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Updates on the Massacre in Raqqa taking place NOW

A place to talk about domestic politics in Middle East (Iran, Iraq , Turkey, Syria) Also includes topics about Assyrian, Armenian, Chaldean .

Updates on the Massacre in Raqqa taking place NOW

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:15 pm

On the sixth anniversary of the start of the uprising in Syria, much attention is focused on the city of Raqqa, the de-facto capital of the "caliphate" proclaimed by so-called Islamic State.

Thousands of civilians are fleeing the surrounding area ahead of an assault by US-backed Kurdish and Arab fighters that is widely expected to start in the coming weeks.

This is exactly what happened in Mosul X(

The inhabitants of the area in and around Mosul lived in fear of being slaughtered when the so-called liberators moved in

YES there has to be a way of squashing ISIS but it should NOT involve the slaughter of innocent people NOR the destruction of their homes, business and entire way of life

Innocent people were slaughtered in Fallujah

Innocent people are being slaughtered in Mosul

Innocent people will be slaughtered in Raqqa


Far easier just to make it ILLEGAL for any country or company to sell weapons to ISIS and to prevent cross-border trade, such as the trade across the border into Syria from TURKEY in support of ISIS
Last edited by Anthea on Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Updates on the Massacre in Raqqa taking place NOW

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Re: Updates on the soon to be Massacre in Raqqa

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:34 pm

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Re: Updates on the soon to be Massacre in Raqqa

PostAuthor: Anthea » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:19 am

YPG will participate in Raqqa operation: US officer

The PKK terrorist organization's Syrian offshoot, the People's Protect Units (YPG), will participate in the offensive to recapture the Daesh stronghold Raqqa, Col. John Dorrian, the spokesman for the anti-Daesh coalition, said Wednesday.

"I expected Kurdish fighters to be involved in liberating Raqqa at some level. We are working with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Syrian Arab coalition. About 75 percent of the force now isolating Raqqa is Syrian Arab, and this is a reflection that's demographically fairly consistent with what you would find in that area," he told reporters.

The SDF is largely dominated by the YPG, a PKK-linked group regarded as a terrorist organization by Turkey that has carried out attacks on Turkish troops in the past. Despite its strong links to the PKK, which has been designated a terrorist organization by the U.S., Washington refuses to call the YPG a terrorist group and backs it under the guise of "fighting against Daesh," despite Ankara's warnings.

The anti-Daesh coalition spokesperson added that it is possible Turkish forces could play a role in Raqqa, and negotiations are underway regarding the issue.

"We haven't come to an agreement yet about what that role will be or if there will be one, but we talk to Turkey... every day," he said.

Previously, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Raqqa belongs to the Arabs, and that Turkey's next goal in Syria is to liberate the city along with the YPG-held Manbij.

Additionally, a photo was released by the Turkish military in early March following a meeting between Chief of Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar and his U.S. counterpart Gen. Joseph Dunford. In the photo a document can be seen in front of a Turkish general with the title "Raqqa Offensive: Turkey-U.S. joint planning."

Turkish forces are operating in northern Syria and have joined the anti-Daesh fight, while also working to keep the Kurdish fighters in check.

https://www.dailysabah.com/war-on-terro ... us-officer
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Re: Updates on the soon to be Massacre in Raqqa

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sat Mar 18, 2017 1:56 am

Syrian Kurdish YPG says Raqqa attack to start in early April

The head of the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia said a U.S.-backed assault to drive Islamic State from its de-facto capital Raqqa would begin at the start of April and the YPG would be taking part, despite fierce opposition from neighbouring Turkey.

A spokesman for the U.S. Pentagon said no decision had been made yet on the Raqqa offensive, which is part of a two pronged attempt to dismantle the caliphate declared by Islamic State in parts of Syria and Iraq in 2014.

U.S.-backed forces, including the YPG, are closing in on the city and President Donald Trump has said he wants to accelerate efforts to crush the hardline militants, who are under siege by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces in the much larger city of Mosul.

