in hospital wearing a suicide vest – again not confirmed.
The finger once again points at the Islamic State and their mindless, meaningless atrocities.
Shortly after the explosion on the Turkish side of the border, another occurred in Kobane itself on the Syrian side.
At first it was thought to be a car bomb, but it seems to have been an unstable old mortar stored in a warehouse. No casualties were reported, though all the windows in the immediate area were broken and people in the vicinity were showered with broken glass, suffering minor injuries. However, Kurdish security services and the YPG remain on high alert.
Elsewhere in Kobane province and beyond, fighting continues. At the end of last week, the Islamic State (IS) launched another series of concurrent attacks in the south of Kobane Canton, hitting the villages of Qilhayde, Sina, Argane, Nurali and Arabic Sepata with mortars and heavy weaponry.
The combined YPG/FSA force dealt with this and responded without losing territory. On the east side of the Canton, IS attacked the village of Faatfe, but the YPG effectively drove them off, killing 5 x Is Jihadists and seizing 2 thermal scopes.
Further east a raid was also carried out by IS on Nastal, a village 24 kilometres west of Mabroukah, not far from Serekaniye. 3 x IS Jihadists tried to infiltrate the village from the Turkish border, which is less than three quarters of a kilometre away.
One of the IS fighters was killed, one fled back across the border and the third, believed to be wounded, was the subject of a search operation.
On Friday night, more fighting broke out a Qilhayde, with more IS Jihadists killed and AK-47s, a machine gun, hand grenades, ammunition and equipment and an IS vehicle all captured.
Also near Ain Issa, the YPG targeted the IS-held village of Shergirat and 2 other nearby locations, ultimately freeing them and securing the area.
Another group of 3 x IS fighters penetrated the town of Suluk and using a previously hidden store of weapons attempted a suicide attack, but were eliminated and their weapons seized.
YPG Fighters Near Hasakah
Over in Hasakah, having captured the Youth Detention Centre in the middle of last week, the YPG advanced to the village of Tal’a leaving 4 dead Jihadists on the battlefield.
A second force of YPG moved at the same time from the neighbourhood of Azizya round to southern Hasakah, securing the village of Fallah on the way.
Later the same day 2 villages in the Vilate Sor district were captured from IS and the end result was that over a 48 hour period 30 x IS Jihadists were killed and an IS tank, a Humvee armoured vehicle and 4 other vehicles, plus large quantities of ammunition and weapons were seized.
Over the weekend another YPG force advancing from the Abdul Aziz Mountain area, linked up with the 2 groups from south and east Hasakah, effectively cutting off all the Islamic State’s rural supply routes into the Hasakah districts of Nashwa, Khweran and Panorama.
The YPG have also penetrated the Nashwa area clashing with IS at the village of Um Hijra.
In order to try and break the encirclement of their fighters by the YPG within Hasakah, the Jihadists have attempted attacks from Hawl to the east of the city and Malabiyeah to the south, but so far without success.
Reports yesterday suggest that 5 x IS Jihadists, including a commander, were trapped in a house by the YPG in the Nashwa district and after several hours were forced to surrender.
Pressure is being kept up on IS with the use of heavy weaponry supported by Coalition airstrikes and constant sniper fire. There are unconfirmed reports that IS are trying dig themselves out in some places by creating tunnels.
On the road to the Regiment 121 base violent clashes were reported between IS and the YPG and at Tel Baroud village, 13 kilometres south of Hasakah, the YPG were able to stop an IS convoy bringing supplies to their fighters. Other reports say that IS are still getting ammunition into Nashwa and Zuhour by using motorbikes.
Assad’s military have retreated into the centre of Hasakah and are saying that they have “allowed” the YPG to capture areas to the south of the city which they formerly controlled …. (EDITOR: Did they have much choice?)
This video footage shows the Senadid Army, provided by the Governor of Cizire Canton, fighting, with the YPG near Hasakah, (English Sub-titles. Mostly handsome young men, ladies, with very distinctive long black hair!), HERE:
Map of the current situation in Hasakah courtesy of @Karybdamoid, showing IS (grey) completely surrounded by the YPG (yellow) with Assad’s forces (red brown) in the centre of the city, here:
IS Trapped and Surrounded by YPG in Hasakah
Moving more to the south, the YPG has captured the town of Al-Hishah, just 40 kilometres north of Raqqah.
The Kurds have said that they want the FSA and other Opposition groups to lead the fight to take Raqqah and that they will provide support, but no clear plan is as yet obvious. After recent IS attacks in Europe and North Africa, expect heavy Coalition support.
Perhaps in anticipation of this, reports that the Islamic State is moving its foreign officials in Raqqah to the northern and eastern outskirts of Aleppo are not surprising. Local IS officials are now being left in charge of Raqqah apparently.
Just to make sure they get the message, Coalition planes have dropped a leaflet on Raqqa, Sarrin and Shaddada over the weekend which depicts YPG, YPJ (female) and FSA fighters walking down a street in a rather dark comic format with dead IS fighters strewn on the streets on either side.
The message underneath is “Freedom Will Prevail”. (EDITOR: Let’s hope so!)
Leaflet Dropped Over IS Towns and Cities by Coalition
Back in Kobane city, trucks loaded with tons of food (including fresh vegetables) for the population, arrived from Cizire Canton on Sunday but a sour note was raised after Burkan Al –Firat, the combined FSA/YPG force known as “Euphrates Volcano”, which has been extremely effective against IS, fired 2 FSA battalions and told them to leave the city.
The 2 FSA military groups, Zaza and Jund Al-Heremin, were ordered to leave after accusations of theft, unethical behaviour and lack of commitment.
MORE NEWS FOLLOW SHORTLY ……