ISIS

Since the liberation of the last of the ISIS-occupied territory this year, the self-administered areas of northern and eastern Syria set up by the liberation forces have enjoyed secure and stable conditions. However, they have been denied representation in the international negotiations to resolve the Syrian crisis, write Ismet Tashtan and Peter Boyle.

This is a war film unlike any other that you will see, written and directed by a woman, focusing on a squad of the Kurdish autonomous women’s protection units (YPJ). The systematic female enslavement and mass rape by ISIS are its subject matter. 

US president Donald Trump announced by tweet on December 19 his intention to withdraw US troops from Syria. This followed a phone call between Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who had often stated his intention to invade north-eastern Syria. 

The Turkish state’s hostility towards the Kurdish people continues, having now escalated its threats against Rojava.

“Freedom” can be a very difficult word to define, but it is easy to understand when you lose it.

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) finally liberated Raqqa, in northern Syria, from ISIS occupation on October 17, after a battle of 135 days. In 2014, ISIS declared Raqqa its capital, which makes its defeat a decisive event.

The SDF is a multi-ethnic and multi-religious armed force made up of dozens of militias that is committed to the political project of “democratic confederalism”, the participatory democratic project associated with the Kurdish-led Rojava Revolution.

Half-a-million people marched in the Catalan capital of Barcelona on August 26 to express the profound desire in Catalan society to stay tolerant, open and un-militarised in the face of the August 17-18 terror attacks on Barcelona’s Rambla and in the seaside town of Cambrils.

This was partly because the attacks — claimed by Islamic State and causing 15 deaths and up to 130 wounded — coincided with the tensest moments to date in the fight between the Catalan and Spanish governments over the planned October 1 referendum on Catalan independence.

Flanked by military commanders, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi was in the nation’s second-largest city, Mosul, on July 10 to announce the city’s liberation from ISIS.

An end to the three-year-long rule by the extremely violent and authoritarian terrorist group is obviously good news for the city's residents. But it seems unlikely the group’s defeat will mean an end to their suffering, which began long before ISIS captured the city in June 2014.

Raqqa, the de facto ISIS capital in Syria, is on the verge of falling. The rapid advance of the left-wing Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) since they entered the city on June 6 contrasts with the slower advance of forces of the Iraqi and Iraqi Kurdistan governments in Mosul, the ISIS capital in Iraq, which the pro-government forces entered in February.

However, the June 18 downing of a Syrian fighter jet by a US war plane, after the former attacked SDF positions near Raqqa, is just one indication that eliminating ISIS will not end the violent multi-sided war in Syria that spawned it.

An ISIS attack on May 2 near the Rajim Salibi border crossing between Iraq and Syria left 37 refugees dead and at least 20 injured. Victims were as young as three months. “The attack was repelled [by] the intervention by Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] fighters,” Firat News Agency reported.

Most of the refugees were fleeing the Iraqi city of Mosul, which for months has been the scene of heavy fighting as Western, Russian, Iranian, Iraqi government forces and allied militias try to retake the city from ISIS.

The released the statement below on December 18.

The capture of formerly rebel-held East Aleppo by the forces of the Bashar Assad dictatorship and its foreign allies has been hailed by Assad and his Russian and Iranian backers as a decisive victory over their opponents that will end the war that has devastated the country since Assad used military force against a civilian protest movement in 2011.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the start of an assault to recapture Mosul, the most important Iraqi city held by ISIS, on October 16.

The assault is spearheaded by the Iraqi army and the peshmerga, the armed forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq. It also includes the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU), an umbrella group of militia groups loyal to the Iraqi government and based in Iraq’s Shi’a Arab communities, and some other Iraqi militias.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) says 4475 people were killed in the nation's horrific civil war during July. Of these, 1289 were civilians, including 263 children. Almost three quarters of these civilian casualties were killed in airstrikes by the government or its ally, Russia, and other attacks by the pro-government side, SOHR said. Since the Syrian Civil War began in 2011, more than 400,000 people have been killed, between 4-to-5 million people have left Syria as refugees and about 8 million have been internally displaced.
Hawzhin Azeez is member of Kobane Reconstruction Board in the largely Kurdish area of northern Syria and a former politics lecturer at Newcastle university. In Rojava, a profoundly democratic and revolutionary experiment is underway. A multi-ethnic, feminist and socialist-oriented society is being built from the ground up, organised around communes and other bodies of participatory democracy.
Qamişlo, July 27. On the morning of July 27, a bomb-laden truck exploded in a crowded area of Qamişlo in Rojava (northern Syria). This terrorist massacre, claimed by ISIS, killed at least 44 people and left about 150 injured. Many surrounding buildings were destroyed, and among the dead were a number of women and children.
And that was how the horror came to my doorstep. To tell you the truth, like many people who live in the provinces – a somewhat disparaging term used to refer to the rest of France that exists outside of Paris and its surrounds – I thought terrorist attacks were mainly a concern for those in the capital. On July 14, this certainty was blown apart by the sad and harsh reality: 84 people of various nationality and beliefs, among them dozens of children, died due to the actions of a lunatic on the Promenade des Anglais, the “Malecon” of the city of Nice, in the south-east of France.

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