New US-led airstrikes hit Syrian territory – monitor
Published time: September 24, 2014 07:01
Fresh strikes by a US-led coalition have hit Syrian territory near the Turkish border held by IS (formerly ISIS) militants, according to the organization that monitors situation in the country.
Military planes that conducted attacks came from the direction of Turkey and were not Syrian, head of UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdulrahman told Reuters.
He added that the planes carried out strikes to the west of the strategic city of Kobani.
The first attacks by the US-led alliance were launched on Tuesday, with 30 militants allegedly killed in the airstrikes. The attacks also killed eight civilians, including three children.
Last week, the radical jihadist group Islamic State started an offensive against the mainly Kurdish city of Kobani, and 130,000 Syrian Kurds fled the violence.
‘Not some outfit with a few Kalashnikovs’: UK journalist held hostage by ISIS warns of another Vietnam in new video
Published time: September 23, 2014 12:18
Edited time: September 23, 2014 15:02
Edited time: September 23, 2014 15:02
The Islamic State (ISIS, now known as IS) has released a new video in which its hostage, British journalist John Cantlie, criticizes US-led strikes against the extremist group in Syria and warned that western powers should have learnt from Vietnam.
The video, which is the second instalment of its “lecture series,” appeared to have been recorded before strikes overnight launched by US warplanes and partners on IS targets in Syria. Cantlie says that Syrian president Assad has been "approached for permission to enter Syria."
He argues that US President Barack Obama is now launching a war he cannot win.
The British journalist calls himself a “long-term prisoner” of IS who has been abandoned by the UK government. Cantlie is seated at a table wearing an orange jumpsuit, in a reference to what Muslim prisoners at Guantánamo Bay are wearing – IS has beheaded three western hostages in recent weeks, who were also wearing orange jumpsuits.
“In this program, we’ll see how the Western governments are hastily marching towards all-out war in Iraq and Syria without paying any heed to the lessons of the recent past,” Cantlie says. “Not since Vietnam have we witnessed such a potential mess in the making.”
“The president once called George Bush’s Iraq conflict a ‘dumb war’ and couldn’t wait to distance America from it when he came into power. Now he’s being inextricably drawn back in,” Cantlie says. He calls air strikes on IS "America's Gulf War 3."
Cantlie adds: “Current estimates of 15,000 troops needed to fight the Islamic State are laughably low. The State has more mujahideen than this. This is not some undisciplined outfit with a few Kalashnikovs.”
“It's all quite a circus,” he says. “Air strikes, the creation of last-minute puppet governments, advisory teams on the ground, wooing previous enemies to join in [while a picture of Putin and Obama is shown] and trans-border incursions into a country that's been in civil war for the past three years, all the while underestimating the fighting strength and zeal of the opponent.”
Cantlie worked as a freelance journalist for The Sunday Times of London and The Telegraph. He was traveling with US journalist James Foley when they were kidnapped in Syria close to the Turkish border in November 2012. Just a few months before his abduction, Cantlie was previously kidnapped in Syria with Dutch photojournalist Jeroen Oerlemans by a group of extremists and was held for a week before the Free Syrian Army secured his release.
The 5-minute, 55-second “lecture” is the second video showing Cantlie in less than a week. The first was released last Thursday.
Cantlie ends the video saying: "Join me again for the next program," indicating that this is the second installment in a series.
ISIS controls large swathes of territory across Syria and Iraq in its self-proclaimed “caliphate.”
Britain, like the United States, has a strict policy against ransom payments for its citizens.