Syria Blog Live
Updates on the situation in Syria, as attacks on ISIL by the US and its allies add a new dimension to the civil war that began in 2011 and has killed more than 190,000 people.
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Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned the United Nations that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a far greater threat than the armed group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which he compared to the Palestinian group Hamas.
Al Jazeera's James Bays reports from New York.
Syrian activists say fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant are within five kilometres of Kobane.
Turkish tanks have been positioned in the hills near the Syrian border as mortar shells landed on both sides.
Al Jazeera's Stefanie Dekker reports from Kobane.
The Syrian Arab Republic reiterates that it stands with any international - Wallid Muallem, in speech to UN General Assembly.
effort aimed at fighting and combating terrorism, and stresses that this must
be done in full respect of the lives of innocent civilians and within the
frame of full respect of national sovereignty, and in conformity with international conventions
And here's our diplomatic editor James Bays and Marwan Bishara, our senior political analyst, discussing the UN speech by Wallid Muallem.
Meanwhile, the US central command has just sent the world its latest report on attacks on ISIL.
Okay, he's still talking. I've clipped an eight minute segment where he talks about the threat of ISIL beyond Syria and Iraq, and attacks the exiled opposition Syrian National Coalition. Interestingly he doesn't do much condemning of the US attack in his country. It'll be uploaded in a few minutes.
Wallid Muallem, Syria's foreign minister, is speaking at the UN. I'll have an audio recording of the speech up as soon as it's finished. He's calling for a united campaign against ISIL.
If you can get our live feed, we're broadcasting the speech. www.aljazeera.com
A timely analysis from Al Jazeera contributor Omar Koosh on why Turkey matters in the fight against ISIL. You can read it here:
Turkey wants to persuade the anti-ISIL coalition that military solution alone will not be enough.
No idea why Scribble decided to post that last message as a quote. I am not the type to quote myself. And it should have said 15 tanks. Anyway for those readers who may be wondering, the Turkish tanks sent to the border with Syria appear to be M60T Pattons, a Turkish upgraded variant of the US Cold War-era MBT.
Our correspondent Stefanie Dekker says they came from an army base behind the refugee camp opposite Kobane (Ain al-Arab).
Turkey has deployed 12 tanks to the border with Syria after ISIL fired artillery shells into Turkish territory, our correspondent Stefanie Dekker reports. You can read Al Jazeera's story here:
www.aljazeera.comGraeme BakerSep 29, 2014 at 5:44 PM
Regime air strikes in Raqqa
The Local Coordination Committees activist network are now reporting that "[Assad] warplanes launched an air strike on al-Rashid secondary school's playground in Raqqa".
ISIL uses the building as one of its many headquarters. According to local activists, these offices were evacuated prior to the start of the US-led coalition air strikes.
Clashes around Kobane
Activists from the Kurdish YPG movement in Kobane (Ain al-Arab in Arabic) say heavy clashes with ISIL fighters are ongoing in villages outside the town. They say no side is advancing.
'Oil refineries destroyed'
The US-led coalition destroyed three makeshift oil refineries in rebel-held territory early on Sunday, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The coalition strikes hit close by the Turkish frontier, near the town of Tal Abyad.
The makeshift facilities where crude oil is refined with basic equipment are generally mobile and manned by local people, not ISIL fighters. The oil trade does however involve ISIL and the US says the group was earning as much as $3m a day from oil revenues before air strikes were launched.
Human Rights Watch demands probe of civilian deaths
Human Rights Watch says apparent US missile strikes on Idlib that killed at least seven civilians should be investigated for possible violations of the laws of war.
In a statement, the group cited residents giving their accounts of the September 23 attack on Kafr Deryan. It said video footage corroborates witness accounts that civilians were killed by Tomahawk cruise missiles, which are in the US arsenal.
"The residents, who spoke via Skype to Human Rights Watch, said that at approximately 3:30am, a series of missiles struck a compound of the militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, including a weapons depot, about one kilometer from the village. Two of the residents said that shortly thereafter other missiles struck two homes in Kafr Deryan itself, killing at least five children, two women, and two men, all of whom they identified by name. While two of the residents said the men were civilians, the third said they were members of Jabhat al-Nusra."
Fresh coalition strikes reported
Activists say the US-led coalition have carried out more strikes in Raqqa and Hasakeh
In Raqqa the attacks targeted al-Zarqawi training camp
and oil facilities in Tal Abyad.
In southern Hasakeh, six people said to be oil workers were killed in al-Fedghmi village.
The US Central Command has released a video of an air strike on an ISIL compound near Kobane, a Kurdish border town.
The al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front denounced US-led air strikes on Syria, saying they amounted to a war against Islam and vowing to retaliate against Western and Arab countries that took part.
"We are in a long war. This war will not end in months nor years. This war could last for decades," group spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri said.
"It's not a war against Nusra Front, it's a war against Islam," he added in an audio message published on the group's social media network in its first reaction since the launch of the US-led strikes on Tuesday.
The air strikes that include some Gulf and European nations killed scores of Nusra fighters in an attack on a base in a rebel held area of northwestern Syria on the first day of the military campaign.
"These countries have done a despicable act that will put them on the list of those targeted by jihadist forces all over the world," the spokesman said.
ISIL fighters continue to advance on Ain al-Arab despite US air strikes and fierce resistance from Kurdish forces.
Heavy fighting rages around the mainly Kurdish town of Kobane, on the border with Turkey. Our correspondent says it appears ISIL is shelling the eastern part of the town.
