Archive for the ‘Redactie’ Category
KOBANE UPDATE 8: AS KURDS RESIST FIERCE ONSLAUGHT, ASSAD REGIME CLAIMS IT HAS SUPPLIED HELP & ARMS TO THE CITY
By Peter Clifford @ (www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-iraq-news-4/)
SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS
Since Monday, the Islamic State (IS), having brought in reinforcements, seem to be throwing everything at the Kurdish defenders in Kobane, but so far have made no further progress.
On Monday evening IS sent 2 suicide car bombs to try and cut Kobane off from the Turkish border but both were destroyed by the YPG Kurdish militia before reaching their target, exploding with spectacular effects into the night-falling sky. IS have sent 13 truck or car bombs into Kobane in the last week.
Kobane Explosion 20.10.14 (1)
Attacks on Kobane are coming from the east, the west, the south and south-east, with the Kurds claiming that they killed 42 Islamic State fighters on Monday alone, with the loss of 11 of their own.
The YPG also carried out a raid in the Gire Izea area, destroying 2 x IS minibuses, 2 of their motorcycles and killing another 16 Jihadists.
Though it had been relatively calm during the day, a fierce onslaught continued Tuesday evening until after midnight with fighting around the “secuity zone” in the centre of the city, Tarik al- Bab and Al-Hurreyyi Square and an attack from 6 directions in the east.
Kurdish sources claim that as many as 25 IS Jihadists were killed throughout yesterday.
Islamic State’s artillery continues to rain shells on Kobane from a distance, one explosion releasing a chemical agent of some kind that resulted in 8 people being hospitalised with swollen lips, blood-shot eyes, coughs, runny noses, itching, red skin patches and blistering.
Whether this was a deliberate chemical attack or an interaction with some local chemical on the ground is unclear. This video shows a fire and then an explosion at what may be a Kurdish ammunition depot, HERE:
After Turkey has apparently given clearance for Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga to cross its territory to reinforce the defenders in Kobane, the city’s fighters are waiting for them to arrive. The Kurdistan Regional Parliament in Erbil, Iraq, voted positively on this on Wednesday afternoon and troops will be sent “as soon as possible”, said an MP.
Other Kurds have called for the Peshmerga to go to the aid of the Yezidi forces surrounded on top of Mount Sinjar instead (scroll down – see below).
Bizarely, clearly not to be left off the media bandwagon, the Assad regime is also claiming that it has supplied weapons and help to the Kurds in Kobane. Assad’s Information Minister, Omran Al-Zoubi, said yesterday in the press that “The state with its military forces and planes has been providing military and logistical support, and has supplied ammunition and arms to the town”.
Kobane Explosion 20.10.14 (2)
“From the outset of the battle, the state has not hesitated to play its military, political, social and humanitarian role” because the town is “Syrian territory and its residents are Syrians”, said Al-Zoubi, parroting usual Syrian state gobblegook and completely ignoring the fact that Assad has killed tens of thousands of its civilian citizens with barrel-bombs and shells.
In a further “not-very-believable” statement, in relation to the reports of Islamic State flying former Assad MIG jets, Al-Zoubi claimed on Syria state TV late on Tuesday night that the Syrian Air Force “bombed the jets as they were landing at Jarrah airbase in the eastern countryside of Aleppo province”.
Saying that the aircraft were “old and no longer useful as military equipment”, Al-Zoubi went on to claim that the “Jihadists had been able to hide the third jet but the Syria Air Force was looking for it”.
Opposition sources have not been able to confirm any of this.
Al-Zoubi also attacked Turkey for “using the report” to push for a no-fly zone over Syria, which would hamper Assad’s murderous air attacks across the country.
US Central Command (Centcom) says that it made 4 airstrikes of its own against the Islamic State in or near Kobane on Monday and Tuesday, destroying IS fighting positions, an IS building, and a large IS unit.
Of the 28 pallets of supplies and weapons dropped to the Kobane Kurds on Sunday, Centcom had earlier said that 27 had arrived on target and one that went astray “had been destroyed”.
Unfortunately, this rather convincing video put out my the Islamic State contradicts that, showing the parachute and dropped supplies of hand-grenades, mortars and other explosives which fell neatly into their hands,HERE:
Though as someone on Twitter pointed out, why the fuss over one bundle of supplies? They already possess millions of dollars worth of US equipment captured from the Government in Iraq!
Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said this morning, Wednesday, that the airdrop “had been wrong” because some weapons had fallen into Jihadist hands.
BBC Map of Kobane 20.10.14
The UK has announced that it will deploy unarmed Reaper drones and Rivet Joint surveillance aircraft over Syria “very shortly”. Until now, the UK Parliament has only given the British Government permission to act militarily against the Islamic State in Iraq and a further vote will be required to allow UK forces to attack in Syria.
It is also reported that Paul Cantlie, the 80 year father of John Cantlie, the hostage-held journalist who has now appeared in 5 Islamic State videos, died on the 16th October and the family have desperately been trying to get a message to John before it appeared in the media. However, despite repeated calls for contact, the Islamic State have not responded.
In Canada the security levels have been raised to “high” on Tuesday after an Islamic State “sympathiser” ran his car into 2 soldiers, killing one of them. Police shot the attacker dead after he ran at a female officer with a knife.
This decision to raise security levels was justified this afternoon (09.52 Canadian local time), Wednesday, when a soldier guarding the national war memorial in Ottawa was shot dead and the gunman (or gunmen) moved inside the Canadian parliament building. There has also been shooting in a shopping mall. One gunman is believed to have been killed and at the time of writing the incident is ongoing with large parts of the centre of Ottawa locked-down by security services. At this stage it is not known if this attack is related to the previous one or even terrorist/Jihadist related.
And in Australia a 17-year old teenager who ran away from home some months ago, has reappeared on video in support of the Islamic State and calling himself “Abu Khaled”. Carrying a rifle he threatens Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and vows to “not stop fighting”.
IRAQ: SINJAR UPDATE: REMAINING YEZIDI COMMUNITY ON MOUNT SINJAR COMPLETELY SURROUNDED AND IN DANGER OF ANIHILATION:
On Mount Sinjar (Shingal) in Iraq the plight of the Yezidi fighters defending the Serfedin shrine in the centre of the mountain plateau is becoming increasingly desperate.
