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Jihadist Snuff Video Production Crew Claims Another Violent Murder: Islamic State Group Beheads U.S. Aid Worker Peter Kassig

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BEIRUT (AP) — An Islamic State group video released Sunday purports to show extremists beheading a dozen Syrian soldiers and ends with a militant claiming to have killed U.S. aid worker Peter Kassig, the latest slaughter proudly broadcast by the group on the Internet.

“The Islamic State group has beheaded and shot dead hundreds of captives — mainly Syrian and Iraqi soldiers — during its sweep across the two countries, and has celebrated its mass killings in extremely graphic videos.”

The video ends with the militant standing over a severed head he says belongs to Kassig. U.S. officials said they were working to determine the video’s authenticity. Kassig’s family said it was awaiting the outcome of the investigation.

“The group has declared a self-styled Islamic caliphate in the areas under its control, which it governs according to its violent interpretation of Shariah law.”

“We prefer our son is written about and remembered for his important work and the love he shared with friends and family, not in the manner the hostage takers would use to manipulate Americans and further their cause,” the family said in a statement.

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The Associated Press could not independently verify the footage, though it appeared on websites used in the past by the Islamic State group, which now controls a third of Syria and Iraq.

The video identifies the militants’ location as Dabiq, a town in northern Syria that the militant group uses as the title of its English-language propaganda magazine and where they believe an apocalyptic battle between Muslims and their enemies will occur. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Unsubstantiated Report: ISIS Captures, Beheads Kurdish Female Fighter ‘Rehana’ in Kobane: War Propaganda?

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contributor-80x100-mchastainFor Brietbart.com writes: The Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) reportedly beheaded a famous female Kurdish freedom fighter known only as “Rehana.” The Women Protection Units (YPG) soldier fought against the terrorist group in Kobane, a strategically important border town in Syria near Turkey.

[Also see – My Bravery Shames Them': Kurdish Women Fight on Front Lines Against Islamic State – punditfromanotherplanet.com]

A picture of Rehana making the V-sign became a widely-distributed image online, retweeted over 5,000 times. Reports claimed she killed over 100 Islamic State jihadists single-handedly. But now a picture of a militant holding her head is making the rounds on social media. The death is not confirmed.

Earlier this month the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors events in Syria, reported Isis militants beheaded nine Kurdish fighters, including three women  Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2809260/Poster-girl-Kurdish-freedom-fighters-Kobane-captured-beheaded-ISIS.html#ixzz3HTSPmJZo  Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Earlier this month the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors events in Syria, reported Isis militants beheaded nine Kurdish fighters, including three women

[Daily Mail – Poster girl for Kurdish freedom fighters in Kobane is ‘captured and beheaded by ISIS killers’ who posted gruesome pictures online]

Female fighters are essential to the Kurds. The Women Protection Units (YPG) in Kobane are led by Mayass Abdo, who goes by Narin Afrin. All of the female Pershmerga are volunteers and are honored to fight against the terrorists. One such soldier, Dilar Gencxemis, blew herself up outside of Kobane, killing dozens of militants. Read the rest of this entry »


Bottle of Whiskey with Some News On Top

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Europe’s Teen ISIS Girls, What Do They Want?

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Why the Teenage Girls of Europe Are Joining ISIS

Because They Want the Same Things Teenage Boys Want: A Strong Sense of Meaning and Purpose

For Tablet MagazineLee Smith writes: Teenage girls are the West’s center of gravity: Virtually all of Western pop culture, the key to our soft power, is tailored to the tastes of teenage girls. Through the wonders of information technology, the mobile phone mass-produced the mores and habits of phone-mad teenage girls locked in their bedrooms. Indeed, Western civilization is a success largely insofar as it has made the world a safe place for teenage girls—to go to school, get a job, and decide who and when to marry, or if they want to marry. When teenage girls turn away from One Direction and embrace ISIS, it means the West is losing.51TVFjKStQL._SL250_

[Order Lee Smith’s “The Consequences of Syria (The Great Unraveling: The Remaking of the Middle East)“]

“The idea of a caliphate, ripped from the pages of Muslim history, resonates with a kind of existential authenticity missing from the vast and drab European suburbs warehousing Muslim youth.”