Activists in Kobane, under attack from ISIL, say US-led coalition has launched air raids in northern Syria.
The Syrian army has retaken control of Adra al-Omalia, northeast of Damascus, this week after rebels were forced to withdraw.
Activists say that now, the main rebel stronghold of Douma comes under direct threat of government attacks from the north.
State news agency SANA showed footage of the advance in Adra.
From the BBC: As at least 160,000 people have fled to Turkey from the Kurdish border town of Kobane, some fear a a repeat of the atrocities against the Yazidi community in northern Iraq. Correspondent Paul Wood has entered the town and sent a report from the frontlineWatch the report on bbc.com
The US-led coalition has hit ISIL targets in Homs for the first time Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
The coalition also targeted ISIL in the town of Minbej, east of Aleppo, for the first time, as well as multiple targets in the province of Raqqa, the monitoring group said.
Its director Rami Abdelrahman said the targets hit in Homs province were far away from the frontline with forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
Strikes on Raqqa
Activists in Raqqa report that multiple coalition attacks in the province have targeted ISIL positions and that dozens of fighters were killed.
Several attacks targeted Tabqa air base, which ISL captured from the regime last month. An ISIL training camp was also hit, as well as an ISIL checkpoint.
An activist from the Kurdish YPG group tells Al Jazeera that the US-led coalition launched four air strikes on ISIL locations in the eastern suburbs of Kobane, near the Turkish border, early this morning. The activist said one of the targets was the village of Alishera, where ISIL has a strong presence.
Clashes between Kurdish fighters and ISIL are ongoing around Kobane. Our correspondent Stefanie Dekker tweets from the Turkish side of the border.
ISIL fighters are moving closer to the Kurdish town of Kobane, on the Syrian Turkish border.
Kurds are blaming the Turkish government for not protecting them or allowing them to fight back.
Al Jazeera's Stephanie Dekker reports from the border between Turkey and Syria.
Russia's Lavrov questions legality of US strikes on Syria
Russia questioned on Friday the legality of US and Arab air strikes in Syria to target ISIL because the action was taken without the approval and cooperation of Moscow's ally Damascus.
"We believe that any action taken globally, including use of force, to overcome terrorist threats should be done in accordance with international law," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.
Lavrov said that approval was also needed of the country where the action was to take place.
"It's very important that such cooperation with Syrian authorities is established, even now that it's an accomplished fact," Lavrov said.
"Excluding Syrian authorities from the struggle that is taking place on their territory not only goes against international law but undermines the efficiency of the effort." [Reuters]
US government condemns execution of Iraqi human rights lawyer
The United States government has condemned the killing of an Iraqi human rights lawyer.
The White House issued the following statement:
"The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the torture and murder of Iraqi human rights lawyer Samira Salih al-Nuaimi by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). We extend our heartfelt condolences to her family and friends and to the people of Iraq, whose future she was trying to make brighter.
"Ms. al-Nuaimi and other women and girls in Iraq and Syria have been killed for refusing to abide by ISIL’s draconian efforts to strip them of their rights. ISIL’s gruesome tactics, particularly its oppression of women, once again reveal that this cruel and barbaric terrorist organization seeks to inflict violence and fear through its distortion of faith.
"After ISIL attacked Mosul, Ms. al-Nuaimi courageously continued her legal and humanitarian work there – despite the serious risks to her safety – because she believed in exposing injustice and helping those in need. As we mourn her tragic loss, the international community must carry on her legacy by speaking with a strong, united voice to condemn and counter ISIL’s lies and to combat its tormented and divisive ideology in the same brave way as Samira Salih al-Nuaimi."
Lawmakers approve motion for Britain to join US-led air strikes aimed at destroying ISIL in Iraq.
Al Jazeera's Jonah Hull reports from London.
New wave of US air strikes in Syria: defence official
US aircraft have launched a fresh wave of bombing raids against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Syria, in the fifth consecutive day of air strikes in the country, a defence official told AFP.
"I can confirm US air operations are ongoing in Syria," said the senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The mission is now similar to US-led air raids undertaken in Iraq, with "near continuous" combat flight operations over Syria, the official said.
The US military's Central Command, which leads American forces in the Middle East, did not issue any details of the latest air strikes.
Earlier, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel told reporters that US and Arab coalition warplanes have carried out more than 40 bombing strikes this week against ISIL, including attacks on the organisation's oil refineries.
A Western-backed opposition force of around 12,000 to 15,000 would be required to retake areas of eastern Syria now controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the top US military officer said on Friday.
"Five thousand has never been the end state ... Twelve to 15,000 is what we believe they would need to recapture lost territory in eastern Syria," General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Last week, Congress gave temporary approval to a plan for the United States to train members of Syria's moderate opposition to combat ISIL, which is seeking to expand its hardline rule from a base in eastern Syria. The initial number of opposition fighters to be trained by the United States is expected to be around 5,000.
The Pentagon spokesperson says the US-led coalition has launched 43 strikes on Syria since the operation against ISIL there began on Tuesday overnight.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) appealed to all parties in the widening conflicts in Syria and Iraq to spare civilians and let in aid.
The proliferation of armed groups and recent international air strikes in Iraq and Syria have "compounded the humanitarian consequences of the conflicts in both countries", the aid agency
said in a statement.
"Under international humanitarian law, every party to these conflicts must refrain from harming civilians, must protect medical personnel and facilities, and must allow humanitarian workers to bring help," said Dominik Stillhart, ICRC director of operations.