WASHINGTON (AFP) – US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared Wednesday that Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s death is imminent, as US-backed forces close in on the jihadists in Syria and Iraq.
“Nearly all of Abu Bakr Baghdadi’s deputies are now dead, including the mastermind behind the attacks in Brussels, Paris and elsewhere,” Tillerson told a coalition meeting in Washington.
“It is only a matter of time before Baghdadi himself meets this same fate,” he promised, as he opened discussions between the 69 members of the US-led military coalition and their Iraqi ally.
Continue reading ‘Matter of time’ before IS leader Baghdadi killed: Tillerson
A Russia-backed Libyan warlord could start a “civil war” in Libya, increasing refugee flows to the EU, Malta has warned.
The danger comes as the Libyan commander, Khalifa Haftar, advances on Tripoli, the seat of the UN-recognised government, Malta’s foreign minister, George Vella, told press in Valletta on Friday (12 January).
Continue reading Malta raises alarm on Russia in Libya
This is the second attempt by rebels to break Assad’s siege. They opened a corridor to the east for the month of August after pro-government forces first applied a blockade in July.
Fierce fighting broke out around the Syrian city of Aleppo Friday as rebels announced a large-scale offensive to break the government’s siege of opposition-held areas.
A reporter inside the city on the pro-government Mayadeen TV channel reported attacks on “all sides” of the city, “from the furthest points north to furthest south.”
Continue reading Rebels Launch Aleppo Offensive to Break Government Siege
Isis has reportedly banned football referees in one of its Syrian strongholds because they uphold the rules of Fifa and not Sharia law.
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, Isis commanders told organisers of local games that referees would be banned because their decisions ‘do not judge according to what Allah has revealed’ and are ‘a violation of Allah’s command and the Sunnah.’
Continue reading Isis bans football referees in Syria because they enforce ‘laws of Fifa not Sharia’
TEHRAN (FNA)- A pilgrim has carried the flag of the ISIL terrorist group on the Plain of Arafat in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj rituals, media reports said.
According to Iraq’s Alsumaria satellite TV network, social media, especially Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, posted photos on Saturday showing a pilgrim carrying the ISIL flag during the Hajj rites on Jabal ar-Rahmah mountain on the Plain of Arafat on Friday, press tv reported.
The Saudi television aired footage of the pilgrim with the ISIL flag for just a few seconds before it stopped broadcasting the video.
This comes as Saudi Arabia and its former intelligence chief Prince Bandar Bin Sultan have played a leading role in the formation of the ISIL terrorist group.
The ISIL controls large areas of Syria’s East and North. The group sent its militants into Iraq in June, seizing large parts of land straddling the border between Syria and Iraq.
The West and its regional allies, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, are reportedly giving financial and military support to the militants.