Archive for the ‘ISIS’ Category

Flynn Delayed Anti-ISIS Plan That Turkey Opposed – NBCNews.com

A former senior Obama official confirmed to NBC News that after months of disagreement, the Obama administration had decided to arm the Syrian Kurds but in January incoming National Security Adviser Mike Flynn asked his counterpart, Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice, not to do it.

McClatchy first reported that Flynn had blocked the plan to arm the Syrian Kurds for an attack on Raqqa, the ISIS capital in Syria, a move that was opposed by the Turkish government, which Flynn had been paid $500,000 to represent.

Related: Flynn Attended Intel Briefings While Taking Money To Lobby For Turkey

Flynn had not yet registered as a foreign agent or disclosed that Turkey had paid him as a lobbyist. After he was fired as national security adviser, Flynn registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Department.

The former Obama official told NBC News that several senior officials in the outgoing administration had lobbied for months to arm the Syrian Kurds, known as the YPG, but both President Obama and adviser Ben Rhodes were against it. The administration went back and forth with the Turks about the issue until December 2016, when Obama decided it was “the right thing to do,” the official said.

Since the implementation would extend past Trump’s inauguration, Rice told Flynn of the decision in early January. Flynn told her not to move forward with the plan. He said he didn’t trust the Obama administration’s decision-making process and the Trump administration would undertake its own review of ISIS policy, according to the official.

After Flynn was fired as national security adviser on Feb. 13, the Trump administration opted to arm the YPG after all.

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn arrives to deliver a statement during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington on February 1, 2017. Carlos Barria / Reuters file

The Obama White House was surprised Flynn opposed the plan to arm the YPG, according to two former Obama officials. The former Obama officials insist the review by Trump officials delayed the final encirclement and then assault on Raqqa, the ISIS capital, by anti-ISIS forces.

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A U.S. military official also said the decision slowed the assault on Raqqa, but not by much. Anti-ISIS forces would not have been ready to go into Raqqa in January. Now the city is encircled, but the Syrian Kurds still don’t have the equipment they need to start moving into the city.

“It certainly caused an operational slowdown, but not one that they can’t recover from,” the U.S. military official said.

A lawyer for Flynn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Flynn Delayed Anti-ISIS Plan That Turkey Opposed – NBCNews.com

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Disillusioned ISIS fighters heading to Europe – TRUNEWS

Europe should be bracing for a wave of dangerous and disillusioned Islamic State fighters says the head of the U.S. Security Councils counterterrorism agency. The jihadists, recently defeated in Syria and Iraq, could possibly be heading to Europe and seeking revenge.

Scores of foreign Islamic State fighters, determined to come back to Europe, are more dangerousthan previous waves of returnees, Jean-Paul Laborde, the Executive Director of Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate,told reporters on Thursday. Some may be eager to seek revenge after defeats on the battlefield, including in recent confrontations in Mosul.

The first wave of the returnees was mainly made up of young people who went to Syria and Iraq for T-shirts and photos,Laborde said. They came back disillusioned and dismayed.The second wave may contain much more extreme individuals, who had more time to build contacts with criminal organizations that can assist them in committing attacks.

Between 40 to 50 percent of foreign fighters, who left for Syria and Iraq, have already left territories controlled by IS, Laborde added.

On average, these people are much more committed, more experienced and more skilled,he told reporters. “In spite of the travel restrictions … still you will have a number of foreign terrorist fighters which will probably slip through the borders and go back, come back to these countries, especially with smuggling networks,he added.

Over the last 18 months, the flow of departures of fighters from Europe to Syria or Iraq fell by some 90 percent, the UN official said, calling for international cooperation not only between EU member states, but also between countries involved in armed conflicts and their neighbors.

Some 5,000 EU nationals are currently fighting in Syria among the ranks of ISIS and other jihadist groups, a senior Syrian official said last month, warning that itll be a disaster for European security if these militants are allowed to return.

We have statistics that about five thousand terrorists fighting in Syria have come from the EU countries,Syria’s Deputy Minister of Expatriates and Foreign AffairsAyman Susantold Sputnik in mid-April.Imagine that these 5,000 terrorists will return to Europe … they can do it, the diplomat warned.

ISIS provides free passage to Europe to refugees willing to join the terrorist group, offering potential recruits up to $1,000 while actively infiltrating migrant communities in countries of destination, a British anti-extremism think tank warned in February.

Thereportby Quilliam think tank also found that underage asylum seekers are at increasing risk of being radicalized by ISIS preachers infiltrating refugee camps and local migrant communities.

Groups such as Islamic State and Boko Haram recruit using financial incentives within refugee camps and work with smugglers and traffickers to facilitate the journey to asylum,Quilliam said.

According to thethink tank, ISIS is clearly aware of the value of migrant routes in the Eastern Mediterranean as it offers free passage and a degree of security to those willing to join radical terrorist group.

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ISIS Kills at Least 52 People in Syria Attacks – TIME

Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, speaks with Iraq’s National Security Adviser Faleh al-Fayadth, in Damascus, Syria, Thursday, May. 18, 2017. (SANA via AP)SANAAP

(BEIRUT) The Islamic State group attacked several government-held villages in central Syria on Thursday, capturing at least one of them in violence that left 52 people dead including more than two dozen women and children, some of whom were beheaded, as well as Syrian troops, state media, medical officials and an opposition monitoring group said.

The attack in the central Hama province targeted villages where most residents belong to the Ismaili branch of Shiite Islam, raising fears the extremists might massacre them, as they have in other minority communities in Syria and Iraq.

The villages are located near the town of Salamiyeh and the highway that links the capital, Damascus, to the northern city of Aleppo, but state media said traffic was not affected.

The attacks come as government forces are on the offensive against the extremists in other parts of Syria, mostly in the northern province of Aleppo and the central Homs region and to the east. U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led forces are meanwhile marching toward the extremists’ de-facto capital of Raqqa, in northern Syria.

State news agency SANA said militants were able to storm homes in the southern part of the Aqareb al-Safi village, adding that government forces repelled them, pushing them back toward the desert.

The head of the National Hospital in Salamiyeh, Dr. Noufal Safar, said the hospital received 52 bodies, including 11 women and 17 children. He said some of them were beheaded and others had their limbs amputated.

“They were brought with all forms of deformations but most of them appear to have died as a result of gunfire,” Safar told The Associated Press by telephone. He added that most of the dead and wounded were brought by ambulances.

Safar quoted some of the wounded people as saying the extremists began storming homes and beheading women inside.

Rami Razzouk, a coroner at the hospital who inspected the bodies, said the children brought in were mostly dismembered, while most of the men died from shelling or heavy machine gun fire.

He said at least nine children were beaten with heavy objects such as bricks or stones on their heads or necks. Razzouk said there were “a couple of children whose heads were fully dismembered because of the beating.”

Two of the children “had most of their limbs removed so they had to be carried in blankets” and two men were shot in the eye, he said. He said 120 people were wounded.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said that 52 people were killed in the fighting, with the dead including 15 civilians, 27 Syrian soldiers and 10 unidentified people.

SANA said 40 people were wounded.

The IS-linked Aamaq news agency said the group captured Aqareb al-Safi and Mabouja. It identified residents as members of President Bashar Assad’s Alawite sect, an off-shoot of Shiite Islam. The Sunni extremists view Shiites as apostates deserving of death. IS has massacred thousands of Shiites and other opponents in Syria and Iraq, often boasting about the killings and circulating photos and videos of them online.

Aamaq claimed that 100 Syrian troops and pro-government gunmen were killed in the fighting.

“Dozens of people are missing but it is not clear if they were kidnapped by Daesh,” said the Observatory’s chief Rami Abdurrahman, using an Arabic acronym to refer to the group. He said IS deployed snipers on roofs of some buildings in Aqareb al-Safi.

State TV said two people were wounded in IS shelling in Salamiyeh.

Also on Thursday, SANA reported that Assad met with Iraq’s national security adviser Faleh al-Fayad to discuss steps to improve coordination between their countries’ militaries in the anti-terrorism campaign along their shared border.

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ISIS Kills at Least 52 People in Syria Attacks – TIME

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Thousands of U.S. forces may still be needed for post-ISIS Iraq – Washington Times

The U.S. may need to keep as many as 20,000 troops and other military personnel in Iraq, even after the Islamic State is driven out, to stabilize the country, the former head of the Pentagons policy shop said Thursday.

A postwar force of between 4,000 to 8,000 American troops is probably sufficient to help local security forces ensure security in Iraq as ISIS faces defeat in its final stronghold in Mosul, Eric Edelman, the Pentagons top policy official during the George W. Bush administration, said in an interview.

The U.S. forces would likely be deployed as advisers, not combat troops, to support Iraqs police and military forces, he said.

We are dealing with an an ISIS that is severely, severely weakened after nearly two years of constant war against U.S.-backed Iraqi and Kurdish forces, said Mr. Edelman, who is now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), a Washington-based defense think tank.

The 5,000 to 20,000 troops called for in the report would provide enough military support for Iraqi forces to hold their own on the conventional battlefield and battle ISIS remnants with a classic counterinsurgency strategy.

The 5,000-man footprint tracks closely the troop levels authorized by President Obama when U.S. operations against ISIS in Iraq began in 2014. The high-end estimate would match the U.S. invasion force sent into Afghanistan in 2001.

U.S. and Iraqi officials say ISIS has lost nearly all its territory in the country and is poised to lose its Iraqi capital of Mosul. As battlefield and territorial losses mount, the group may be returning to its insurgent roots.

There is an imperative for some kind of residual U.S. military presence in Iraq, to ensure an ISIS-led insurgency does not drive the country back into the bloodshed and violence that engulfed the country during the darkest days of the American war, the reports author and CSBA Senior Fellow Hal Brands said.

Negotiations have begun between Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and U.S. officials in Baghdad on a new status of forces agreement, or SOFA, which will outline the legal and diplomatic parameters underpinning a long-term U.S. military presence in the country.

Mr. Edelman and Mr. Brands said the remaining U.S. forces will provide Mr. Abadi political cover against opponents of a long-term military mission in Iraq. Influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr vehemently opposes any American deployments into postwar Iraq. Other Iranian-backed Shiite groups are also lining up against an extended U.S. mission in the country.

Mr. Abadi will likely forgo a parliamentary vote on any SOFA deal and issue an agreement via executive action, Mr. Edelman said. The inability by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to push a SOFA deal through parliament resulted in the full withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country in 2011.

My hope is the experience of 2014 may prove that it may be worth paying a political price for keeping U.S. forces in the country, Mr. Brands added, regarding acceptance of a prolonged American presence by Iraqis.

Iraqi Shia will likely remain split over support for the U.S. postwar mission, while Iraqi Sunnis and Kurds will embrace the deal, since they see American forces as a necessary balance against Iranian influence, Mr. Edelman added.

Tehrans growing influence in the country, most notably via the network of majority Iranian-backed Shia militias known as Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF, could weigh heavily on any decision by the Pentagon to put more boots on the ground in Iraq.

One of the problems in the [coalition] campaign is that the partner [forces] hate each other more than they hate ISIS, Mr. Brands said. As ISIS gets closer to defeat, those underlying conflicts are coming to the surface in a major way.

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Thousands of U.S. forces may still be needed for post-ISIS Iraq – Washington Times

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First on CNN: ISIS creating chemical weapons cell in new de facto capital, US official says – CNN

The cell is comprised of chemical weapons specialists from Iraq and Syria who have not previously worked together, the official added. The new unit is being set up in an ISIS-controlled area in Syria within the Euphrates River Valley, between Mayadin, Syria and the town of al Qaim, just across the Iraqi border.

That location has sparked a good deal of interest on the part of US military intelligence. One US defense official told CNN that “thousands” of ISIS operatives and sympathizers may be in the area and that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi could also be in hiding somewhere nearby. The area is now considered the “de facto” capital of ISIS, with Raqqa under such military pressure from the coalition and local forces, the official said.

Coalition officials still stress that given its size and status, the capture of Raqqa is still considered to be an important military objective.

It is assessed that ISIS is consolidating its chemical weapons capabilities in order to boost its ability to defend its remaining strongholds.

That stretch has become increasingly important to ISIS, particularly since the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have pushed toward Raqqa, the terror group’s one-time unofficial capital.

US defense officials have said that they have observed ISIS officials increasingly abandoning Raqqa for towns and cities further south along the Euphrates River, such as Mayadin and Deir-e-Zor.

“We know they have been moving a lot of their leadership out of Raqqa and we suspect much of their technical expertise and planning as well,” US Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, told CNN.

While not confirming reports of the consolidation of chemical expertise, Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the US-led military coalition, told CNN that “we have seen ISIS use low-grade chemical agents in the past. We know ISIS is willing to use chemical weapons. This is not something we want to see them get good at.”

There has been a significant uptick in low-grade chemical weapons use by ISIS as the terror organization fights to hold on to Mosul.

Military officials told CNN there have been more than 15 chemical weapons attacks since April 14 in or around West Mosul. While there have been no US or coalition casualties, some Iraqi troops have been treated for injuries. Military officials have downplayed the efficacy of ISIS’ chemical weapons, saying they have less battlefield effect than conventional explosives.

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First on CNN: ISIS creating chemical weapons cell in new de facto capital, US official says – CNN

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US weapons help tighten noose on ISIS, but 1 ally isn’t happy – CBS News

Last Updated May 17, 2017 12:05 PM EDT

NEAR RAQQA, Syria — A sniper kept his eye trained on the horizon as a commander spoke into his radio. Moments later, they watched smoke rise in the distance where a U.S.-led coalition airstrike had hit the village of Telha, on the outskirts of Raqqa.

CBS News correspondent Holly Williams watched as the Kurdish fighters kept ISIS in their sights from a forward position near the northern Syrian city, which is the extremists’ de-facto capital and last major urban bastion in Syria.

The Kurds are edging closer to Raqqa, where around 3,000 ISIS extremists are thought to be dug in. The U.S. coalition attacks from the air, but without the Kurdish militia on the ground, there would be no hope of defeating the militants.

“We want to liberate the people being held captive by ISIS,” militiaman Azad Kobani, who has been fighting ISIS for three years, told CBS News. “We want to free the women being held as slaves.”

New weapons sent to the Kurdish forces from the U.S. — mortar shells, artillery and armored vehicles — will help them tighten the noose on ISIS.

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President Trump delivered a joint statement at the White House alongside Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Watch their full remarks here.

But those weapons have also infuriated Turkey, a key U.S. ally in the tumultuous region. It says the Kurdish fighters are linked to terrorists, accused of carrying out a spate of suicide bombings inside that neighboring country.

Agid Silopi, a Kurdish commander on the ground near Raqqa, told Williams that President Trump has proven he’s a true friend by sending the weapons.

Silopi showed CBS News the bodies of two ISIS fighters killed by his men, and then revealed that he is originally from Turkey. He would be arrested if he returned there now.

We asked Silopi if the new American weapons could end up back over the border in Turkey, and theoretically be used in Kurdish separatists fight against the Turkish government.

“If someone attacks us, we’ll defend ourselves,” he told Williams. “But we haven’t used the weapons from the U.S. against Turkey, because we stick to our word.”

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ISIS Twitter Accounts Have Been Hacked With Gay Porn Again, And It’s Funnier Than Ever – Maxim


Maxim
ISIS Twitter Accounts Have Been Hacked With Gay Porn Again, And It's Funnier Than Ever
Maxim
Log onto one of many active ISIS-affiliated Twitter accounts, and you won't read calls for beheadings or jihad. In certain cases, you'll see a glorious array of rainbow flags and muscle-bound dudes photographed in compromising positions. Once again …
ISIS Twitter Accounts Hacked With Gay PornAdvocate.com

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ISIS Twitter Accounts Have Been Hacked With Gay Porn Again, And It’s Funnier Than Ever – Maxim

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6 dead in ISIS attack on TV station in Afghanistan – CNN

Security forces called to Radio Television Afghanistan in the city of Jalalabad were drawn into a long gun battle with the attackers.

Four employees of the TV station and two police officers were killed, Nangarhar province governor’s spokesman Atauolah Khogyani said.

Four of the five attackers were also killed, including one suicide bomber, he said. The fifth attacker was arrested.

ISIS claimed the attack in a message posted on the Telegram messaging service by the ISIS-affiliated media Amaq. CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the claim.

At least 19 people were injured in the attack, including seven who were treated in hospital and released, the provincial health services director, Najibullah Kamawal, said.

An explosion erupted from the area of the assault after the attackers entered the building, police said. Footage from the scene showed people running in panic as a barrage of gunfire rang out.

A crisis response team was called to the scene and searched the premises room by room.

Civilians are often targeted by militants in Afghanistan in bombings and shooting attacks.

In all, 3,498 civilians were killed and 7,920 injured in 2016 in Afghanistan, the UN Assistance Mission in the country reported. It marked the highest number of civilian casualties since the UN began documenting statistics in Afghanistan.

CNN’s Angela Dewan, Elizabeth Joseph and journalist Aleem Agha contributed to this report.

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6 dead in ISIS attack on TV station in Afghanistan – CNN

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Report: Trump Disclosure to Russians Endangered Israeli Spy Who’s Infiltrated ISIS – Townhall

As wetoggle between alleged Trump scandals — with that sentence fragmentproviding a sense of how things are going at the White House this week — I’m going to go ahead andquote myself from yesterday. In analyzing this story, I concluded that we hadn’t seen the last relevant leak yet, due to warring factions over the president’s actions: “The central question of this controversy rests on subjective judgments, with one side of the debate perceiving Trump’s disclosure as relatively harmless and routine, and the other side insistently viewing it as neither…Determining which side’s impression is closer to the truth will likely require more information. Which probably means more leaks.” Sure enough,amid the explosion of this story last evening,ABC News published (surprise) another leak:

The Israelisdownplayed the revelation that it was their source who might be endangered, pledging to deepen ties with the Trump administration on intelligence-sharing. And of course that it what they’d say publicly. They’re shrewd and diplomatic, especially as it relates to their top global ally. They frequently made nice with the Obama administration in public, even as our two nations’ special friendship frayed terribly under an hostile president and an Israeli leader adamantly (and correctly)opposed to a central administration legacy project. In other words, a public statement of support is entirelyunsurprising and laudable, but simmering mistrust below the surface could be an issue — especially if an Israeli spy’s life is trulyin danger. Two thoughts on this: First, relating tothis report that CNN ran with for hours yesterday:

Here’s the thing, though: It’s not remotely unusual for the US government to oppose public disclosure of secret programs or intelligence, even as they choose to share that information with strategic partners or allies for security reasons. The fact that administration officials urged CNN not to publish details of a program that the president later relayed privately to a foreign power is not a scandal. As we’ve discussed previously, the factors that make Trump’s handling of the situation very questionable are Russia’s malignant regional agenda (they’re not our friends, and anything that they discover is likely to end up in the hands ofthe Assad regime and theIranians), and the alleged violation of a longstanding agreement with Israeli intelligence not to share discrete strands of intelligence with other nations without their consent. Even so, given Russia’s strategic interests against ISIS, plus thisISIS-claimed airline attack, Trump’s decision to fill them in could be defensible.

I just wish I had more confidence that the decider-in-chief was aware of the dynamics at play, and made an informed, intentional decision on this — rather than an off-the-cuff call that members of his team reportedly had to clean up shortly after the divulgence, a detail that HR McMasterdidn’t deny yesterday. Then again, the National Security Adviserassertion Trump’s move had not at all even compromised any intelligence sources or methods. TheABC News leak seems designed to contradict that assessment. Which leads us to this question:

Unless the Russians publicized thedetails disclosed by Trump the intervening days (is there a shred of evidence of that?), it would seem as though the threat to Israel’s ISIS infiltrator would be primarily attributable to Trump administration leakers and the American press. Yes, certain important details were withheld from the public in the Washington Post story, but based on ABC’s reporting, the damage was done. While there is plenty of room to criticize and question the president’s handling of this intelligence, shouldn’t there be some soul-searching on behalf of the people who ensured that the story would spill into the public eye? Analysts as far afield asRush Limbaugh andAlan Dershowitz have made this point, and it definitely deserves some attention. Trump may be the designated villain here (deservedly and otherwise), but there are other players making impactful choices that are least as debatable. And with that, we return you to the ‘Watergate-scale’ Comey/Flynn scandal, with subpoenas getting ready to fly. It’s only Wednesday, folks:

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Report: Trump Disclosure to Russians Endangered Israeli Spy Who’s Infiltrated ISIS – Townhall

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Flynn Delayed Anti-ISIS Plan That Turkey Opposed – NBCNews.com

A former senior Obama official confirmed to NBC News that after months of disagreement, the Obama administration had decided to arm the Syrian Kurds but in January incoming National Security Adviser Mike Flynn asked his counterpart, Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice, not to do it. McClatchy first reported that Flynn had blocked the plan to arm the Syrian Kurds for an attack on Raqqa, the ISIS capital in Syria, a move that was opposed by the Turkish government, which Flynn had been paid $500,000 to represent. Related: Flynn Attended Intel Briefings While Taking Money To Lobby For Turkey Flynn had not yet registered as a foreign agent or disclosed that Turkey had paid him as a lobbyist. After he was fired as national security adviser, Flynn registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Department. The former Obama official told NBC News that several senior officials in the outgoing administration had lobbied for months to arm the Syrian Kurds, known as the YPG, but both President Obama and adviser Ben Rhodes were against it. The administration went back and forth with the Turks about the issue until December 2016, when Obama decided it was “the right thing to do,” the official said. Since the implementation would extend past Trump’s inauguration, Rice told Flynn of the decision in early January. Flynn told her not to move forward with the plan. He said he didn’t trust the Obama administration’s decision-making process and the Trump administration would undertake its own review of ISIS policy, according to the official. After Flynn was fired as national security adviser on Feb. 13, the Trump administration opted to arm the YPG after all. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn arrives to deliver a statement during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington on February 1, 2017. Carlos Barria / Reuters file The Obama White House was surprised Flynn opposed the plan to arm the YPG, according to two former Obama officials. The former Obama officials insist the review by Trump officials delayed the final encirclement and then assault on Raqqa, the ISIS capital, by anti-ISIS forces. Related: A U.S. military official also said the decision slowed the assault on Raqqa, but not by much. Anti-ISIS forces would not have been ready to go into Raqqa in January. Now the city is encircled, but the Syrian Kurds still don’t have the equipment they need to start moving into the city. “It certainly caused an operational slowdown, but not one that they can’t recover from,” the U.S. military official said. A lawyer for Flynn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Disillusioned ISIS fighters heading to Europe – TRUNEWS

Europe should be bracing for a wave of dangerous and disillusioned Islamic State fighters says the head of the U.S. Security Councils counterterrorism agency. The jihadists, recently defeated in Syria and Iraq, could possibly be heading to Europe and seeking revenge. Scores of foreign Islamic State fighters, determined to come back to Europe, are more dangerousthan previous waves of returnees, Jean-Paul Laborde, the Executive Director of Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate,told reporters on Thursday. Some may be eager to seek revenge after defeats on the battlefield, including in recent confrontations in Mosul. The first wave of the returnees was mainly made up of young people who went to Syria and Iraq for T-shirts and photos,Laborde said. They came back disillusioned and dismayed.The second wave may contain much more extreme individuals, who had more time to build contacts with criminal organizations that can assist them in committing attacks. Between 40 to 50 percent of foreign fighters, who left for Syria and Iraq, have already left territories controlled by IS, Laborde added. On average, these people are much more committed, more experienced and more skilled,he told reporters. “In spite of the travel restrictions … still you will have a number of foreign terrorist fighters which will probably slip through the borders and go back, come back to these countries, especially with smuggling networks,he added. Over the last 18 months, the flow of departures of fighters from Europe to Syria or Iraq fell by some 90 percent, the UN official said, calling for international cooperation not only between EU member states, but also between countries involved in armed conflicts and their neighbors. Some 5,000 EU nationals are currently fighting in Syria among the ranks of ISIS and other jihadist groups, a senior Syrian official said last month, warning that itll be a disaster for European security if these militants are allowed to return. We have statistics that about five thousand terrorists fighting in Syria have come from the EU countries,Syria’s Deputy Minister of Expatriates and Foreign AffairsAyman Susantold Sputnik in mid-April.Imagine that these 5,000 terrorists will return to Europe … they can do it, the diplomat warned. ISIS provides free passage to Europe to refugees willing to join the terrorist group, offering potential recruits up to $1,000 while actively infiltrating migrant communities in countries of destination, a British anti-extremism think tank warned in February. Thereportby Quilliam think tank also found that underage asylum seekers are at increasing risk of being radicalized by ISIS preachers infiltrating refugee camps and local migrant communities. Groups such as Islamic State and Boko Haram recruit using financial incentives within refugee camps and work with smugglers and traffickers to facilitate the journey to asylum,Quilliam said. According to thethink tank, ISIS is clearly aware of the value of migrant routes in the Eastern Mediterranean as it offers free passage and a degree of security to those willing to join radical terrorist group. RT copy/ TRUNEWS contribution Donate Today! We believe Christians need and deserve their own global news network to keep the worldwide Church informed, and to offer Christians a positive alternative to the anti-Christian bigotry of the mainstream news media

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ISIS Kills at Least 52 People in Syria Attacks – TIME

Syrian President Bashar Assad, right, speaks with Iraq’s National Security Adviser Faleh al-Fayadth, in Damascus, Syria, Thursday, May. 18, 2017. (SANA via AP)SANAAP (BEIRUT) The Islamic State group attacked several government-held villages in central Syria on Thursday, capturing at least one of them in violence that left 52 people dead including more than two dozen women and children, some of whom were beheaded, as well as Syrian troops, state media, medical officials and an opposition monitoring group said. The attack in the central Hama province targeted villages where most residents belong to the Ismaili branch of Shiite Islam, raising fears the extremists might massacre them, as they have in other minority communities in Syria and Iraq. The villages are located near the town of Salamiyeh and the highway that links the capital, Damascus, to the northern city of Aleppo, but state media said traffic was not affected. The attacks come as government forces are on the offensive against the extremists in other parts of Syria, mostly in the northern province of Aleppo and the central Homs region and to the east. U.S.-backed and Kurdish-led forces are meanwhile marching toward the extremists’ de-facto capital of Raqqa, in northern Syria. State news agency SANA said militants were able to storm homes in the southern part of the Aqareb al-Safi village, adding that government forces repelled them, pushing them back toward the desert. The head of the National Hospital in Salamiyeh, Dr. Noufal Safar, said the hospital received 52 bodies, including 11 women and 17 children. He said some of them were beheaded and others had their limbs amputated. “They were brought with all forms of deformations but most of them appear to have died as a result of gunfire,” Safar told The Associated Press by telephone. He added that most of the dead and wounded were brought by ambulances. Safar quoted some of the wounded people as saying the extremists began storming homes and beheading women inside. Rami Razzouk, a coroner at the hospital who inspected the bodies, said the children brought in were mostly dismembered, while most of the men died from shelling or heavy machine gun fire. He said at least nine children were beaten with heavy objects such as bricks or stones on their heads or necks. Razzouk said there were “a couple of children whose heads were fully dismembered because of the beating.” Two of the children “had most of their limbs removed so they had to be carried in blankets” and two men were shot in the eye, he said. He said 120 people were wounded. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said that 52 people were killed in the fighting, with the dead including 15 civilians, 27 Syrian soldiers and 10 unidentified people. SANA said 40 people were wounded. The IS-linked Aamaq news agency said the group captured Aqareb al-Safi and Mabouja. It identified residents as members of President Bashar Assad’s Alawite sect, an off-shoot of Shiite Islam. The Sunni extremists view Shiites as apostates deserving of death. IS has massacred thousands of Shiites and other opponents in Syria and Iraq, often boasting about the killings and circulating photos and videos of them online. Aamaq claimed that 100 Syrian troops and pro-government gunmen were killed in the fighting. “Dozens of people are missing but it is not clear if they were kidnapped by Daesh,” said the Observatory’s chief Rami Abdurrahman, using an Arabic acronym to refer to the group. He said IS deployed snipers on roofs of some buildings in Aqareb al-Safi. State TV said two people were wounded in IS shelling in Salamiyeh. Also on Thursday, SANA reported that Assad met with Iraq’s national security adviser Faleh al-Fayad to discuss steps to improve coordination between their countries’ militaries in the anti-terrorism campaign along their shared border.

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Thousands of U.S. forces may still be needed for post-ISIS Iraq – Washington Times

The U.S. may need to keep as many as 20,000 troops and other military personnel in Iraq, even after the Islamic State is driven out, to stabilize the country, the former head of the Pentagons policy shop said Thursday. A postwar force of between 4,000 to 8,000 American troops is probably sufficient to help local security forces ensure security in Iraq as ISIS faces defeat in its final stronghold in Mosul, Eric Edelman, the Pentagons top policy official during the George W. Bush administration, said in an interview. The U.S. forces would likely be deployed as advisers, not combat troops, to support Iraqs police and military forces, he said. We are dealing with an an ISIS that is severely, severely weakened after nearly two years of constant war against U.S.-backed Iraqi and Kurdish forces, said Mr. Edelman, who is now a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), a Washington-based defense think tank. The 5,000 to 20,000 troops called for in the report would provide enough military support for Iraqi forces to hold their own on the conventional battlefield and battle ISIS remnants with a classic counterinsurgency strategy. The 5,000-man footprint tracks closely the troop levels authorized by President Obama when U.S. operations against ISIS in Iraq began in 2014. The high-end estimate would match the U.S. invasion force sent into Afghanistan in 2001. U.S. and Iraqi officials say ISIS has lost nearly all its territory in the country and is poised to lose its Iraqi capital of Mosul. As battlefield and territorial losses mount, the group may be returning to its insurgent roots. There is an imperative for some kind of residual U.S. military presence in Iraq, to ensure an ISIS-led insurgency does not drive the country back into the bloodshed and violence that engulfed the country during the darkest days of the American war, the reports author and CSBA Senior Fellow Hal Brands said. Negotiations have begun between Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and U.S. officials in Baghdad on a new status of forces agreement, or SOFA, which will outline the legal and diplomatic parameters underpinning a long-term U.S. military presence in the country. Mr. Edelman and Mr. Brands said the remaining U.S. forces will provide Mr. Abadi political cover against opponents of a long-term military mission in Iraq. Influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr vehemently opposes any American deployments into postwar Iraq. Other Iranian-backed Shiite groups are also lining up against an extended U.S. mission in the country. Mr. Abadi will likely forgo a parliamentary vote on any SOFA deal and issue an agreement via executive action, Mr. Edelman said. The inability by former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to push a SOFA deal through parliament resulted in the full withdrawal of U.S. forces from the country in 2011. My hope is the experience of 2014 may prove that it may be worth paying a political price for keeping U.S. forces in the country, Mr. Brands added, regarding acceptance of a prolonged American presence by Iraqis. Iraqi Shia will likely remain split over support for the U.S. postwar mission, while Iraqi Sunnis and Kurds will embrace the deal, since they see American forces as a necessary balance against Iranian influence, Mr. Edelman added. Tehrans growing influence in the country, most notably via the network of majority Iranian-backed Shia militias known as Popular Mobilization Forces, or PMF, could weigh heavily on any decision by the Pentagon to put more boots on the ground in Iraq. One of the problems in the [coalition] campaign is that the partner [forces] hate each other more than they hate ISIS, Mr. Brands said. As ISIS gets closer to defeat, those underlying conflicts are coming to the surface in a major way.

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First on CNN: ISIS creating chemical weapons cell in new de facto capital, US official says – CNN

The cell is comprised of chemical weapons specialists from Iraq and Syria who have not previously worked together, the official added. The new unit is being set up in an ISIS-controlled area in Syria within the Euphrates River Valley, between Mayadin, Syria and the town of al Qaim, just across the Iraqi border. That location has sparked a good deal of interest on the part of US military intelligence. One US defense official told CNN that “thousands” of ISIS operatives and sympathizers may be in the area and that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi could also be in hiding somewhere nearby. The area is now considered the “de facto” capital of ISIS, with Raqqa under such military pressure from the coalition and local forces, the official said. Coalition officials still stress that given its size and status, the capture of Raqqa is still considered to be an important military objective. It is assessed that ISIS is consolidating its chemical weapons capabilities in order to boost its ability to defend its remaining strongholds. That stretch has become increasingly important to ISIS, particularly since the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have pushed toward Raqqa, the terror group’s one-time unofficial capital. US defense officials have said that they have observed ISIS officials increasingly abandoning Raqqa for towns and cities further south along the Euphrates River, such as Mayadin and Deir-e-Zor. “We know they have been moving a lot of their leadership out of Raqqa and we suspect much of their technical expertise and planning as well,” US Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, told CNN. While not confirming reports of the consolidation of chemical expertise, Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the US-led military coalition, told CNN that “we have seen ISIS use low-grade chemical agents in the past. We know ISIS is willing to use chemical weapons. This is not something we want to see them get good at.” There has been a significant uptick in low-grade chemical weapons use by ISIS as the terror organization fights to hold on to Mosul. Military officials told CNN there have been more than 15 chemical weapons attacks since April 14 in or around West Mosul. While there have been no US or coalition casualties, some Iraqi troops have been treated for injuries. Military officials have downplayed the efficacy of ISIS’ chemical weapons, saying they have less battlefield effect than conventional explosives.

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May 17, 2017   Posted in: ISIS  Comments Closed

US weapons help tighten noose on ISIS, but 1 ally isn’t happy – CBS News

Last Updated May 17, 2017 12:05 PM EDT NEAR RAQQA, Syria — A sniper kept his eye trained on the horizon as a commander spoke into his radio. Moments later, they watched smoke rise in the distance where a U.S.-led coalition airstrike had hit the village of Telha, on the outskirts of Raqqa. CBS News correspondent Holly Williams watched as the Kurdish fighters kept ISIS in their sights from a forward position near the northern Syrian city, which is the extremists’ de-facto capital and last major urban bastion in Syria. The Kurds are edging closer to Raqqa, where around 3,000 ISIS extremists are thought to be dug in. The U.S. coalition attacks from the air, but without the Kurdish militia on the ground, there would be no hope of defeating the militants. “We want to liberate the people being held captive by ISIS,” militiaman Azad Kobani, who has been fighting ISIS for three years, told CBS News. “We want to free the women being held as slaves.” New weapons sent to the Kurdish forces from the U.S. — mortar shells, artillery and armored vehicles — will help them tighten the noose on ISIS. Play Video President Trump delivered a joint statement at the White House alongside Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Watch their full remarks here. But those weapons have also infuriated Turkey, a key U.S. ally in the tumultuous region. It says the Kurdish fighters are linked to terrorists, accused of carrying out a spate of suicide bombings inside that neighboring country. Agid Silopi, a Kurdish commander on the ground near Raqqa, told Williams that President Trump has proven he’s a true friend by sending the weapons. Silopi showed CBS News the bodies of two ISIS fighters killed by his men, and then revealed that he is originally from Turkey. He would be arrested if he returned there now. We asked Silopi if the new American weapons could end up back over the border in Turkey, and theoretically be used in Kurdish separatists fight against the Turkish government. “If someone attacks us, we’ll defend ourselves,” he told Williams. “But we haven’t used the weapons from the U.S. against Turkey, because we stick to our word.” 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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ISIS Twitter Accounts Have Been Hacked With Gay Porn Again, And It’s Funnier Than Ever – Maxim

Maxim ISIS Twitter Accounts Have Been Hacked With Gay Porn Again, And It's Funnier Than Ever Maxim Log onto one of many active ISIS -affiliated Twitter accounts, and you won't read calls for beheadings or jihad. In certain cases, you'll see a glorious array of rainbow flags and muscle-bound dudes photographed in compromising positions. Once again … ISIS Twitter Accounts Hacked With Gay Porn Advocate.com all 2 news articles »

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6 dead in ISIS attack on TV station in Afghanistan – CNN

Security forces called to Radio Television Afghanistan in the city of Jalalabad were drawn into a long gun battle with the attackers. Four employees of the TV station and two police officers were killed, Nangarhar province governor’s spokesman Atauolah Khogyani said. Four of the five attackers were also killed, including one suicide bomber, he said. The fifth attacker was arrested. ISIS claimed the attack in a message posted on the Telegram messaging service by the ISIS-affiliated media Amaq. CNN cannot independently verify the authenticity of the claim. At least 19 people were injured in the attack, including seven who were treated in hospital and released, the provincial health services director, Najibullah Kamawal, said. An explosion erupted from the area of the assault after the attackers entered the building, police said. Footage from the scene showed people running in panic as a barrage of gunfire rang out. A crisis response team was called to the scene and searched the premises room by room. Civilians are often targeted by militants in Afghanistan in bombings and shooting attacks. In all, 3,498 civilians were killed and 7,920 injured in 2016 in Afghanistan, the UN Assistance Mission in the country reported. It marked the highest number of civilian casualties since the UN began documenting statistics in Afghanistan. CNN’s Angela Dewan, Elizabeth Joseph and journalist Aleem Agha contributed to this report.

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Report: Trump Disclosure to Russians Endangered Israeli Spy Who’s Infiltrated ISIS – Townhall

As wetoggle between alleged Trump scandals — with that sentence fragmentproviding a sense of how things are going at the White House this week — I’m going to go ahead andquote myself from yesterday. In analyzing this story, I concluded that we hadn’t seen the last relevant leak yet, due to warring factions over the president’s actions: “The central question of this controversy rests on subjective judgments, with one side of the debate perceiving Trump’s disclosure as relatively harmless and routine, and the other side insistently viewing it as neither…Determining which side’s impression is closer to the truth will likely require more information. Which probably means more leaks.” Sure enough,amid the explosion of this story last evening,ABC News published (surprise) another leak: The Israelisdownplayed the revelation that it was their source who might be endangered, pledging to deepen ties with the Trump administration on intelligence-sharing. And of course that it what they’d say publicly. They’re shrewd and diplomatic, especially as it relates to their top global ally. They frequently made nice with the Obama administration in public, even as our two nations’ special friendship frayed terribly under an hostile president and an Israeli leader adamantly (and correctly)opposed to a central administration legacy project. In other words, a public statement of support is entirelyunsurprising and laudable, but simmering mistrust below the surface could be an issue — especially if an Israeli spy’s life is trulyin danger. Two thoughts on this: First, relating tothis report that CNN ran with for hours yesterday: Here’s the thing, though: It’s not remotely unusual for the US government to oppose public disclosure of secret programs or intelligence, even as they choose to share that information with strategic partners or allies for security reasons. The fact that administration officials urged CNN not to publish details of a program that the president later relayed privately to a foreign power is not a scandal. As we’ve discussed previously, the factors that make Trump’s handling of the situation very questionable are Russia’s malignant regional agenda (they’re not our friends, and anything that they discover is likely to end up in the hands ofthe Assad regime and theIranians), and the alleged violation of a longstanding agreement with Israeli intelligence not to share discrete strands of intelligence with other nations without their consent. Even so, given Russia’s strategic interests against ISIS, plus thisISIS-claimed airline attack, Trump’s decision to fill them in could be defensible. I just wish I had more confidence that the decider-in-chief was aware of the dynamics at play, and made an informed, intentional decision on this — rather than an off-the-cuff call that members of his team reportedly had to clean up shortly after the divulgence, a detail that HR McMasterdidn’t deny yesterday. Then again, the National Security Adviserassertion Trump’s move had not at all even compromised any intelligence sources or methods. TheABC News leak seems designed to contradict that assessment. Which leads us to this question: Unless the Russians publicized thedetails disclosed by Trump the intervening days (is there a shred of evidence of that?), it would seem as though the threat to Israel’s ISIS infiltrator would be primarily attributable to Trump administration leakers and the American press. Yes, certain important details were withheld from the public in the Washington Post story, but based on ABC’s reporting, the damage was done. While there is plenty of room to criticize and question the president’s handling of this intelligence, shouldn’t there be some soul-searching on behalf of the people who ensured that the story would spill into the public eye? Analysts as far afield asRush Limbaugh andAlan Dershowitz have made this point, and it definitely deserves some attention. Trump may be the designated villain here (deservedly and otherwise), but there are other players making impactful choices that are least as debatable. And with that, we return you to the ‘Watergate-scale’ Comey/Flynn scandal, with subpoenas getting ready to fly. It’s only Wednesday, folks:

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