The comments by YPG commander Sipan Hemo to Reuters were the first indication of a date for an attack on Raqqa.

In a written reply to questions, Hemo, who rarely if ever appears in the media, said: "Regarding the decision to liberate Raqqa and storm it, the matter is decided and at the start of the month of April the military operation will begin."

He added: "We believe that liberating Raqqa will not take more than a number weeks." His comments were relayed via a YPG spokesman.

Ankara has been pressing the United States to drop its military alliance with the Syrian Kurdish group, which it views as part of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) that has been fighting an insurgency for three decades in Turkey.

The role of the YPG is a major point of contention between the United States and its NATO ally Turkey, which wants Washington to draw instead on Syrian Arab rebel groups backed by Ankara for the final assault on Raqqa, a predominantly Arab city.

Hemo said YPG militia would storm Raqqa alongside Arab fighters in the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). "Of the total force for storming Raqqa, 25 percent are YPG, who are set apart in their combat experience and high-level command skills directing battles in cities," he said.

The Pentagon spokesman, Navy Captain Jeff Davis, said: "We have not made any decisions on how and when we will move in for the liberation of Raqqa."

Asked about Hemo's assessment that it would take weeks, Davis said he would not want to put a timetable on how long the operation could take. Islamic State had had ample time to build defences, emplacements, fighting positions, and to rig houses and cars with improvised explosive devices, he said.

"All of these things await whoever moves in to ultimately liberate Raqqa. And if you compare it to other, similar sized cities in Iraq, you´ve seen that these things do tend to take a bit more time than that," he said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told broadcaster Haberturk in an interview late on Thursday that parts of the U.S. military favoured incorporating the YPG into the assault force because of its earlier successes on the ground.

"But we also see that there are different stances within the U.S. administration. Right now, they do not have a clear stance on this. They are going through a transition period," he said, adding: "The talks are ongoing."

CLOSING IN

Backed by U.S. air strikes and special forces, the SDF cut the last main road out of the city earlier this month.

The only way out of Raqqa now is over the Euphrates River that borders the city to the south, all bridges across which have been destroyed, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, has said. The Observatory estimates the city's population at 200,000 and says it believes many of the IS leaders are still there.

Hemo said preparations for the attack were advanced: "The combat readiness is adequate with regards to weapons, equipment and the number of fighters, particularly after the encirclement of the city and its isolation from three sides - the west, the north and the east."

The U.S.-led coalition last week announced that a Marines artillery unit had been deployed to Syria to help accelerate the campaign to defeat Islamic State at Raqqa, adding to some 500 U.S. forces already in Syria.

A second Kurdish military source said: "It is clear that American forces are increasing in numbers and equipment in northern Syria with the aim of creating a strategic balance and giving more momentum to the Raqqa battle and what comes after it. This momentum is subject to increase as the actual date for the battle of Raqqa draws near at the start of April."

SEEKING KURDISH RIGHTS

The YPG forms the military backbone of autonomous enclaves carved out by Kurdish groups in northern Syria since the start of the conflict in 2011. Its deepening influence has prompted Turkey to intervene in Syria to prevent further Kurdish gains.

The Kurds, systematically persecuted for years by the Syrian state, say their aim is not independence, but regional autonomy in a negotiated settlement to the war.

Hemo said the YPG's political goal was "guaranteeing the rights of the Kurdish people in Syria legally, constitutionally".

He added: "Then there will be no problem with the regime, despite the military confrontations that happened before."

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has previously opposed the idea of federalism says the state will reclaim all of Syria.

In recent weeks the Russian-backed Syrian army staged a lightning advance through IS-held areas to reach the frontier with areas held by a YPG-allied militia, the Manbij Military Council, suggesting at least a tacit understanding.

The YPG still controls districts of Aleppo city, which is otherwise in government hands, while the government operates an airport in the city of Qamishli, which is in YPG hands.

