Daesh loses final strongholds

Within the same day, Daesh (IS) has lost its final strongholds in Syria and Iraq. 

Early on Friday, the Syrian Army said it had recaptured Deir al-Zour and hours later Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said al-Qa’im right across the border had been liberated by government forces.

Iraqi forces said they have retaken the last border post-Daesh held between Iraq and Syria.

Soon after, the United States said it carried out its first airstrikes against so-called Islamic State militants in Somalia.

On Oct 17, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces captured the de facto capital of Daesh, Raqqa, in an offensive that started in early June.

Daesh was eradicated from the major stronghold of Mosul in Iraq in July after a nearly year-long offensive that started in October of last year by Kurdish Peshmerga, Iraqi military, and Shia militias.

Many observers have marked Friday as the day Daesh lost its ambitions of being a so-called territorial Islamic State, but the ideology remains prevalent and powerful.

This can be seen by “lone wolf” attacks carried out in western countries such as the recent truck ramming in the city of New York, with the key suspect claiming fealty to Daesh.

Daesh has crafted or inspired 143 terror incidents in 29 countries outside Iraq and Syria, killing over 2,043 individuals.

Daesh is also active in Somalia, Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Afghanistan and Yemen with aspiring or approved branches in the Philippines, Egypt, Mali, Tunisia, the Caucasus, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

It is not clear yet whether Iraq and Syria-based fighters will be able to escape to one of the other areas in Africa or Asia, but over 50,000 fighters in the two countries have been killed since it took swathes of territory in 2014, according to US Special Operations Command.

More details to follow. Image 1 of Daesh (IS) fighters in Syria from Strategic Culture Foundation. 


Lebanese army kicks off an offensive against an Islamic State enclave on the border with Syria

The Lebanese army kicked off an offensive this morning against an Islamic State enclave on the border with Syria, as Hezbollah announced an assault on the terrorists from the Syrian side. The Lebanese army started their operation at 5:00 a.m. (0200 GMT), targeting Islamic State positions near the town of Ras Baalbek with rockets, artillery and attack-helicopters. 

The area is the last part of the Lebanese-Syrian frontier under terrorist control. A military source said the offensive was “making advances on several hills taken in the push against the militants entrenched on fortified high ground, in outposts and in caves.” The operation by Hezbollah (alongside the Syrian army) targeted the area across the border in the western Qalamoun region of Syria. 

Hezbollah said their fighters were ascending a series of strategic heights known as the “Mosul Mountains” that overlook several unofficial border crossings used by terrorists. 

A statement from Hezbollah said the group was meeting its pledge to “remove the terrorist threat at the borders of the nation and to fight side by side” with the Syrian army. The Lebanese army said it wasn’t coordinating their assault with Hezbollah or the Syrian army.  

Published by: The War Files

4 detained in relationship to Thursdays Terror attacks

Four terrorists, 3 Moroccans and 1 Spaniard, have been detained in relation to the Catalonia attacks that saw 14 people killed and 130 injured, police said. Authorities still have yet to identify the driver of the van in the Barcelona attack, Catalan regional police official Josep Lluis Trapero said. 

“None of the four detainees arrested following the Cambrils and #Barcelona attacks had a history of terrorism-related offenses,” Catalan police tweeted. The detained suspects were preparing a much bigger attack, according to police. 

Earlier, police said that an explosion on Wednesday night in the town of Alcanar is believed to be linked to the attack in Barcelona. Initially, police presumed it was a gas leak that caused the destruction of a house, which led to at least one death and several injuries.  

Published: The War Files

Islamic State claims responsibility for van attack in Barcelona

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a vehicle attack in central Barcelona. 13 people were reportedly killed, with a death toll expected to possibly rise, along with dozens injured, after a van rammed into pedestrians at full speed. 

Their (IS) statement claimed there were “multiple soldiers of the Islamic State.” Daesh, via Amaq News Agency, stated the attack was in response to the US-led coalition’s operation against them in Iraq and Syria. Police have already declared the attack a “terrorist incident” and have made two arrests so far. 

One man identified, Driss Oukabir, is said to have been responsible for renting the van involved in the ramming. He denies responsibility. The driver still hasn’t been found. After ramming the pedestrians and crashing, the driver purportedly fled on foot and managed to evade captivity.

Published by: The War Files