Yesterday, Heydar Shesho, the commander of the HPS Yezidi fighters said they had lost the villages of Bara, Shlo, Sikeniye, Mihrkan, Duhola and Borik and that 30 Yezidi had died in the last 2 days with many wounded and 6 missing.
Increasingly desperate pleas for help are coming from the Yezidi community this morning, Wednesday, with reports that the Islamic State are working from west to east across the mountain and have reached Kursi which lies just west of the Serfedin shrine.
IS fighters are also moving from the east and reports say that the entire Yezidi community left on the mountain top, both civilians and fighters, are completely surrounded with no way out and no way to combat IS’s heavy weapons and armoured vehicles.
According to some reports there could be as many as 7,000 people, including many women and children, in danger of a massacre. So far, at the time of writing, no Coalition airstrikes have come to their aid. The Yeszidi fighters say that if Serfedin falls, they “will go down with it”.
Below the mountain in west Shingal an IS suicide bomber had earlier killed 10 and wounded many more Kurdish fighters at Solakh.
Yezidi Community Surrounded by IS on Mount Sinjar
Elsewhere in Iraq, US Central Command reports that there were 3 Coalition airstrikes on Monday and Tuesday, one destroying an IS fighting position south of the Baiji Oil Refinery and another accomplishing the same south-east of Mosul Dam. The third strike suppressed an IS attack north of Fallujah.
Today, Wednesday, Coalition airstrikes hit the IS-held town of Al-Siniya, west of Baiji, in the early hours, killing it is reported 25 Jihadists.
400 Islamic State fighters and their allies are reported to have massed around Fallujah yesterday and the Iraqi Army and Shia militias fought them off around Amiriya Fallujah, the western gateway to Baghdad, today, destroying 6 x IS vehicles.
However, the Iraqi militia suffered heavy losses at Alsger north-east of Fallujah in another battle, HERE:
Heavy fighting is also reported around the town of Hit in western Anbar province, but the outcome is at the moment unclear.
For the most bizarre video of the week, this one of a lion in a pick-up “detained by the Army” near Samarra gets the award, here:
SYRIA: OPPOSITION DESTROY 2 ASSAD JETS ON THE GROUND AND CLOSE IN ON JORDAN BORDER CROSSING – EU TO BAN JET FUEL TO SYRIA:
Taking advantage of the world’s attention on Coalition strikes against the Islamic State and the battles around Kobane, Sinjar and in Iraq, it was estimated on Tuesday that the Assad regime had made 210 airstrikes, mainly against the Syrian Opposition, in 36 hours. The death toll throughout Syria on Tuesday alone was thought to be at least 214.
Analysts think that Assad is trying to weaken Opposition fighting brigades before they receive the promised military training and equipment from the USA.
Regime bombing was particularly intense around the town of Naseeb in Daraa province where Opposition fighters have advanced almost to the border crossing into Jordan. 15 air raids there yesterday killed 22 people, almost all of them civilians and including 13 children and 3 women.
Opposition fighters have seized a regime tank, a BMP armoured vehicle, rocket-propelled grenades and other weapons and ammunition near Naseeb, HERE:and smoke can be seen rising from within the Syrian border control area at the frontier, HERE:
In Quneitra province the Opposition have claimed yet more “Assad territory” entering Samadaniyah Al-Gharbi north-east of Quneitra city.
And just to the north-east of Samadaniyah Al-Gharbi, the Opposition took Hamidiyah after a long battle and a claimed 39 Assad troops dead. An Opposition brigade commander and 4 other of their fighters were also killed in the clashes.
In the East Ghouta area near Damascus Opposition fighters took control of the Al-Khalil mosque not far from Adra, HERE:
The Free Syrian Army (FSA) also claims to have killed 20 Hezbollah and Shia mercenaries at Talfita in the mountainous Qalamoun region.
In Aleppo province the Opposition destroyed 2 Syrian Air force jets on the ground at Nayrab military airbase south of Aleppo city with a TOW anti-tank missile, a direct hit on one and the second engulfed in flames from the ensuing fire (though they appear to be L-39 Albatross training jets and not MIGs as claimed elsewhere on the Internet), here:
In Hama province, the Assad regime started today, Wednesday, with 10 airstrikes using both jets and helicopters on Mork city, 10 barrel-bombs striking the city. However, on the outskirts the Opposition destroyed a Government tank, HERE:
In eastern rural Hama province a young woman has been apparently stoned to death by the Islamic State for the alleged crime of “adultery”, putting video of it on the Internet. The poor woman’s “father” appears complicity in this dreadful act and took part in the stoning.
In Deir Ez-Zour city the Islamic State are also reported to have taken over large parts of the industrial area from Assad’s troops yesterday and violent fighting is reported in the Al-Sena’ah district.
President Assad is reported today to have replaced all the Provincial Governors in 5 regions, Idlib and Aleppo, Quneitra, Tartous and Latakia. No mention was made of the Homs Governor whose resignation was widely called for by Government supporters after 41 children died in a bomb attack.
Lastly, the EU yesterday imposed travel and asset control sanctions on 12 of Assad’s Government ministers and 2 of his senior military officers. Similar controls were also applied to 3 oil companies based in the UAE, Egypt and Lebanon, all suspected of trading oil with the Assad regime.
The EU also agreed on Monday to ban the export of jet fuel to Syria on the grounds that it is being used to attack civilians. That decision will not come into place though until suitable legal texts have been drafted.
Opposition Fighters “Hiding” in Damascus
By Ramona Wadi
Talk of “full rights” and “international legitimacy” by Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat was once again prominent within its usual inconsistency. Speaking at a meeting with various diplomatic representatives, including EU representative John Gatt-Rutter, Erekat insisted upon Palestine’s right to participate fully in international institutions, including recourse to the International Criminal Court (ICC). The insistence, however, was based upon acquiescence to imperialist narratives of what Palestine is expected to comply with – notably adherence to the two-state conspiracy.
Ma’an reported that Erekat said “occupied Palestine” is entitled to “full right to join international organisations, institutions, statues, conventions and protocols, especially the ICC.” The “two-state solution”, according to Erekat, is being intentionally destroyed by Israel through its constant annihilation of Palestinians. Following a regurgitation of the usual list of Israeli violations of Palestinian rights, Erekat included a positive reference with regard to the meaningless symbolism of Palestinian recognition generated recently by Sweden and the UK.
