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Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Obama vows more strikes on ISIL in Syria. (the US is not fighting alone)

US President Barack Obama has said that the participation of five Arab nations in Syria airstrikes against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters "makes it clear to the world this is not America's fight alone".
In a short statement on Tuesday, hours after the first US-led airstrikes hit the group's headquarters in eastern Syria, Obama vowed to continue the fight, which he said was vital to the security of the United States, the Middle East and the world.

"Once again, it must be clear to anyone who would plot against America and do Americans harm that we will not tolerate safe havens for terrorists who threaten our people," Obama said on Tuesday before leaving the White House for the United Nations in New York.
He said the joint fight against ISIL would take time, pledging to build more international support for the effort.
He added that the US was proud to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates in conducting the strikes.

'Lengthy campaign'
The US-led military coalition launched the airstrikes early on Tuesday, pounding strongholds of the ISIL fighters across northern and eastern Syria.
The opening salvo hit in what Obama warned to be a lengthy campaign aiming to defeat the group who have seized control of a huge swath of territory spanning the Syria-Iraq border.
The air campaign expanded to also hit al-Qaeda's branch in Syria, known as the al-Nusra Front, which has fought against ISIL. Washington considers it a terror group threatening the US.
Syria's Foreign Ministry said Washington told Damascus' envoy to the United Nations of the impending raids shortly before they began. It also said US Secretary of State John Kerry passed a message through Iraq's foreign minister to Syria's top diplomat to inform Damascus of the plans.
John Kirby, spokesman for the Pentagon, said on Tuesday that more than 160 munitions were fired on ISIL targets in Syria. He said that the US had no indication so far that any civilians were killed during the strikes, adding that assessments were under way.

Strikes on training compounds
The US and five Arab countries began their airstrikes on the group's targets in Syria around 3 am on Tuesday Syrian time. 
Bahrain and the UAE confirmed the Gulf role, saying their air forces struck "terrorist sites and positions."
A Jordanian government spokesman also confirmed his country's air forces took part, accusing the ISIL of trying to infiltrate its borders.
"We will not hesitate to take further actions to target and kill terrorists who are trying to attack our country," said Mohammad al-Momani, a government spokesman.
The strikes hit the group's training compounds and command centers, storage facilities and vehicles in its de facto capital Raqqa, in northeastern Syria, and the surrounding province as well as the stretch of territory controlled by the group in eastern Syria leading to the Iraqi border, including the areas of Deir el-Zour, Abu Kamal and Hasaka, according to US officials.

'Silently slaughtered'
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that at least 70 ISIL fighters were killed and more than 300 wounded in Raqqa and the east. The Observatory has a network of activists around the country.
Rami Abdurrahman, the head of the Observatory, said about 22 airstrikes hit Raqqa province in addition to 30 in Deir el-Zour province.
Among the targets was a military air base captured by the extremists in the town of Tabqa and the town of Tel Abyad on the border with Turkey, the Observatory and another media collective reported.
The collective, entitled "Raqqa is being silently slaughtered," said the strikes also hit the governorate headquarters in Raqqa and the Brigade 93 Syrian army base, both controlled by the Islamic State group.
Further west, the strikes hit the village of Kfar Derian, a al-Nusra Front stronghold.
Around a dozen al-Nusra Front fighters were killed as well as 10 civilians, according to two activists based in nearby Aleppo, Mohammed al-Dughaim and Abu Raed. One of the group's best snipers, known as Abu Youssef al-Turki, was among those killed, al-Dughaim said.
An amateur video posted online on Tuesday shows explosions said to be from airstrikes going off at night in an open area near Kfar Derian. Another video taken in daylight shows locals standing on a massive, dusty pile of shattered concrete blocks and twisted rebar. Some villagers can be seen standing on a rooftop next door gazing at the wreckage.
[aljazeera.com]
23/9/14

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