The latest happenings in Syria and Iraq include around 521 militant fighters and 32 civilians who have reportedly been killed since airstrikes began.. Around 464 of those reported killed may have been Islamic State (IS) militants, while 57 may have been Nusra Front fighters, or those affiliated with al-Qaeda. Five of the 32 civilians who were reported killed may have been women while six may have been children.
Reuters reported Britain and France were also involved in targeting IS militants who are located in Iraq. Officials from Washington D.C. reportedly stated the airstrikes occurring are justified by Article 51 of a United Nation (U.N.) Charter which allows for “self-defense” against an armed attack. This most likely pertains to U.S. and European personnel stationed in Iraq and video coverage of alleged beheadings aimed toward the U.S. and Britain.
According to BBC News, the Syrian government may also be targeting rebel groups. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which is stationed in the U.K., reported about 200 airstrikes may have taken place since Monday, Oct. 20 in western areas of Syria. In fact, approximately 12 to 20 airstrikes may have occurred each day prior to around 200 which may have occurred within a 36 hour span since Monday.
BBC News also displayed a diagram which stated about 310 airstrikes have occurred in Iraq since Aug. 8 and around 231 in Syria, according to an institute of the U.S. Central Command. Washington Post stated around 55 people may have been killed and more than 100 wounded by Syrian military attacks that took place near two military bases located in the countryside of Idlib.
The latest happenings in Syria and Iraq also include attacks which may currently be taking place in Kobane, a town located in northern Syria. BBC News stated Kurdish fighters have been under attack, so U.S. and Arab aircraft have been aiding them by also dropping supplies. BBC News stated some of the supplies may have ended up in the hands of IS militants, however. Still, John Allen, the Special Presidential Envoy of the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL was reported as saying the 28 bundles of “small arms, ammunition, and other weapons” were minor and provided by the Kurdistan Regional Government, which is based in northern Iraq.
About 120 Peshmerga fighters were reportedly approved for deployment to Kobane as well. Turkey reportedly allowed these fighters to cross over to Syria through the Turkey border, although BBC News reported Turkish Kurds were not allowed to cross. Prior to Monday, Oct. 20, Turkey had limited their involvement in attacks against Syria, which included limiting access to use their border. Turkey may have changed their policy, however, due to a recent attempted kidnapping which took place on Friday, Oct. 17.
According to The Telegraph from the U.K., Abu Issa, a Syrian rebel commander of Thuwar Raqqa, and Ammar, his 20-year-old son, were involved in an alleged attempted kidnapping which took place in Urfa, Turkey. The two were allegedly snatched by IS militants who blocked a road they were on while four men grabbed them from their vehicle. The Telegraph stated the driver of their vehicle may have been in on the planned kidnapping.
The Telegraph also stated the driver is believed to be a close advisor to Issa. According to Ahmed Abdul Khader, who speaks for the rebel group, Thuwar Raqqa, the driver may have purposely driven to a quiet road. When Issa told the driver to go the other way, Khader stated the driver simply turned off the vehicle and allowed the kidnappers to take them away.
The Telegraph stated Issa had recognized two kidnappers as associates of IS. The two were reportedly taken towards the Turkey border of Ackakale, but due to an increase of military presence, a smuggler failed to cross them into Syria, The Telegraph stated. They were reportedly taken back to Urfa and left at a hospital due to reports that the commander had been shot toward his side during the attempted kidnapping.
The latest happenings in Syria and Iraq appear to involve Turkey as well, even though leaders in Turkey had wanted to limit involvement. Because of an attempted kidnapping involving Issa, a top commander of Thuwar Raqqa of Syria, Turkey may have shifted their policy to allow Peshmerga fighters from Iraq to help Kurdish fighters in Kobane, Syria.
By Liz Pimentel