Conveniently omitted from Erekat’s narrative are the consequences of international legitimacy with regards to Palestine. The recent diplomatic discourse confirms the PA’s constant and wilful collaboration in maintaining the conditions exacerbating Palestine’s existence – a trend with various historical precedents that created an acceleration of Zionist settler-colonialism and the disintegration of Palestinian resistance.
Divested of the inherent imperialist plunder and exploitation, international legitimacy is an ambiguous term constantly referred to by the PA, despite the constraints and oppression resulting from such insistence. Upheld as an absolute to attain, the diplomatic quest is futile, with countries and international organisations determining international legitimacy remaining committed to upholding the hegemonic narrative determined by the settler-colonial state. International legitimacy for Palestinians, therefore, translates into Palestinian leaders’ acceptance of reinventing history and memory in order to accommodate both Israel and the imperialist powers safeguarding its existence.
While Israel is constantly faced with the necessity of reshaping its invention and fabrication of nationhood in order to sustain the process of colonisation, Palestine is being divested of its own ingrained memory by leaders whose allegiance is pledged to the colonisers, rather than the necessity of liberation. This strategy of alienation is in accordance with the UN’s perfected measures, throughout the decades, of deconstructing Palestinian history through resolutions that attempt to address immediate violations committed against Palestinians without resorting to accountability. In the same manner, continued reference and insistence upon the two-state conspiracy, which is a mere euphemism for complicity in safeguarding the process of complete Zionist colonisation of Palestine, will continue to serve as a premise for alleged legitimacy by a leadership that fails to acknowledge its country’s history in favour of accommodating external impositions.
The notion of seeking international legitimacy from imperialist powers is absurd, yet one that sustains the existence of the PA to the detriment of delegitimising the Palestinian population and its right to land, history and memory through violent political rhetoric. Hence, international legitimacy remains a perilous illusion for Palestine and one that should be adamantly refuted in order to create a revolutionary armed struggle for liberation of the entire territory.
(Source / 23.10.2014)
By Engelbert Luitsz © (www.alexandrina.nl/?p=3784)
Palestijnen op weg naar hun werk bij een militair checkpoint in Jenin. Twintig procent van de inwoners van de Westelijke Jordaanoever en veertig procent van de inwoners van de Gazastrip zegt te willen emigreren. (Foto AP)
In een scherpe column geeft de Israëlische journaliste Amira Hass een “inventarisatie van methoden” die door Israël worden ingezet om de Palestijnen te verdrijven. Wat deze methoden gemeen hebben is dat ze doorgaans gecamoufleerd zijn: soms hebben ze de vorm van wettelijke bepalingen en soms zijn het de omstandigheden die worden aangegrepen als excuus.
(Dit stuk is losjes gebaseerd op haar column Israelis excel at camouflaging the expulsion of Palestinians, dat vandaag in de Israëlische krant Haaretz verscheen.)
De grootste verdrijving stamt natuurlijk uit 1948, toen er tussen de 700.000 en 800.000 Palestijnen werden verjaagd. Sindsdien ging het om kleinere aantallen, maar tot op de dag van vandaag gaat dit door.
Hier zijn de negen belangrijkste methoden om Palestijnen te verdrijven, volgens Amira Hass.
Het intrekken van een verblijfsvergunning. Israël beheert het Palestijnse bevolkingsregister en heeft tussen 1967 en 1994 de verblijfsvergunningen van zo’n 250.000 Palestijnen uit de Gazastrook en de Westelijke Jordaanoever ingetrokken, aangezien deze mensen langer dan zeven jaar in het buitenland verbleven. Daar komen nog minstens 100.000 Palestijnen bij die tijdens de oorlog van 1967 waren gevlucht of verdreven. Deze mensen mochten niet terugkeren naar hun huizen.
Hass merkt hierbij fijntjes op dat Israëli’s die naar Los Angeles emigreren, nog steeds Israëli’s zijn.
Onder de Oslo-akkoorden zouden Palestijnen die in 1967 hun identiteitskaart waren “verloren”, gaandeweg moeten kunnen terugkeren naar de Gazastrook of de Westelijke Jordaanoever. Hier gebruikt Israël legale truukjes om dat onmogelijk te maken.
Met de controle over het Palestijnse bevolkingsregister voor de Gazastrook en de Westelijke Jordaanoever heeft Israël de terugkeer van honderdduizenden Palestijnen onmogelijk gemaakt. Slechts enkele tienduizenden konden vanwege “familiehereniging” terugkeren. Iets wat door Israël wordt gepromoot als een teken van goede wil.
Zelfs Palestijnen die zijn geboren in Oost-Jeruzalem moeten erg uitkijken. Hoewel ze een status als “permanente inwoner” hebben, wordt die status ingetrokken wanneer ze zeven jaar of langer in het buitenland zijn. Maar nu is opeens de Westelijke Jordaanoever “het buitenland” (terwijl Israël in alle andere gevallen juist claimt dat dat een deel van Israël is). Dus als een Palestijn op slechts een kilometer van zijn woonplaats werk vind, raakt hij zijn permanente status kwijt. Op deze manier zijn er sinds 1967 meer dan veertienduizend Palestijnen uitgewezen.
Bedoeïenen worden altijd verdreven. Van hun waterbronnen en hun graslanden. Vaak omdat hun gebied wordt aangemerkt als militair oefenterrein.
Bedoeïenen (II). Zonder dat er enige aandacht voor was in de pers werden enkele tientallen Bedoeïenen die al sinds de jaren vijftig in Oost-Jeruzalem hadden gewoond, verbannen naar de Westelijke Jordaanoever.
Al voor dat er sprake was van Gebied C (het grootste deel van de Westelijke Jordaanoever, volledig onder Israëlisch bestuur), had Israël er door middel van strenge regels (uitsluitend bedoeld voor Palestijnen) voor gezorgd dat het bijna onmogelijk was een vergunning te krijgen om te wonen, te bouwen, of landbouw te bedrijven. Slechts 12% van de Palestijnen van de Westelijke Jordaanoever (zo’n 300.000) leven nog in 60% van het land. Alle inwoners van zogenoemde “niet erkende dorpen” werden gedwongen te verhuizen naar de kleinere gebieden A en B.
In 2002 werden 26 van de Palestijnen die in de belegerde Geboortekerk zaten naar de Gazastrook verbannen. Ze mochten na twee jaar terugkeren, zo werd hen beloofd. Maar daar is niets van terechtgekomen. Ze zijn nog steeds verbannen, op 70 kilometer van de plek waar ze geboren werden.