A Washington Institute poll last week showed that the Islamic State has more support in Europe than it does in the Middle East. The poll reported that only 3 percent of Egyptians, 5 percent of Saudis, and under 1 percent of Lebanese “expressed a positive opinion of the IS.” On the other hand, 7 percent of U.K. respondents had a favorable view of the group, as did 16 percent of French polled—with 27 percent of French citizens between 18-24 responding favorably.

“So, why given a choice between a comfortable, if somewhat boring, life as a pharmacist in Hamburg, or fighting and dying in the desert, are thousands of Western Muslims opting for the latter?”

The numbers should hardly come as a surprise. Thousands of young European Muslims have already left the continent for the Middle East to help the organization’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, build an authentic Islamic caliphate. Doubtless thousands more are on their way, to kill and die for an idea they believe in.

“Because, for all the awesome social services and consumer goods it can offer, Europe has become incapable of endowing the lives of its citizens, Muslim or not, with meaning. “

It is a striking fact that ISIS appeals not only to young men, but also young European women, many hundreds of whom have gone to Syria and Iraq to marryIslamic State fighters. Sure, some of them, like the 15-year-old French Jewish girlNora el-Bathy, may have come to regret their decision. But that hardly alters the essential point: The girls sought out IS fighters because the West seems weak and unmanly and they pine for real men who are willing to kill and die for what they believe in. Read the rest of this entry »


‘My Bravery Shames Them': Kurdish Women Fight on Front Lines Against Islamic State

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When 19-year-old Dilar and her girlfriends learned last spring that a woman who taught at a local school had died fighting Islamic State, they made a pact: They would join an all-female Syrian Kurdish brigade named in the teacher’s honor.

“When I walk with my gun, the men who haven’t volunteered keep their eyes down around me. My bravery shames them.”

Her unit, the Martyr Warsin Brigade, saw action this summer in a tough battle against the extremist fighters for Ras al-Ayn, a town along the Turkish border. Dilar came away without injury and returned home to a hero’s welcome.

[Also see The Mystery of Ceylan Ozalp]

Now, during her downtime, she and her female comrades stride with a swagger through their villages east of the embattled city of Kobani.

Caskets holding the bodies of four female Kurdish fighters are carried from a hospital in Suruc, Turkey, to a cemetery near the border with Syria. Andrew Quilty for The Wall Street Journal

Caskets holding the bodies of four female Kurdish fighters are carried from a hospital in Suruc, Turkey, to a cemetery near the border with Syria. Andrew Quilty for The Wall Street Journal

“When I walk with my gun, the men who haven’t volunteered keep their eyes down around me,” said Dilar, who didn’t want to give her family name. “My bravery shames them.”

“Really we have no differences. We do what the men do.”

As debate flares in Washington and other capitals about whether the battle against Islamic State can succeed without more boots—even U.S. ones—on the ground, Kurdish women have stepped up to defend their lands in Syria and Iraq. An estimated one-third of the Syrian Kurdish fighters in Kobani are women, fighters and residents say, a figure that mirrors their role in other significant battles across Kurdish territories this year.

The monthlong battle over the city on the Turkish border is straining Islamic State, Kurdish politicians and U.S. officials say, and hampering its overall expansion strategy.

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The overriding motivation that Kurds give for fighting the insurgents is to save their ancestral homeland from destruction. Yet many women combatants also cite a more personal crusade. Across the territory in Syria and Iraq that it now controls, Islamic State has reinstituted slavery, prohibited women from working and threatened to kill those Muslims, including Kurds, who don’t adhere to their ideology.

“Sometimes we are so close to them without knowing it, because they hide in empty buildings.” 

“Islamic State are terrorists, inhuman,” said a 28-year-old female commander of both men and women in Kobani who uses the nom-de-guerre Afsin Kobane.

Ms. Kobane was a kindergarten teacher when she decided last year to join the female unit of the Syrian Kurdish resistance force, known as YPJ. Speaking by telephone from her post in the besieged city on the Turkish border, she said her mixed-gender unit had been fighting for more than a month and was holding a position only a half-mile from Islamic State fighters. Read the rest of this entry »


Onwaarschijnlijk Krijgers: Dutch Biker Gang Joins fight Against Islamic State in Iraq

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The three men are members of an infamous motorbike gang, No Surrender, the biggest biker club in the Netherlands

Anna Holligan, BBC News, The Hague: Three members of a Dutch motorcycle club with military backgrounds have gone to Iraq to help fight Islamic State (IS), a fellow biker says.

“They wanted to do something when they saw the pictures of the beheadings.”

The three left for northern Iraq to help Kurds there after being horrified by news of IS atrocities, Klaas Otto told Dutch media.

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All are trained soldiers who have served abroad in the past, he said.

“They are trained guys with lots of experience – with foreign missions, too. They are extremely disciplined. They don’t drink any alcohol, not even on club evenings.”

Dutch prosecutors told BBC News that they were not necessarily breaking the law by fighting on the Kurdish side.

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Wim de Bruin, a spokesman for the Dutch prosecutor’s office, said that signing up with organisations like IS or the Kurdish militant group PKK was banned but joining a foreign armed force was no longer forbidden.

But if there was proof that they were committing murders or rapes then “of course, it would be a different story”, he said.

The Netherlands’ defence ministry said it could not be held responsible for choices made by ex-servicemen.

The story emerged after photos began circulating on social media. One shows a man dressed in green military fatigues, clutching a Kalashnikov, sitting alongside a Kurdish fighter.

The Netherlands has a considerable Kurdish community. Read the rest of this entry »


Islamic State Militants’ Redraw Borders, Fracturing Iraq’s Fragile Cohesion


Islamic State Militants Advance Despite Airstrikes: ‘Most of the eastern and southern parts of the city have fallen under the ISIS control…the situation is getting worse’

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ISIS Gains Territory Despite Weeks of Bombing by U.S., Allies, Raising Questions About Strategy

For WSJ, Margaret Coker in Erbil, Iraq, Jay Solomon in Cairo and Tamer El-Ghobashy in Baghdad report: Islamic State militants have gained territory in Iraq and Syria despite weeks of bombing by the U.S. and its allies, raising questions about the coalition’s strategy of trying to blunt the jihadists’ advance while local forces are being trained to meet the threat on the ground.

“The strategy’s biggest weakness in Iraq, officials there say, is the glacial pace of cobbling together an Iraqi political alliance between Sunnis willing to join with the Shiite-controlled central government to rebuild a national military force to fight Islamic State more effectively.”

In Syria, fighters from Islamic State, also known as ISIS, have taken large sections of the city of Kobani in recent days, said Ismet Sheikh Hasan, the defense minister of the city’s Kurdish administration. “Most of the eastern and southern parts of the city have fallen under the ISIS control,” he said. “The situation is getting worse.”

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[Also see Matthew Continetti‘s Accept No Substitutes: As the Islamic State continues to gain territory, U.S. ground troops are needed more than ever]

This comes despite a week of heavy airstrikes around the city to help local Syrian Kurdish fighters keep Islamic State forces from the city center.

“The call for American ground troops, however unlikely to be met, caused fresh rifts in Anbar which threatened to weaken the already shaky coalition of government forces working with tribal fighters to fend off the Islamic State assault.”

In Iraq, militant forces operating in a swath of territory the size of California have extended their control of the roads and commercial routes in strategically vital Anbar Province, which connects the capital Baghdad to Jordan and Syria.

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Anbar, which has critical infrastructure and whose eastern edge lies only about 25 miles from Baghdad’s center, is also in danger of falling wholly under Islamic State control despite weeks of U.S. strikes aimed at weakening the group, local officials say.

“While the militant group is yet to take the provincial capital of Ramadi, officials in Anbar warn that they are losing their grip on the city to a highly organized and disciplined insurgency that has surrounded military bases and put a choke hold on trade from Jordan, effectively controlling movements of goods and people in the region.”

The province’s chief of police was killed in a bombing Sunday, officials said, heightening unease over the government’s ability to fend off Islamic State forces. Read the rest of this entry »


Where Do ISIS Militants in Syria Come From?

