By Peter Clifford © (www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-news-3/)
SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS
IRAQ: In renewed fighting around Ramadi in Anbar province this morning, Friday, the Islamic State Jihadists (IS) and their allies are reported to have taken control of the Brigade 8 headquarters west of the city.
Additionally, 11 Iraqi police officers have been killed and 24 injured as the insurgents try to strengthen their grip on Anbar province, which borders Syria, and on the provincial capital of Ramadi in particular.
IS Capture Field Artillery Guns
US-Made Truck Seized At Base Near Ramadi
In seizing Brigade 8, IS have once again taken over vast military stores, including operational vehicles and field artillery guns.
Many pictures have also emerged on the Internet of a destroyed Iraqi Army convoy, including US-made M-1 Abrams tanks and M113 armoured personnel carriers.
The Iraqi Government has also admitted that its troops are surrounded within the Baiji oil refinery west of Mosul, but disputes news reports that its force only contains 75 commandos.
According to the Iraqi Government it still has “1,500 special forces inside the refinery” which they are reinforcing with air dropped supplies. This does not explain how therefore they are unable to defeat a Islamic State force said to be of just 500 surrounding the installation.
The troops are “responsible for protecting the refinery only” and there has been no “concerted effort to clear the area”, said a government spokesman lamely.
Video from both the towns of Baiji and Tikrit, both under IS control, suggests, apart from insurgents firing rifles in the air, that all is much as normal, HERE: and HERE:
There were also reports yesterday that the Islamic State has also gained 40 kilos of nuclear material which was held in a research facility within Mosul university. The material is un-enriched, so could not be used for a nuclear weapon, but could be used for a “dirty bomb” spreading dangerous material over a wide area.
IS Destroy Iraqi Army Convoy
IS Destroy Iraqi Army Tanks
North-east of Baghdad near Mukdadiya in Dijala province, 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the capital, the Islamic State are said to have breached the perimeter of yet another military base, though exact details remain sketchy.
Local tribal chiefs were said to be trying to “negotiate a truce”.
In Baghdad itself early this morning, Friday, heavy gunfire from an unknown source was heard coming from near the Umm Al-Qura Mosque.
Jeremy Bowen has an interesting audio report from a major mortuary in Baghdad, where the military and civilians compete for body space in the freezers, while the temperature outside hovers near 50 degrees C. From the BBC.
South of Mosul, the Iraqi military has hit back with an airstrike on the Qayyarah refinery. Across Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State are said, according to unconfirmed reports, to be selling 100 tanker loads of oil a day, bringing them a net daily revenue of $1 million.
The Kurds in northern Iraq, in a long running dispute over an agreed share of oil revenue with the Iraqi Government, have also been accused of taking over oil facilities at Kirkuk and Bai Hassan. The combined output of the 2 fields is 400,000 barrels a day.
Things came to a head between the Kurds and the Government on Wednesday when Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri Al-Maliki accused them of “harbouring Islamic State” fighters in their capital Irbil. The Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani called Al-Maliki “hysterical” and suggested he stood down. Kurdish MPs have also been recalled from the Parliament in Baghdad.
The Kurds are dealing with a huge influx of Iraqi refugees fleeing from assault by the Islamic State. In Sinjar 58,000 have arrived so far, flooding the town after Tal Afar fell to the insurgents and overwhelming its meagre resources, particularly sewage, electricity and food. You can read more HERE:
According to the France 24 website, the “Caliphate Passport” story reported on Wednesday was false and the picture of the actual passport design photoshopped in 2012 or 2013.
A representative of ISIS has reportedly said they have no intention of producing passports but instead want to create a caliphate stretching across 7 existing countries (EDITOR: Allah/God help us all! My thanks to @shaan for pointing this error out.)
DEATHS IN SYRIA EXCEED 171,000, ALMOST 38% PRO-ASSAD FIGHTERS, 27% OPPOSITION FIGHTERS AND 33% CIVILIANS:
In Syria, recorded deaths have now reached 171,509. Of this total 56,495 (32.9%) were civilians, including 9,092 children.
65,803 (38.4%) of the dead were regime troops and pro-Assad militia, including 39,036 regular troops, 24,655 members of pro-regime militias, 509 fighters from Hezbollah, and 1,603 other non-Syrians fighting on Assad’s side.
A Boy Dives into a Bomb Crater in Aleppo
On the Opposition side 46,301 (27%) fighters are recorded killed, including 15,442 non-Syrians who have entered Syria to join Jihadist or local Islamist groups.
2,910 victims remain to date unidentified. All information from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as of 6th July.
But the real figures may be much higher.
Another 20,000 people held by the Assad regime remain completely unaccounted for, as well as 7,000 regime troops held by Opposition fighters.
Another 3,500 people are thought to be held by the Islamic State.
The UN has also reported that so far 8,300 separated and unaccompanied children from Syria have now been registered outside of the country.
Also according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights (different from SOHR above), despite much regime publicity at the time, only 694 people out of the 215,000 estimated to be in Assad’s prisons were released after the “presidential election”, far short of the numbers promised under an “amnesty”.
OPPOSITION ATTACK ASSAD DEFENCE MINISTER’S HOME VILLAGE AND IN JIHADIST RIVALRY, RUMOURS OF AL NUSRA FRONT ALSO “DECLARING AN ISLAMIC STATE”:
Across Syria, despite it being the holy month of Ramadan, barrel-bombs still fall and fighting and killing continue.
In Aleppo, Opposition fighters are seen shelling suspected Assad regime troops hiding in the ruins of an apartment block, HERE:
And north of the city an Islamic Front brigade is seen firing at Jihadist Islamic State positions with heavy caliber weapons, HERE:
North-east of Damascus at Mesraba in Eastern Ghouta Opposition fighters are reported to have killed 50 Islamic State followers in heavy fighting, HERE: and HERE:
And after forcing the Jihadists out of the area, the Opposition managed to dismantle 2 prepared car bombs as well,HERE:
In the Damascus suburbs of Saqba and Kafr-Batna this morning regime jets unloaded their deadly cargo, HERE:
Car Bomb Goes Off at Rahjan, Defence Minister’s Village
In Hama province reports say the Opposition fighters blew up one of the Government’s largest checkpoints at Rahjan in the north of the region with a car bomb, capturing part of the village and apparently killing as many as 18+ troops and militia.
The village is the family home of Assad’s Defence Minister, General Fahd Jassem al-Freij.
Footage has also been released of the Opposition blowing up the Dahman checkpoint in Idlib province reported earlier (scroll down – see below), HERE:
An interesting rumour on the Internet that the Al-Nusra Front (ANF) chief in Syria, Al-Jolnai is going to declare an “Islamic State” as well, but no details yet.
One of the brigades in Aleppo has apparently pledged allegiance to ANF, which remains, unlike the Islamic State”, firmly allied with the worldwide AL-Qaeda network.
Based on flash-drives captured in Mosul before it fell, the structure of the Islamic State and how it is run is known and analysed, HERE:
And in the Telegraph as well.
And from Asia comes a report that Tehreek-e-Khilafat, a terrorist group normally associated with the Taliban on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border, has sworn allegiance to the new “Caliph” and wants to fly the Islamic State flag,HERE:
Depressingly, much of Syria’s ancient heritage is being destroyed by all sides in the conflict, especially as the country has thousands of sites. An excellent report from Diana Darke via the BBC with lots of photographs.
The BBC is also reporting that 2 x 16 year old girls of Somali origin, but living in Manchester in the UK, have disappeared and are now thought to be with Jihadists in Syria.
Assad’s Barrel-Bombs Continue to Kill the Innocent