Een favoriete methode is gewoon het leven ondraaglijk maken.
Twintig procent van de inwoners van de Westelijke Jordaanoever en veertig procent van de inwoners van de Gazastrip zegt te willen emigreren.
Doordat Israël praktisch het hele gebied van de Westelijke Jordaanoever onder controle heeft en er grote beperkingen zijn in de bewegingsvrijheid van de Palestijnen, is de kans op het vinden van werk gering. In Oost-Jeruzalem hebben ze weer te maken met het rabiate joodse racisme.
Is het mogelijk dat de Israëlische demografische experts niet weten dat er een link bestaat tussen economische problemen, het ontbreken van politieke en professionele toekomstverwachtingen, militaire en racistische aanvallen, en het verlangen te vertrekken?
Tamelijk vrij naar Amira Hass
KOBANE UPDATE 7: US AIRDROP ARMS AND AMMO TO KOBANE & TURKEY AGREES TO ALLOW PESHMERGA TO ENTER CITY
By Peter Clifford © (www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-iraq-news-4/)
SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS
On Sunday, yesterday, at dawn 3 x US C-130 Coalition aircraft dropped 27 packages of weapons, ammunition and medical supplies to the besieged Kurds in Kobane.
The aircraft met no resistance from Islamic State (IS) forces on the ground and sources from within Kobane have confirmed that the multiple airdrops arrived safely. “We are hoping for more”, said a Kobane spokesman, adding that they would “help greatly” with their fight against IS.
US C-130 Cargo Planes Airdrop Over Kobane
The weapons and ammunition were supplied by the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq whose President, Massoud Barzani, has been talking to the Americans and the Turks for weeks.
US Central Command reported on Monday afternoon, that six airstrikes near Kobani on Sunday and Monday destroyed IS fighting and mortar positions, an IS vehicle, and one stray resupply bundle from a the U.S. airdrop of Kurdish supplies.
The stray supply bundle was destroyed to prevent it from falling into enemy hands. All other resupply bundles were successfully delivered.
Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was informed in advance of the airdrops on Saturday night in a telephone call from President Obama.
Erdogan’s response is not known, but on Sunday he is reported once again as saying that the PYD (the YPG Kurdish fighters political branch) is the same as the PKK (armed Kurdish group in Turkey) and “they are all terrorists”.
However, there has been an announcement by the Turkish Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, this morning, Monday, that his Government has agreed to allow a force of Kurdish Peshmerga from Iraq to cross Turkish territory to reinforce the fighters in Kobane.
No further details were given, but Cavusoglu also showed no anger at the US airdrop, saying only that,”We have been in full cooperation with the Coalition” and adding “We have no wish at all to see Kobani fall”. BBC Syria news explains why the Turks will allow in Iraq’s Kurdish Peshmerga but not Syrian Kurds to support Kobane.
Fighting over the weekend was fierce on Saturday but quieter on Sunday.
The Islamic State is reported to have dropped around 44 mortar bombs on Kobane on Saturday, some of them landing on Turkish territory across the border, plus driving 2 suicide vehicle bombs towards YPG positions. The bombs were intercepted before reaching their target, but there were some YPG injuries. There is video of one such explosion, HERE:
The Kurds say that the centre of Kobane was attacked from 3 different sides including the municipality building and the market place, but attacks have been resisted and no ground lost.
The Coalition, in conjunction with Kurdish YPG fighters on the ground directed 11 airstrikes against IS positions on Saturday, another 5 on Sunday and 2 early this morning Monday.
3 of the airstrikes on Sunday targeted areas southeast of the city and behind the Cultural Center and 2 others targeted areas near the hospital south of the city.
Coalition Attack on IS in Kobane 18.10.14
Opposition activist sources claim that at least 70 Islamic State fighters have been killed in the last 48 hours and there is an unconfirmed claim originating from Kobane saying that since the fighting there started 133 YPG fighters have been killed, 9 Free Syrian Army (FSA), and 1,294 from the Islamic State.
There is no way of verifying these numbers and they do differ from estimates put out by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), but are not inconceivable considering the number of airstrikes, more than 135 laser guided bombs dropped on Kobane since September 16th.
Interesting report from a wounded fighter FSA fighter on the battles against IS and how they lured them into bomb-rigged buildings and targeted their gatherings with airstrikes, HERE:
Disturbingly, there is an additional a report from SOHR saying that the FSA aligned Raqqah Revolutionary Brigade (RRB), fighting alongside the YPG, had captured 2 Islamic State fighters and subsequently executed them.
One of them was reported as just 15 years old and video had appeared earlier on the Internet of the FSA fighters interrogating him. If true, an action to be condemned and RRB held responsible.
While the YPG and the FSA have often fought against each other in the past, there appears to be increasing cooperation between the 2 groups to fight against IS, not just inside Kobane but elsewhere too.
On Sunday, the YPG put out a statement saying, “We can also confirm that there is coordination between us and the important factions of the FSA in the northern countryside of Aleppo: Afrin, Kobane, and Al-Jazira.
Currently, there are factions and several battalions of the FSA fighting on our side against the ISIS terrorists.” Let’s hope they can extend that cooperation to jointly drive out Assad.
Situation map for Kobane, courtesy of @macroarch, for Saturday 18th October, and little has changed since, here:
Kobane Situation Map 18.10.14
IRAQ NEWS: MOUNT SINJAR, SURROUNDED BY ISLAMIC STATE, IN DANGER OF BECOMING ANOTHER MASSACRE – 1000’S TRAPPED AGAIN:
In Iraq, having closed all the exit roads to Mount Sinjar (Shingal) last week, the Islamic State are now honing in on the remaining Yezidi fighters and the civilians living on top of the plateau and any villages on the slopes, by all accounts having them completely surrounded.
Estimates say that there are still between 5,000 – 7,000 people in the area that either refused to leave the top of the mountain or their villages in the region, despite Kurdish officials advising them to do so. The Islamic State regard followers of the Yezidi religion as “devil worshippers” and will almost certainly execute them if they refuse to convert to Islam.
Qasim Shesho, a Yezidi commander on Sinjar mountain for a Yezidi brigade known as the HPS, said that IS began a new attack early this morning, Monday, and that it has continued throughout the day.