Hemo said he had a long history of struggling for Kurdish rights in Syria and had "helped" Kurds in other parts of Kurdistan - an area spread between Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq.

The YPG's priority, he said, was to "fight terrorism" everywhere in Syria, "given that we are part of Syria".

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuter ... April.html
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Re: Updates on the soon to be Massacre in Raqqa

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Mar 22, 2017 10:06 am

Air strike 'kills dozens in village near Raqqa'

At least 33 people have been killed in an air strike on a school in a village west of the Islamic State-held Syrian city of Raqqa, a monitoring group says.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the building in al-Mansoura was being used as a shelter for displaced people when it was hit on Monday night.

The activist group Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently said the fate of 50 families who were there was unknown.

Both groups believe the raid was carried out by US-led coalition jets.

There was no immediate comment from the coalition, but it has said there were 19 strikes near Raqqa on Monday, including three that destroyed IS "headquarters".

The coalition is supporting an offensive by an alliance of Syrian Kurdish and Arab fighters aimed at capturing Raqqa, the de facto capital of the "caliphate" proclaimed by IS in 2014.

The Syrian Observatory, which is based in the UK, said one of its activists had witnessed 33 bodies being pulled out of the rubble of the school in al-Mansoura, in the western Raqqa countryside.

Two other people were found out alive before IS militants arrived and told bystanders to leave, it added.

Residents of the village told the Syrian Observatory that displaced families from Raqqa, Homs and Aleppo provinces were living in the school.

The Syrian Observatory said Monday's air strike meant at least 116 civilians, including 18 children and 23 women, had been killed in suspected coalition air strikes in the past two weeks.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-39350475

SLAUGHTER OF INNOCENT PEOPLE

America's idea of KILLING everyone and letting God sort them out is UNACCEPTABLE

The wholesale SLAUGHTER of INNOCENT PEOPLE is UNACCEPTABLE

THE FIGHTING HAS TO STOP
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Re: Updates on the Massacre in Raqqa taking place NOW

PostAuthor: Anthea » Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:22 pm

British volunteers preparing for 'bloodbath' fighting Isis in Raqqa as offensive on Syrian stronghold looms

British volunteers fighting alongside Kurdish forces in Syria are preparing for a “bloodbath” in the looming assault on Isis’ de-facto capital of Raqqa.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition has been battling to isolate the city for months, seizing swathes of territory from militants while surrounding their stronghold from three sides.

With the capture of the strategic Tabqa air base along the Euphrates River, the long-awaited offensive on Raqqa city appears imminent but fighters watching the gruelling battle in Mosul know that recapturing the Syrian capital of the so-called Islamic State will come at a high cost.

Kimmie Taylor, the only British woman fighting alongside anti-Isis forces in Syria, expects a “bloodbath” of Isis mines, suicide bombs, booby traps, drones and mortars.

“I know a lot of friends will die, especially in the city - it’s going to be a bloodbath,” the 27-year-old said.

“This is inevitable, these things going to happen so we have to deal with them.”

Speaking to The Independent from a base held by the Kurdish Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) outside Raqqa, she was certain of Isis’ eventual defeat.

Armed with a Kalashnikov and two grenades, Ms Taylor will be fighting alongside the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and their SDF comrades, with the backing of US-led coalition firepower and special forces.

Also known by her Kurdish name Zilan Dilber, she joined the officer training corps while at university but turned down a place at Sandhurst because she “didn’t agree with the British politics of war”.

Having grown up near Blackburn and moved to Merseyside as a teenager, she studied maths at Liverpool University and then business and politics in Stockholm, before starting to volunteer in countries hit by the refugee crisis and writing for a Swedish socialist newspaper.

Ms Taylor decided to join the YPG after visiting the de-facto Kurdish region of Rojava to report on female anti-Isis fighters, and has not returned home since.

Like other British volunteers, she is fighting not just to defeat Isis but for a feminist and socialist “revolution” they see as the future for a peaceful and democratic Syria.

