Wednesday, October 2, 2013

'Al-Qaeda Branch Battles Kurds, Threatens Ankara'

"... An opposition source in Aleppo, speaking to Al-Akhbar on condition of anonymity, said that if current trends seen in the Free Syrian Army (FSA) and other brigades continue, then the Syrian revolution will be completely derailed and transformed into a sectarian, takfiri battle. According to the source, it is also possible that we will see – perhaps following an American deal with the Syrian regime – an international mandate for the regime to crush the revolution once intelligence is shared with the regime to facilitate this task.The source also said that significant numbers of Arab and foreign fighters are ditching al-Nusra Front and other radical groups to join ISIS, increasing its strength at the expense of other groups. The source pointed out that there are deep concerns among opposition militants in the wake of the victories that ISIS now possesses the strongest factions in Aleppo and Idlib’s countryside....
In the meantime, ISIS has threatened to launch a series of suicide attacks against Turkish government interests unless Turkey opens the Bab al-Hawa and Bab al-Salamah crossings, which Ankara closed down after ISIS seized control of the town of Azaz.
The threat, which came as a statement posted in jihadi online forums, gave Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government no later than Monday, October 7, to open the border crossings. Addressing Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the statement hinted at ISIS’ responsibility for the bombings in Reyhanli and Bab al-Hawa and said suicide attacks will target government interests in Ankara and Istanbul.On the ground, 16 militants were killed in an ambush while trying to slip into the Salah al-Din district. A number of other militants were also killed in a separate incident during clashes with the Syrian army in the Ansari district, adjacent to Salah al-Din.
At the same time, the Syrian air force continued to target weapons convoys coming from Turkey. Syrian warplanes also attacked convoys between al-Atarib and Orme al-Kubra, and between Orme al-Kubra and Qabtan al-Jabal.
In the far south of Ifrin, clashes continued between the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and ISIS in the vicinity of the village of Otma Jandaris in the province of Idlib. Idlib is under the control of ISIS, which lost some of its outposts in the area after the death of its field commander Omar al-Chichani. The YPG was able to advance and repel takfiri militants from Kurdish villages south of Ifrin, and then counter-attacked in Otma..."

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