Mount Sinjar Shingal Showing Location of Sherfedin Shrine
“A large number of ISIS militants are using nearly 20 Humvee vehicles to fight the Yezidi fighters,” he said.
Following the massacres last August when the Islamic State killed or imprisoned hundreds of Yezidi, trapping them on the Mount Sinjar, many Yezidi men trained with the Kurdish Peshmerga and the Syrian YPG, and formed brigades to defend the area.
The Yezidi fighters say the attack has come from 3 sides after a string of villages were overrun when the exit roads were closed.
So far 16 IS fighters are reported killed and 11 Yezidi but the remaining Yezidi are surrounded on the north side of Mount Sinjar around their holy place, the shrine at Sherfedin.
Units of Peshmerga, YPG and PKK are all thought to be on the mountain but usual supplies brought in by Iraqi Army helicopters have not arrived for the last 20 days.
Latest reports on Monday afternoon say that the Iraqi Air Force made 2 attacks on IS positions by helicopter but that these “failed”. Further details awaited.
Many Yezidi having retreated to the mountain during the August IS invasion arrived with very little and now with winter approaching have even less to protect themselves. Yezidi regard Mount Sinjar/Shingal as sacred and many refuse to leave, preferring to graze their flocks of goats and sheep on the slopes as they have done for generations.
To the Islamic State, the whole Sinjar region, 120 kilometres west of IS-held Mosul, is crucial to their plans to link Mosul to Syria and Raqqah.
Unless the Coalition and other forces come to the rescue, Mount Sinjar is in danger of becoming once again the site of another Islamic State massacre.
Elsewhere in Iraq, the Coalition carried out 6 airstrikes on Sunday and Monday using pilotless drones and jet aircraft from France and the UK.
US Central Command (Centcom) reports today, Monday, on successful strikes against the Islamic State (IS) over the last 2 days, hitting a large IS unit and 3 x IS vehicles south-east of Fallujah and destroying a small IS unit, an IS building and 3 x IS vehicles, plus damaging another IS building south of the Baiji Oil Refinery, west of Mosul.
In addition, Centcom says that Coalition aircraft destroyed 4 x IS boats south of Baiji on the Tigris River and damaged at least 4 more.
Unconfirmed reports say that 94 Islamic State fighters have been killed in Coalition airstrikes over the last few days, including air attacks earlier in the weekend near Tikrit.
Car Bomb Site in Talibiyah, Baghdad
Car bombing however has also continued with another explosion in Baghdad killing 11 and injuring 26 as they left noon prayers at the Shiite mosque in the Sinak area of central Baghdad today, and 18 killed and 28 injured at a funeral at another mosque in the eastern part of the capital on Sunday.
Another explosion by a suicide bomber targeted a funeral ceremony at a Shiite mosque in eastern Baghdad on Sunday, leaving 19 people dead and 28 injured.
3 car-bombs also exploded on Monday in the Shiite shrine city of Karbala, some 100 kilometres south-west of Baghdad, which until now has been relatively unscathed.
According to reports from the north of Iraq 2 Islamic State fighters attempted to set up a vehicle IED to kill Peshmerga forces in Malla Abdulla but accidentally blew themselves up in the process.
A study of Iraq’s suicide bombers, whose “martyrdom” appears on Jihadist websites, over a recent period has revealed that 45% of them are Saudi Arabian nationals.
There are also reports that 33 Iraqi soldiers have been killed by an IS cell at Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad.
Much to the relief of everyone, in and outside of Iraq, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, completed his Cabinet at the weekend, getting Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban, a Shia, voted in as Interior Minister and Khaled al-Obeidi, a Sunni, as Defence Minister.
SYRIA NEWS: OPPOSITION CAPTURE LAST MAJOR CHECKPOINT INFRONT OF ASSAD BORDER CROSSING TO JORDAN IN DARAA PROVINCE:
Back in Syria, Assad’s Air Force taking advantage of international media attention on Kobane and Iraq, launched no less than 46 air strikes this morning, Monday, on Opposition centres across Syria. As well as towns in Idlib and Hama provinces other targets were towns and villages in Daraa province and suburbs in Aleppo and Damascus.
In Aleppo the Civil Defence Team once again yesterday rescued 2 little boys from the rubble of another of Assad’s attacks on civilians, HERE:
In Damascus this was the moment when a regime indiscriminate, so-called “elephant” bomb, hit the already largely destroyed suburb of Zamalka, here:
However, in Daraa province, Opposition fighters have made significant advances today, capturing the strategic Umm Al-Mayadin checkpoint, HERE:
This gives them control of the east-west highway through Daraa province and enables them to block the main highway running north-south from Damascus to the border with Jordan.
Since then, the Opposition have gone on Monday evening to enter the fortifications infront of the Naseeb border crossing, HERE: and Assad regime vehicles are now burning within the frontier crossing area, HERE:
These fighters seem very well equipped with new uniforms, helmets and body-armour, HERE:
On their way to the border crossing Opposition fighters hit this Assad tank yesterday, HERE:
Around Aleppo fierce fighting is reported in the districts around Aleppo Central Prison with the regime claiming to have gained ground with the help of Iranian, Lebanese and Afghan militias.
Government forces are said to have taken the strategic points of Al-Jubaila, along with a glass factory and a cement plant in the north-west in an attempt, once again, to try and cut off the Opposition supply route from Turkey to Opposition-held eastern Aleppo.
Read this monumentally moving descriptive article on the state of Aleppo after years of destruction, HERE:
In the predominately Kurdish city of Qamishli in Hasakah province, the Islamic State (IS) have launched another attack to get control, advancing from 2 sides.
In Deir Ez-Zour province however, the Coalition once again struck at IS positions over the weekend, hitting a gas distribution facility and setting off secondary explosions at the town of Khasham. 8 men, mainly thought to be tanker drivers, were killed in the attack, which eye-witnesses described as producing “long tongues of flame”.
Lastly, please make the effort to read this appeal for help (in English, Arabic and French) from 500+ forgotten female political prisoners still detained in Assad’s Adra prison in Damascus, 30% of whom are over 50 and another 5% who are pregnant.