Nearby, British and Irish members of the Bob Crow Brigade (BCB) are also preparing for the assault on Raqqa as part of the YPG’s International Freedom Battalion.

The socialist volunteers, who named themselves in honour the late trade union leader Bob Crow, have drifted apart since their formation last year, with some returning home, some working in the “civilian wing of the revolution” and others remaining on the frontline.

The spokesman told The Independent no comrades had yet been killed or injured but listed fellow IFB members who had fallen in battles with Isis or in mine blasts and suicide attacks.

Asked whether he was concerned for his safety, he replied: “Never…dying in a car crash is a tragedy, dying for socialism is an honour.”

Three British volunteers - a former Royal Marine, a chef and a dairy farmer - have already been killed fighting alongside the YPG in Syria, while other fighters have been prosecuted upon their return to the UK.

Ms Taylor had a close brush with Isis when her base came under attack earlier this month, with one comrade shot in the arm as a suicide bomber infiltrated the camp six miles behind the frontline.

She said that although most Isis fighters had been “running away” from the SDF advance towards Raqqa and Deir Ezzor, the group had been sending militants wearing suicide vests to ambush bases, while littering former strongholds with mines and explosives.

The group is conducting more suicide bombings than ever before as it attempts to defend its territories, including devastating car bombs packed with explosives and driven into enemy lines.

Ms Taylor said she had seen the devices “take out a whole street”, with steel shields ranged around windows and on wheels aiming to prevent them being stopped by gunfire.

“Isis make mines themselves, they make explosives themselves…they make it out of anything,” she added, recounting seeing mines and IED workshops.

“They put explosives in doors, in windows, in anything. We’ve even had shops where they attach a wire to a Coca Cola can, for example, and if someone is stupid enough to take, it explodes.”

Despite the dangers, Ms Taylor said the SDF will “inevitably” take Raqqa, even if hundreds of fighters die in the process.

But she sounded a warning over the group’s equipment, saying they had no tanks and that Guardian police armoured vehicles would be destroyed in the event of a mine blast.

“We have no new weapons at all,” Ms Taylor added, listing Soviet-era Kalashnikovs and “Dushka” heavy machine guns as weapons of choice.

Ms Taylor has seen some of hundreds of US Marines deployed to support the SDF ahead of the Raqqa offensive but said they were only advising and conducting limited artillery strikes.

Turkey has called on the US to stop supporting Kurdish elements of the alliance, which Ankara has labelled as terrorists while backing opposition rebels to push them back from the Turkish border.

American forces have made no move to change the strategy drawn up under Barack Obama’s administration, but Ms Taylor and the BCB now see Turkey as a main enemy, amid a growing rift with the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq.

The BCB denounced Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s intervention as an “opportunistic attempt to expand Turkish territory…as part of an all-out war on Kurds” and accused it of driving new conflict in northern Syria.

As for Mr Trump, it is “hard to work out what his policy is on anything”, said the group’s spokesman, labelling the President a “bigoted, ignorant clown who was born into power by way of money”.

Mr Trump has not yet announced details of his plan to defeat Isis, but the British volunteers see a long fight ahead to defeat not just the group’s fighters but their ideology.

Ms Taylor argued that capitalism “has no alternative” to the Islamist vision it prevents, claiming that the Kurdish “revolution” was inspiring Syrian people in a model that could spread across the Middle East.

The YPG has been setting up federalist systems of government throughout its territories in northern Syria and hopes to strike a deal to secure their existence with Bashar al-Assad’s regime, which has long turned a blind eye to Kurdish governance de-facto anonymous region of Rojava.

The prospect is keeping British fighters in Syria, with the BCB hoping to inspire a “new generation of revolutionaries.

“Furthermore, we are here for the revolution, not simply 'the war', so no clear end will ever be in sight,” their spokesman said.

