Escalation / Destabilization Conflict

Islamic State and Syrian regime using cluster munitions, HRW

The jihadist Islamic State (IS) has a training camp in Turkey near the Syrian border, reported Turkish media on Monday

Smoke in the Syrian town of Quneitra during fighting between Syrian army and rebels, as  seen from the Israel side of the border

(ANSAmed) – BEIRUT/ANKARA – Islamic State jihadists have used cluster munitions in Syria in at least one location in recent weeks, Human Rights Watch said on Monday citing ”credible evidence”. The Syrian regime has also been using the widely banned munitions since 2012 and continues to do so, it noted. IS was found to have used ground-fired cluster munitions in July in a Kurdish-majority area along the border between Syria and Iraq. Cluster munitions contain dozens or hundreds of small bomblets that they spread over large areas when they explode. HRW cited local Kurdish sources as saying that the July 12 and August 14 attacks in the Ayn Al-Arab (known as ‘Kobani’ in Kurdish) area had killed 4 Kurdish fighters and an 11-year-old boy. The human rights organization was not able to independently verify the reports but has ruled out that cluster munitions could have been dropped in that location on that date by the Syrian regime or the Kurds themselves. HRW also spoke out on Monday about the use of cluster munitions by the Bashar Al-Assad regime in Manbij, another city not far from the Turkish-Syrian border, on August 21. Six civilians were killed and 41 others were injured in the attack. HRW states that it received from a local, independent organization evidence documenting the attack. According to evidence collected by HRW, since the outbreak of the conflict in Syria in 2011, the regime has used cluster bombs repeatedly in at least 10 of Syria’s 14 regions. .

The jihadist Islamic State (IS) has a training camp in Turkey near the Syrian border, reported Turkish media on Monday, citing an investigative report by the German television channel Ard.
The armed group has been responsible for numerous atrocities in Syria and Iraq. Opposition daily Sozcu reports that Ard has shown photos of the camp, near Gaziantep in southern Anatolia, where the terrorists are sent into Iraq and Syria after being trained.
About 400 youths from Germany have been trained at the camp, reports Ard. The government under former prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is now head of state, has repeatedly been accused by the opposition and international media of supported armed jihadists and IS – and not only the ‘official’ rebels of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Ankara has always denied the accusations. According to the independent daily Taraf, which quotes US sources, IS also exports 40,000-60,000 barrels of oil per day produced in the areas it has taken control of in northern Syria and Iraq. The oil is thought to be refined in Turkey, reports Taraf.

Clashes between Syrian insurgents, including al Qaeda-linked fighters, and forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad resumed on Monday on the Golan Heights right next to the Israeli-Syrian ceasefire line, witnesses told ANSA via Skype. The eye witnesses are close to the Qunaytra border crossing which was conquered by rebels a few days ago. The sources confirmed Israeli press reports claiming that Damascus’ air force and artillery are attempting to re-gain control of the Qunaytra area. A mortar shell from Syria exploded on Monday morning in the occupied Golan Heights, without causing victims. The Israeli army has however boosted its presence and has closed an area close to the Qunaytra crossing to civilians. (ANSAmed)