Conditions are desperate and few have even enough money to get a lawyer, never mind buy their freedom, HERE:
Free Assad’s Female Political Prisoners NOW
By Engelbert Luitsz © (www.alexandrina.nl/?p=3772)
Vanmorgen werden er twee Palestijnse meisjes van vijf jaar oud overreden door een kolonist. Een van hen, Inas Khalil, is later overleden aan haar verwondingen. Het andere meisje, Toleen Afoor, ligt nog in kritieke toestand in het ziekenhuis. Ze waren van hun kleuterschool op weg naar huis in het dorp Sinjil bij Rammalah toen een kolonist ze schepte met zijn of haar auto en daarna doorreed.
Inas Khali, vijf jaar oud, vermoord door een kolonist.
De meeste recente aanval op het Palestijnse volk had zoals altijd een aanleiding. Deze keer was het de verdwijning van drie joodse kolonisten op de Westelijke Jordaanoever. Of de ware toedracht ooit bekend zal worden moeten we nog maar afwachten. Het kan zijn dat ze vermoord zijn, het kan evengoed zijn dat ze een auto-ongeluk hebben gehad en dat het Israëlische leger, dat daar net bezig was met een grote oefening, z’n kans schoon zag om de dood van de jongens te gebruiken om een al voorbereide aanval op het Palestijnse volk aan de nationale en internationale bevolking te verkopen. Dat maakt ook niet uit: de twee maanden van absoluut onmenselijke gruwelen die volgden kunnen noch door het ene noch door het ander scenario worden gerechtvaardigd.
Premier Netanyahu was er als de kippen bij om de joodse dichter Chaim Nachman Bialik te citeren: “Een wraak als deze, voor het bloed van een kind, moet Satan nog bedenken.” Bialik wordt als een Israëlische dichter gezien, een nationale held, ook al stierf hij veertien jaar voordat de staat Israël werd uitgeroepen. De betekenis van die regel was ironisch genoeg ook tegengesteld aan hoe Netanyahu hem gebruikte, de voorgaande regel was namelijk: “En laat hem vervloekt zijn die schreeuwt: Wraak!”
Nadem Syam Nawara (foto), 17 jaar en Mohammad Mahmoud Odeh, 16 jaar, werden op 15 mei doodgeschoten door Israëlische soldaten.
De moord op twee Palestijnse kinderen begin mei heeft niet geleid tot veel ophef. Ze liepen op straat, zonder dat er sprake was van een confrontatie of enige vorm van demonstratie. Er waren camerabeelden van zowel Palestijnse zijde als van CNN, maar de Israëlische reactie was juist meer repressie en meer propaganda om de eigen misdaden te verhullen. De beelden van CNN lieten zijn dat de Israëlische soldaten op grote afstand op een balkon zaten en gewoon voor de lol een kind doodschoten dat op straat liep.
Sinds het jaar 2000 is er gemiddeld elke drie dagen een Palestijns kind vermoord door het Israëlische leger. Maar al te vaak met schoten in de borst of door het hoofd. Gerichte moordaanslagen die maar zelden in verband konden worden gebracht met rellen (alsof dat een excuus zou kunnen zijn).
Mohammed Abu Khdeir werd op 2 juli levend verbrand door joodse kolonisten.
Begin juli werd Mohammed Abu Khdeir, zestien jaar oud, levend verbrand door joodse kolonisten. De lijkschouwing maakte duidelijk dat ze hun best hadden gedaan om het offer zo feestelijk mogelijk te laten verlopen. Mohammed was gedwongen benzine te drinken, zodat hij ook vanbinnen verbrandde. Doordat er camerabeelden waren opgedoken was Israël wel verplicht er voor de vorm iets aan te doen. Er werden zelfs een paar mensen opgepakt, maar deze werden al snel weer vrijgelaten. Ook de hoofdschuldigen mochten gaan, in afwachting van een proces. Men had toch al besloten dat het hier ging om tijdelijke ontoerekeningsvatbaarheid, dus een serieuze straf was niet op z’n plaats.
Een neef van Mohammed werd zonder aanleiding bijna doodgeslagen door de politie, maar hij bleek de Amerikaanse nationaliteit te bezitten, dus hij heeft het overleefd. De vader van Mohammed werd opgepakt en urenlang vastgehouden. Men probeerde hem een verklaring te laten tekenen dat de Palestijnen zelf achter de moord zaten. Tot op de dag van vandaag wordt de hele familie belaagd.
Bahaa Samir Badir, 13 jaar oud, in koelen bloede vermoord door een Israëlische soldaat.
Afgelopen donderdag werd de dertienjarige Bahaa Samir Badir vermoord door het Israëlische leger. Hij werd in de borst geschoten. Hij is een van de meer dan veertig tieners die dit jaar op de Westelijke Jordaanoever zijn vermoord door het Israëlische leger.
Het meest recente bloedbad, Machtige Klip zoals de naam eigenlijk luidt (een verwijzing naar de hoge plek vanwaar een zondebok naar zijn dood wordt gestuurd, gerelateerd aan het joodse feest Jom Kipoer), heeft aan meer dan vijfhonderd kinderen het leven gekost. Vanaf het begin van de aanval lag het percentage gedode kinderen rond de 25% en dat is zo gebleven. Daarnaast zijn er duizenden voor het leven gehandicapt of verminkt.
Het kiezen van kinderen als primair doelwit heeft een belangrijke functie voor Israël. Het is niet alleen het fysiek verwijderen van een deel van de nieuwe generatie. Met het vermoorden van kinderen tref je de hele familie, zelfs de hele gemeenschap. Nog meer dan wanneer een van de ouders het slachtoffer is. Het is een weloverwogen strategie om de onleefbaarheid te verergeren.
In de zionistische ideologie is er weinig onderscheid tussen niet-joodse levens, land of goederen. Moord, verkrachting, diefstal, plundering, onteigening, verbanning, het zijn allemaal middelen om tot het doel te komen: een land dat vrij is van vreemde (= niet-joodse) smetten.
Bialik schreef zijn beroemde gedicht “Over het bloedbad” naar aanleiding van de Kishinev-pogrom van 1903, toen er enkele tientallen joden omkwamen bij anti-joodse rellen. Hij overleed te vroeg om mee te maken hoe de mensen die hem nu nog citeren verantwoordelijk zijn voor een veelvoud aan onschuldige slachtoffers. En als hij had geweten dat het vooral kinderen zijn die het slachtoffer worden van de zionistische agressie, zou hij zich vol walging hebben afgekeerd van dit kunstmatige volk dat de onbeschaamdheid heeft hem als “nationale dichter” te vereren.