Ms Taylor hopes to return to Europe after the Raqqa offensive but fears visiting Britain after her parents had their home searched and laptops and phones confiscated by police.

“I think it’s ridiculous…it’s about control,” she added. “No way am I going home if I’m going to go to prison for 10 or 20 years.”

A spokesperson for the Home Office said anyone travelling to warzones abroad “may be committing criminal or terrorism offences and could face prosecution when they return to the UK”.

Link to Article - Photos - Video:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world ... 54781.html
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Re: Updates on the Massacre in Raqqa taking place NOW

PostAuthor: Anthea » Wed Apr 05, 2017 7:30 pm

Chaos will reign when ISIS loses Raqqa
by: David Gardner

The long-awaited battle for Raqqa, Syrian capital of the crumbling Isis caliphate, is almost under way. US-backed forces, mainly Syrian Kurdish militia known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG), are encircling the northern Syrian city, as the Pentagon beefs up its special forces on the ground, moving up heavy artillery and attack helicopters and landing Kurdish fighters behind ISIS lines.

The demise of the Isis proto-state looms. But the confusion among its panoply of opponents, especially about the future of a Syria in ruins, is alarming if only, so far, dimly glimpsed.

It is already clear that Washington intends to use the Syrian Kurds as its strike force for Raqqa, setting aside rival offers and angry objections from its Nato ally, Turkey. Turkey had hoped to get past its frictions with Barack Obama’s administration, but tension between Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his US counterpart Donald Trump looks set to escalate. In Turkey’s view, the YPG is using the civil war in Syria and the Isis menace to carve out a self-governing mini-state in northern Syria, inciting separatism among Kurds across the border in south-east Turkey.

In Ankara last week, Rex Tillerson, Mr Trump’s secretary of state, met Mr Erdogan for two hours. At a tense press conference later with Mevlut Cavusoglu, his Turkish opposite number, Mr Tillerson said they had discussed “very difficult choices that have to be made”, while Mr Cavusoglu expressed “sorrow” its ally was choosing to fight “one terrorist organisation while co-operating with another”.

Washington also announced last week that removing the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was no longer a priority for American policy. Put another way, this places the US on the same side as Russia and, in a sense, Iran, the Assad regime’s patrons. This has implications for who controls Syria after Raqqa.

True, Turkey, alienated from the US and EU, has tilted towards Russia. Yet President Vladimir Putin set limits to Turkey’s 2016 incursion into Syria, intended mainly to stop the YPG linking its eastern territory to Afrin in north-west Syria. Russian trainers in Afrin are even working with the YPG, which wants to turn its militia into a fully fledged army. Ankara wound up its Syrian operation last week, but this week Mr Erdogan said he had “very nice surprises” in store for the YPG (as well as Isis).

Turkish hostility to Kurdish ambitions is visceral. Last month a small US armoured column had to rush to Manbij, north-west of Raqqa, to separate Turkish and YPG forces. Yet the Americans seemed not at all fussed when Assad forces under Russian air cover crept up to this city, seized from Isis by the YPG last August.

The strange geopolitical bedfellows Syria’s chaos encourages has led to speculation the US will stand by and watch as Raqqa rid of Isis falls back under the Assad regime. That would be a victory for Russia, as well as Iran. Syria’s Kurds have no wish to govern this mainly Sunni Arab city, only to use its liberation as collateral for their own freedom.

While some of this messiness is down to the complexity of a treacherous conflict, and the “very difficult choices” Mr Tillerson mentioned, it is nonetheless astonishing that Russia is thinking about Syria’s future by, for example, drawing up a blueprint for decentralised power, while the US is almost silent.

Mainstream Sunni Arab forces, springing from a Sunni majority of about two-thirds of the Syrian population, are much diminished by regime repression and jihadist attrition. But few will reconcile with a Syria abandoned to the Assad dictatorship. That means Isis and al-Qaeda still have a deep pool to fish in.

https://www.ft.com/content/f66687d0-190 ... d2cb31823a
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