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Over 1,000 jihadists killed in US strikes,20 Kuwaitis have died
December 24, 2014, 9:07 am
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Islamic State (IS) jihadists stand just before explosion of an air strike on Tilsehir hill near Turkish border on October 23, 2014, at Yumurtalik village, in Sanliurfa province. A report by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on Tuesday said coalition airstrikes in Syria have killed more than 1,000 jihadists in the past three months, nearly all of them from the Islamic State group.

The security agencies in the country are currently monitoring the activities of more than 30 Kuwaitis who are said to be fighting alongside DAESH or the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting reliable sources. The daily added, what it called, the ‘competent authorities’ have full information about these fighters.

Moreover, these competent authorities are coordinating with the intelligence services of some neighboring countries, and the United States and Turkey, to monitor their moves in case they plan to enter the Turkish territory to leave for their home country via Ankara.

The source added until now 20 Kuwaitis have died since joining DAESH to fight alongside this terrorist group in Syria and Iraq. The source explained six citizens who recently returned to the country via Turkey were whisked away by the security intelligence for interrogation and put behind bars at the Central Prison. However, they are fighters but not sympathetic to DAESH.

The source added the Turkish authorities continue to record the movement of DAESH fighters who exit the battlefield via Ankara.

He added the number of those who belong to this organization and has returned to the country told confidants that their return was caused by the discovery of the fact that the goal of the so-called DAESH was not jihad since the group had committed malpractices against Muslims in Iraq and Syria.

They added, they were fleeing from DAESH after sneaking into Turkey.

The sources said those who have returned to their homeland after escaping from DAESH claimed the group had executed a significant number of Gulf citizens because they refused to take orders to kill innocent people and raping women.

Meanwhile, since June of this year the US military has been steadily stockpiling massive amounts of its gear which has been pulled out of Afghanistan at a depot in Kuwait adjacent to a bustling commercial port, for its ultimately destination across the border into Iraq for an allied offensive against the Islamic State group, according to US World and News Report.

The website said the facility’s warehouses and large asphalt yards now are home to roughly 3,100 vehicles, most of them MRAPs — the mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles that have been ubiquitous in America’s prolonged wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is also some electronic equipment and other supplies at the depot, located at Kuwait’s Shuaiba port, according to defense officials.

The gear, primarily from the Army, will be fixed up and held as top US planners in Iraq determine what they’ll need to defeat the Islamic State group in the coming months, says Air Force Major-General Rowayne “Wayne” Schatz, the director of operations and plans for US Transportation Command, the daily added quoting from the US News and World Report.

“From June to December, we’ve worked a lot on moving items into Kuwait,” Schatz says. “The Army is holding the gear there, and it has room to hold it, as the mission fleshes out.”

The US military and its allies are reportedly planning for a massive spring offensive to help Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters retake territory from the Islamic State group, particularly traditional Sunni Muslim bastions such as Anbar province west of Baghdad and the key city of Mosul.

Since 2012, the Defense Department has been destroying, selling or shipping out its gear in Afghanistan as the military neared its current number of 9,800 troops left behind to help the fledgling Afghan forces in 2015. The subsequent rise of the Islamic State group — also known as ISIS, ISIL or by the Arabic acronym ‘DAESH’ — has forced the military to reroute some of that equipment back toward Iraq.

It represents a full circle for the protracted Middle East wars the US continues to be drawn into: Much of the equipment taken out of Iraq during America’s complete withdrawal in 2011 was sent to nearby Afghanistan, where it had to be retrofitted to be effective in the rural mountains of the Hindu Kush and deserts of Helmand and Kandahar provinces, as opposed to the urban environments of Baghdad and Mosul. Now, as the war winds down in Afghanistan, the Islamic State group’s sweeping incursion toward Baghdad has forced the US to again focus its attention there.

US Central Command ultimately will make the decision on how much of the equipment in Kuwait will be shipped into the newly ravaged war zone. The rest will be disposed of or sent back to the US.

When asked about the strategy to defeat the Islamic State group, the top US general overseeing the campaign declined to offer specifics.

“I don’t want to disclose any timelines,” Lt Gen James Terry, commander of the Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, said during a news conference at the Pentagon. The task force is focusing on supporting, rebuilding and training Iraq’s fractured military and National Guard forces to prepare them to take on the vicious extremist army.

Terry cited Mosul and Anbar province, along with the cities of Ramadi and Baiji, as key areas his forces will try to wrest away from Islamic State group control.

While the military stands by President Barack Obama’s repeated pledge that he will not put US combat forces on the ground, an increasing number of US troops has slowly trickled back into Iraq.

In latest development, the US-led coalition against ISIL carried out seven airstrikes in Syria and three airstrikes in Iraq on Tuesday, the Combined Joint Task Force — Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) said in a statement.

In Syria, fighter and bomber aircraft struck targets near Kobani, where “six airstrikes destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL building, “ the statement said.

Near Barghooth, “an airstrike struck ISIL oil collection equipment,” it added.

In Iraq, the coalition employed fighter, bomber, and attack jets to strike targets near Sinjar, where “two airstrikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle and struck a mortar and an ISIL tactical unit,” while another airstrike “destroyed an ISIL fighting position” near Al Asad, the statement affirmed.

CJTF-OIR did not specify which nations participated in the Dec 23 operation.

In related news, US-led air strikes in Syria have killed more than 1,000 jihadists in the past three months, nearly all of them from the Islamic State group, a monitoring group said Tuesday.

“At least 1,171 have been killed in the Arab and international air strikes (since Sept 23), including 1,119 jihadists of the Islamic State group and Al-Nusra Front,” said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which relies on a network of activists and medics across the war-ravaged country for its information.

Among the dead were 1,046 members of IS, which has seized large chunks of Iraq and Syria and is the main target of the air campaign.

Seventy-two of those killed were members of al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, the Al-Nusra Front, while another was a jihadist prisoner whose affiliation was unknown, an Observatory statement said.

The remaining 52 were civilians.

IS has declared a “caliphate” in the parts of Iraq and Syria that it has overrun, and its militants have been accused of widespread atrocities, including beheading Western hostages.

In Baghdad, an Iraqi official says Islamic State militants have returned to the outskirts of a strategic oil refinery town after being driven out last month.

Gov Raed Ibrahim of the Salahuddin province says the militants fought their way to the edge of Beiji on Tuesday after three days of heavy clashes. He says they were able to advance because Iraqi troops lack heavy weapons.

The militants captured Beiji and besieged its refinery — the country’s largest — during their rapid advance across Iraq last summer. Iraqi forces wrested the town back in mid-November in one of their biggest victories to date against the insurgents. The refinery is some 20 kms (15 miles) north of town.

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