In de strijd tegen de illegale bezetting van Palestina heeft laatst weer een oorlog van ruim 50 dagen gewoed tussen de strijders van Gaza en haar bezetter, de regering en haar soldaten van Israël. In deze periode zijn weer vele Palestijnen vermoord, waaronder vele kinderen, naast de vele gewonden die zijn gevallen. Na deze verwoestende oorlog op Gaza, zouden de partijen tot een staakt-het-vuren zijn gekomen. Maar de waarheid is anders …
De aanvallen op Palestijnen sluimert nog steeds bij de bezetters en zeker bij de kolonisten van de illegale nederzettingen, die alles proberen te doen om het leven van de Palestijnen moeilijk te maken. Deze kolonisten zijn vaak betrokken bij “hit and run” ongevallen, waarbij ze met opzet Palestijnen aan- en overrijden en dan snel wegscheuren. Het spelletje wat graag gespeeld wordt, is het aanrijden van jonge kinderen.
Het laatste slachtoffertje is het vijfjarige meisje Inas Khalil dat samen met klasgenootje Toleen Asfoor op weg was van de kleuterschool naar huis in het dorp Sinjil, ten noorden van Ramallah en doelbewust door een kolonist op zondag 19 november werd overreden. De kolonist is afkomstig uit de nabijgelegen nederzetting, reed in de richting van beide meisjes, overreed ze en sloeg daarna op de vlucht.
Beide meisjes raakten hierbij zwaar gewond en zijn voor behandeling naar het ziekenhuis gebracht. Toleen Asfoor ligt nog steeds in kritische toestand, maar Inas Khalil is in de loop van de dag aan haar verwondingen overleden.
De bestuurder van het voertuig is nog voortvluchtig en zal – zoals zo vaak – zijn berechting ontlopen. Het vermoorden van Palestijnen is nog steeds niet afgelopen en sluimert nog steeds door.
KOBANE UPDATE 6: DESPITE KURDS WINNING BACK GROUND, HEAVY FIGHTING IN CITY AS ISLAMIC STATE MAINTAIN THEIR ATTACKS
By Pter Clifford © (www.petercliffordonline.com/syria-iraq-news-4/)
SYRIA and IRAQ NEWS
Despite escalated help from US-led Coalition airstrikes and brave resistance from the Kurdish YPG and YPJ (Women’s Protection Force), the fight to clear the Islamic State from Kobane goes on, with no sign that the Jihadists are going to give up their assault.
In the last 2 days, the Islamic State have shelled and re-shelled an area to the north of Kobane city near the border crossing to Turkey and an area around the Al-Haj Rashad Mosque, 16 plus shells falling.
Brave Fighters of the YPJ in Kobane
Heavy fighting still continues around the central “security zone” in the city and on the eastern and southern sides of Kobane.
Last night, Thursday through Friday, Islamic State fighters attacked areas regained by the YPG Kurdish militia 2 days ago and this was followed by 6 Coalition airstrikes on the district of Kani Erban on the eastern side of city.
The Jihadists are also attacking houses controlled by YPG fighters in the street that extends along the western area of the security zone and which was in the hands of the YPG yesterday.
The Islamic State have additionally mounted another attack on Al-Hurreyyi Square.
Latest reports from Kobane on Friday evening say that a new convoy of Islamic State fighters has arrived from the IS town of Manbej in Aleppo province and there is fierce fighting around the border gate area to the north-east of the city.
While spirits among the Kurdish defenders are high after their gains over the last few days, amid reports of hundreds of bodies of dead Jihadists lying in the streets, they are still out-gunned and out-numbered with the Islamic State sending wave after wave of fighters into the battle-zone.
Kobane is clearly far from safe yet.
On Wednesday, Mr. Nassan, deputy head of Kobane’s foreign relations committee, said “Maybe in the few past days [Islamic State] was controlling about 40% of the city of Kobane, but now… less than 20% of the city is under their control”.
Many outside observers would rate that as unduly optimistic, still estimating that between 40 – 50% of the city remains in IS hands, though the situation is much more fluid than before.
West of Kobane, the Jihadists have been pushed back several kilometres from the city limits, though they are using their heavy weaponry to continue to bombard vacated areas. South-west of Kobane the Kurds have also regained territory and a YPG patrol engaged the Islamic State (IS) on the road to Aleppo, killing 8 of them at a loss of 3 of their own.
US Central Command (Centcom), now naming the Coalition operation in Syria and Iraq “Inherent Resolve” (EDITOR: I wonder who thought of that gem of a mouthful? I bet it translates into Arabic “really well”!), bombed IS positions 14 times on Wednesday and Thursday and attacks are ongoing on Friday.
The Coalition tally for the 2 days is given as 19 x IS buildings, 2 x IS command posts, 3 x IS fighting positions, 3 x IS sniper positions, 1 x IS staging location, and 1 x IS heavy machine gun. Centcom adds, “Indications are that airstrikes have continued to slow IS advances, but that the security situation on the ground in Kobane remains tenuous”.
The Coalition have carried out over 100 airstrikes around Kobane since September 27th, while in Iraq Coalition activity has subsided, mainly due to heavy sandstorms affecting flight operations.
Happy Young Kurdish Supporters of the YPG
Following the first direct talks between the US and the PYD (the Kurdish movement’s Syrian political wing) at the US embassy in Paris, it has been confirmed that the YPG on the ground are directly co-ordinating with the Coalition to direct in-coming jets to target specific buildings housing Jihadist units.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is now putting the recorded death toll for Kobane since the 16th September at 662, 374 Jihadists and 268 YPG/YPJ plus 20 civilians, though these figure do not include Islamic State fighters killed in airstrikes – therefore the final toll will be much higher.
Latest reports from Kobane on Friday morning suggest there is an ongoing combined Free Syrian Army (FSA) and YPG operation to retake the radio tower hill knows as Mishtenour, just south of the city.
The BBC Syria news service has a video report from Kobane recorded on Thursday.
There is additionally this morning an unconfirmed report that the senior IS commander known as Hisem Bin Ebdallah has been killed in combat.
If true, then this will be no great loss to the world – Ebdallah has appeared on the Internet physically beheading his victims with a knife.
However, the Kurds are still in dire need of weapons, ammunition and food, though supplies are trickling in despite Turkish intransigence, and the Islamic State has destroyed almost all of their medical facilities.
