2 Coalition Bombs ISIS in Assyria/Rojava: IS Threatens to Kill Hostages
Air strikes target Isis militants who captured Christians
The US-led coalition has launched air strikes against Islamic State (Isis) militants who took 220 plus Assyrian Christians captive in Syria this week, a monitoring group has said, as leaders of the community demanded military action and new weapons supplies to fight off the latest assault on minorities in the Middle East.
On Thursday, the U.S.-led international coalition’s warplanes bombed locations of the Islamic State group (IS/ISIS) in the vicinity of the town of Tel Temir (50 km west of Hasakah), in northeastern Syria.
Speaking to ARA News in Tel Temir, civil rights activist Omar Khalil said that the coalition’s warplanes targeted IS militants in the Assyrian villages of Aghibish, Hwaijah, Tel Fwaida, and Mount Abdulaziz, without verifying the losses in the radical group’s ranks.
This is the second time the coalition has targeted the areas following the IS jihadists’ attack on villages with Assyrian majority in the countryside of the town of Tel Temir.
Activists warn of end of Christian presence in Middle East as Isis seizes 90
Assyrian sources in Hassakeh told the Guardian they believed the actual number was between 350 and 400, and that they were taken to nearby Jabal Abdul Aziz in the mountainous countryside.
Clashes are ongoing near Tal Tamr, an Assyrian town that straddles the river, where forces from the Syriac Military Council militia and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) – the militia that emerged victorious in the battle for the border town of Kobani – are defending the town.
The air strikes targeted Isis positions nearby. “What our people are facing is part of a series of attempts to uproot them from here,” Kino Gabriel, one of the leaders of the Syriac Military Council, said by telephone from Hassakeh. “But this time we are ready, we will defend ourselves, we will not allow another Seyfo to happen to us. We will sacrifice everything.” Seyfo is another word for the genocide of the Assyrians by the Ottomans. That history is not the subject of this post, but understanding the zeitgeist from the Assyrian perspective is very much related.
The council called on the US-led coalition to intervene on the ground in the area to save the Assyrians and to supply them with heavy weapons to fight off the Isis advance, drawing parallels with western support for the Kurdish Peshmerga in Iraq and the YPG in Kobani.
“IS attacks on the Assyrian villages began at dawn on Monday and resulted in the group’s control over a number of Assyrian villages there, including Tel Jazeera, Tel Hormuz, Tel Shamiram, Qabr Shamiya and Yalda Palace,” the source told ARA News.
In the meantime, the Assyrian Network for Human Rights issued a statement on Thursday, of which ARA News received a copy, confirming high number of abductees among Assyrians, which reached 255 people, mostly women, children and the elderly, as well as dozens of Assyrian and some YPG fighters whose fate remained unknown until the moment.
The network said that the missing people are from the village of Tel Shamiram (35), 93 people from the village of Tal Jazeera, three people from the village of Qabr Shamiya, including a woman, and dozens others from the village of Tel Goran, including women and children.
“The air strikes provide support, but there needs to be a presence on the ground, to take control and liberate areas, and destroy Daesh,” said Gabriel, using the Arabic acronym for Isis.
He said the Assyrian militias need more advanced weapons, including guided
rockets, artillery and armoured vehicles.
And in a new statement on Thursday, the council said the new weaponry would be
needed to change the balance on the ground against Isis.
Isis has been fighting against a Kurdish offensive in the area led by the YPG, which is backed by the US-led coalition. Assyrian militias have supported and fought alongside the YPG against Isis.
SOHR said 132 Isis fighters had died in the offensive since Saturday.
The Islamic State transferred many Assyrian abductees from the villages near
Tel Temir to locations and headquarters held by the group in Mount Abdulaziz,
west of Hasakah, while many others were moved to detention centers in Raqqa
province, including, of course, Raqqa itself - IS' stronghold. The group vowed,
according to local activists, to execute them if the coalition’s air strikes did not stop attacks on its headquarters in Syria and Iraq.
Proof that Arabs should not be stereotyped as supporting Daesh:
Assyrians and Kurds (YPG) are battling IS together. Here are a few pictures, perhaps already on LL, of a western fighter that joined the YPG and lost his life in defending Assyrian Christians. Evidently he was with Kurdish YPG in an APC or similar, and it was surrounded by ISIS. He jumped out to try and break the attack and was taken.
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