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Tuesday, September 30, 2014
Iraq / Syria Regional War Updates ( September 30 , 2014 ) - US Expands Syria Strikes: Not Just a War Against ISIS Attacks Hit Four Different Provinces Today ...... US Killed Syria Civilians After Mistaking Grain Silo for ‘Jihadist Base’ Observatory: At Least 19 Civilians Killed in US Air War .... Tweets of the day !
US airstrikes seem to be expanding in scope today in Syria, with four different provinces of the country hit in attacks, including areas where ISIS is virtually non-existent.
President Obama has been insisting it is an oversimplification to say this war is America versus ISIS. Indeed, that’s the case, but while the president is seeking to downplay the scope of the conflict, the signs are that he’s at war with actually a much broader swath of the Syrian rebellion.
Jabhat al-Nusra, one of the other rebel factions that has found itself unofficially a target of the US air war, through the attacks on the non-existent Khorasan faction (which is really just Nusra),slammed the US strikes as a full scale “war against Islam.”
That is an overstatement, of course, but as the US strikes escalate, and the targets span more and more of rebel-held Syria, the more extreme factions of the Syrian rebellion are going to increasingly see this as not a US war against ISIS, but a US war against the rebellion in general.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, US airstrikes against ISIS-held Syria today hit grain silo and other civilian targets, killing at least two civilians and burning multiple silos full of harvested grain.
Which is the inevitable consequence of the escalating US air war against Syria, with no real intelligence about which ISIS fighters are on the ground or where, and after yesterday’s attacks on oil refineries, the US risks its strikes being seen locally as targeting the civilian infrastructure primarily.
Civilian deaths have been documented in previous US strikes as well, including eight civilians slain in last week’s attacks on Khorasan. The Syrian Observatory says they’ve counted at least 19 civilians killed in US strikes overall.
Collateral damage killings are inevitable in a US air war that spans large portions of both Iraq and Syria and aims to “destroy” ISIS in several major cities, but racking up large body counts of innocent bystanders early in the war risks alienating the locals that it claims are so vital in the conflict.
At Least 256 killed across Iraq As Battles Rage near Baghdad
Only 17 non-militant deaths were reported today and no wounded, but that is an unlikely number, because there was heavy fighting just west of Baghdad. An unconfirmed report suggests that a thousand soldiers may have been killed in that operation alone. At least 229 militants were killed in other battles and airstrikes and 33 more were wounded.
Turkish tanks have positioned themselves along the Syrian border near Kobanê, while police are preventing Kurds from streaming back across the border to fight the Islamic State militants approaching the city. Although 80 percent of residents have fled, those that remain have to contend with diminishing supplies and dirty water. Near Sinjar, witnesses say they are seeing many militants traveling towards Syria, probably to join in the battle.
Amiriyat al-Falluja is said to be clear of militants now that Iraq forces have stopped the advance there, but it is caught between Falluja and Jurf al-Sakhar, so it is unclear how long this calm will last. A standoff on the road north is reported, while militants have a stronghold to the south. Canon Andrew White, the vicar at St. George’s Church in nearby Baghdad, reportedly said that 1,000 soldiers were killed during the offensive. That has not been confirmed, but the Iraqi government has been reluctant to admit how many soldiers and volunteers are actually dying.
Another army base is reporting a desperate need of help just days after nearby bases were overtaken and many soldiers were killed or kidnapped. This one is in Albu Bath, and 240 soldiers are stationed there.