There was a terrible report from the Turkish border that a Kurdish ambulance was prevented from crossing and YPG fighters could do nothing to help 3 wounded colleagues who slowly died without help or treatment over a 3 hour period who could have, they believe, been otherwise saved. Many Turkish authorities see all Kurdish fighters as “terrorists”.
There have been persistent reports that civilians crossing from Kobane into Turkey in recent days, after the earlier mass exodus, have been detained in secure centres and searched by Turkish troops looking for mobile phone images of YPG fighters.
After returning 72 people to Kobane this week (scroll down – see earlier report below), it is now said that the Turks are planning to return another 170 detained Kurds to the war zone, many of whom have been on hunger strike in protest against the conditions in which they have been held. You can read more about this, HERE:
This and other ambivalent reactions by the Turks to the crisis in Kobane, may be why Turkey yesterday failed to gain one of the revolving seats on the UN Security Council.
Until recently, Turkey was thought to have letters of support from 160 countries in the ballot for the seat, needing only a minimum of 130, but support has clearly faded away in the last few days and in the end Turkey received only 60 votes, the seat going to Spain.
This is a tremendous blow to Turkish pride and prestige. New Zealand, Venezuela, Angola, Malaysia also got elected to non-permanent regional seats, which become active on January 1st 2015. You can read more in Newsweek Syria news.
ISLAMIC STATE JETS SEEN FLYING FROM CAPTURED FORMER ASSAD REGIME AIRBASE:
In a worrying development, there is an unconfirmed report from Opposition activist sources that MIG-21 and/or MIG-23 jets have been seen flying from Al-Jarrah military airbase in Islamic State territory east of Aleppo city.
To avoid detection by radar they are flying at low altitude and not straying far from the airfield perimeter. It is said that the Jihadist pilots are being trained by former members of Saddam Hussein’s air force.
Islamic State Taking to the Skies with Captured Jets?
The Ba’ath Party to whom these airman belong, is currently in alliance with the Islamic State in Iraq and fighting alongside them trying to regain some of the Sunni dominating power it once had under the former dictator.
Witnesses claim that they have seen 3 jets in flight so far, though it is not clear whether they are armed with missiles or not.
The Islamic State also control 2 other airfields in Syria, Al-Bukamal near the border with Iraq and Tabqa in Raqqah province.
Al-Jarrah is just 70 kilometres from the Turkish border and so far US Central Command, asked for a comment, says it has not seen any Islamic State jets in flight.
No doubt, should these reports be confirmed the Coalition, or indeed Assad’s Air Force or missile defence systems will destroy these aircraft as soon as possible.
If they manage to get through to any target with a suicide payload of bombs, the consequences could be catastrophic.
There are also reports that the Islamic State have also executed 2 of the own fighters at Al-Bukamel, one for“banditry and robbing Muslims’ money” and the 2nd for allegedly dealing with the Assad regime” and “putting down electronic chips” so their units could be tracked.
Elsewhere in Syria, the Opposition have launched a new campaign to remove Assad’s checkpoints on the Damascus to Jordan main highway.
The Opposition also brought up their heavy fire-power, HERE:
The checkpoints, about 4 kilometres from the frontier, protect the Naseeb border crossing to Jordan, a now remote outpost of the Assad regime. Jordan have now closed their side of the crossing while fighting persists.
In Hama province, heavy fighting continues around Mork, the former Assad tank battalion base changing hands again twice in the last 24 hours, believed currently held by the Opposition.
In Idlib province, the Opposition are attacking Ma’ar Hattat on the highway to Aleppo, HERE: and the good citizens of Kafranbel are determined that the world does not forget that the battle is still against Assad, HERE:
Medical Supplies Reach Yarmouk After A 12 Month Wait
In Deir Ez-Zour city there has been fierce fighting between the Islamic State and the Assad regime in the Hawija district, 9 IS fighters reported killed but a Syrian Army vehicle destroyed and troop losses as the Jihadists advanced.
In Hasakah province 3 civilians, including a child, were reported killed after Coalition planes targeted a oil refining facility at the village of Kabiba in the Al-Shadai area.
In Damascus, for the first time in 12 months, the International Red Cross and the Syrian Red Crescent were allowed to distribute medical supplies in the Yarmouk Refugee camp in the southern part of the capital.
IRAQ NEWS: LATEST ISLAMIC STATE BOMBINGS IN BAGHDAD KILL 50, 162 DEAD SINCE SUNDAY:
In another wave of bomb attacks in Baghdad, mainly in Shiite areas, yesterday, Thursday, at least 50 were killed and dozens injured.
This brings the total killed since last Sunday in Baghdad alone to more than 162. The map below shows the horror of all the car bomb explosions in Baghdad since the Americans arrived in 2003.
IS have claimed responsibility for yesterday’s deadliest attack in the northern Dolaie commercial area of the city. 2 parked cars exploded simultaneously killing 14 and wounding 34.
Local residents, angry at the failure of the security services to protect them, pelted the police cars that arrived to deal with the blast with stones, forcing them to withdraw.
Map of Every Car Bomb Explosion in Baghdad Since 2003
In the eastern Baghdad district of Talibiyah, a suicide bomber rammed his exploding car into a police checkpoint, killing 7 policemen and 5 civilians. 4 other bombs also went off in Baghdad yesterday or nearby with similar destructive power and results.
In northern Iraq west of Mosul, the Islamic state are reported to have launched another series of suicide car bomb attacks against the Iraqi special forces defending the Baiji oil refinery.
Since the sandstorms over subsided in the last 24 hours over Iraq, the Coalition have made 5 airstrikes on Islamic State targets, mainly in Anbar province where a night-time curfew has been imposed in Ramadi to prevent IS movements in and out of the city.
The Iraqi Prime Minister, Haider Al-Abadi, has met with a delegation from Anbar province, which is currently in great danger of being totally overrun by the Islamic State, and attempted to persuade local Sunni tribes to work with the Iraqi security forces to push IS back.
Italy has announced it is joining the Coalition against IS by sending 200 advisers and 3 reconnaissance planes to operate out of Erbil in Kurdish Iraq.
Lastly, like many of us you may be having trouble keeping up with and working out all the complications of the situation in Iraq and Syria.
Despite all the horror, something of an “explanation” to cheer you up over the weekend from Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, here: