ISIS reportedly moves weaponry from Iraq to Syria
One of the results of the Islamic State in Iraq and a-Sham’s surprise takeover Tuesday of Mosul, the second-largest city in Iraq, may be a plan to bolster forces in Syria with supplies gained from Iraq.
It is “worth noting that ISIS has captured parts of the Mosul airport,” said Brookings Doha weapons expert Charles Lister on Tuesday, “where Iraq forces maintain a fleet of UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.”
Photographs allegedly show US-supplied Humvees taken from the Iraqi army arriving in the northeast Syrian province of Hasakah, where ISIS has a strong presence.
Meanwhile, ISIS reportedly looted 500 billion Iraqi dinars [$425 million] from Mosul banks, according to local independent Iraqi news agency Iraq News Outlook. Local Iraqi Kurdish news cited the same figure, reported The Financial Times.
With their recent gains, ISIS now controls land stretching from Nineveh and Anbar provinces in Iraq across the Syrian provinces of Deir e-Zor, a-Hasakah and a-Raqqa to eastern Aleppo.
ISIS war spoils at a border crossing between Syria and Iraq. Photo courtesy of @Ajaltamimi.
Rebels advance in southern Aleppo
Rebels say they advanced in the southern Aleppo village of Aziza Tuesday after announcing a new campaign for the village and the Sheikh Saeed neighborhood of southern Aleppo, titling the battle “Raid of the Age of the Honest.”
Led by the Islamic Front’s Fajr a-Sham and the moderate group Harakat Hazm, the campaign is a response to the Syrian regime’s recent advance this month on Jebel Azan in the southern Aleppo suburbs, pro-opposition Aleppo News Network reported.
“The main goal of this battle is to seize Jebel Azan, which overlooks the entirety of Aleppo and oversees the Aleppo-Damascus International Highway,” pro-opposition activist Ahmed al-Ahmed told Syria Direct Wednesday, adding that the regime would try to use Jebel Azan to advance in southwestern Aleppo province.
The village of Aziza, which lies five kilometers south of the Aleppo’s Sheikh Saeed, is home to a Syrian air force battalion.
Rebel leaders to respond to Ford
A trio of rebel leaders will make their case Wednesday that the United States should provide additional military support to vetted elements of Syria’s rebels, at a remote press conference held by the opposition Syrian National Coalition at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.
The Free Syrian Army-affiliated leaders, Turkey-based Col. Abdul-Jabbar Akidi, Col Afif Suleiman and Mustafa Berro, will respond to a Tuesday New York Times op-ed penned by former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford titled “Arm Syria’s Opposition.”
“The Free Syrian Army must have more military hardware, including mortars and rockets to pound airfields, to impede regime air supply operations and, subject to reasonable safeguards, surface-to-air missiles,” wrote Ford, who resigned in protest in February 2014 over American policy in Syria.
Col Abdul-Jabbar Akidi was a member of the opposition Supreme Military Council and one of the most senior Syrian rebel commanders to be backed by Britain and the United States. He resigned from his position last November citing a fracturing rebel opposition and inertia from Western supporters.
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