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The Jimmy Carter Foreign Policy Smackdown

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“We waited too long. We let the Islamic State build up its money, capability and strength and weapons while it was still in Syria…”

“I noticed that two of his secretaries of defense, after they got out of office, were very critical of the lack of positive action on the part of the president.”

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“But Jimmy…wait…please…I know…I…it’s…but…”

Read the rest of this entry »


Turkey, U.S. Warn Syrian City Will Soon Fall

Both Countries Urge the Other to Halt ISIS Advance on Kobani

Turkey and the U.S. warned that a major Syrian border city was in imminent danger of falling to Islamic State, with the two countries putting the onus on the other to halt the extremist group’s advance.

“You can’t end this terrorism just by airstrikes. If you don’t support them on the ground by cooperating with those who take up a ground operation, the airstrikes won’t do it.”

– Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pressed the U.S.-led coalition on Tuesday to move ahead with plans to arm and train Syrian and Iraqi ground forces to battle Islamic State, saying airstrikes alone weren’t enough.

An American military official said the U.S. believes the situation in the predominantly Kurdish city of Kobani is increasingly dire, and that the city is likely to fall shortly if Turkey doesn’t intervene.BN-EW719_1007is_OR_20141007093816

The complications for Turkey stemming from the advance on Kobani were mounting rapidly. Beyond U.S. pressure to step in, protests by the country’s restive Kurds were spreading quickly. At least a dozen people were killed in clashes with security forces in several Kurdish-majority cities, local media reported. The demonstrations reached Istanbul.

Airstrikes Tuesday by the coalition fighting Islamic State hit positions near Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab. But Kurdish officials and Syrian opposition members said the militants were still advancing against Syrian Kurdish fighters.

Mr. Erdogan declared Kobani was “about to fall” while he was visiting a refugee camp in the border province of Gaziantep.

“You can’t end this terrorism just by airstrikes,” he said. “If you don’t support them on the ground by cooperating with those who take up a ground operation, the airstrikes won’t do it.”

The U.S. and its partners have conducted hundreds of airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Islamic State in recent weeks. But they have so far ruled out the deployment of their own ground forces, opting instead to train and support local forces.

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U.S. defense officials reiterated Tuesday that they are not going to directly coordinate operations with any force on the ground in Syria until at least some of the vetted moderate rebels have been through upcoming military training and are ready to enter the fight. Read the rest of this entry »


Report: Kurdish Female Suicide Bomber in Kobane Killed Dozens of ISIS Militants

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With Kurdish fighters under increasing pressure from the ISIS militants seeking to seize Kobane, this is the first time a suicide bomber has been used by Kurdish forces in the conflict. Her name in Kurdish was Dilar Gencxemis but she went under the nom-de-guerre of Arin Mirkan

SURUC, Turkey — Kurdish fighters battling ISIS militants for the Syrian town of Kobane employed a new tactic when a female suicide bomber blew herself up in an attack claimed to have killed dozens of militants. The young woman, a full-time fighter with the Syria-based Kurdish rebel group the People’s Protection Units (YPG), killed herself in the attack on Sunday, Kurdish sources said.

tribune ‏@tribunegr  23h22 hours ago #YPJ fighter #ArinMirkan carried out a suicide bomb attack on an #ISIS tank close to #Kobane

Source: Twitter — tribune ‏@tribunegr 
#YPJ fighter #ArinMirkan carried out a suicide bomb attack on an #ISIS tank close to #Kobane

Her act struck a chord with Kurds and others supporting the opposition to ISIS in Kobane, with #ArinMirkan becoming a popular hashtag on Twitter.

Her name in Kurdish was Dilar Gencxemis but she went under the nom-de-guerre of Arin Mirkan, the YPG said in a statement. She was from the Syrian town of Afrin in the Aleppo province of northern Syria, just south of the Turkish border.

“I don’t know her exact age but she was above 20. She was a fighter from the YPG. “She threw many grenades at ISIS insurgents. After that, she blew herself up.”

With Kurdish fighters under increasing pressure from the ISIS militants seeking to seize Kobane, this is the first time a suicide bomber has been used by Kurdish forces in the conflict. “I don’t know her exact age but she was above 20. She was a fighter from the YPG,” said Mustafa Bali, a Kurdish official in Kobane told in the Turkish border town of Suruc.

“The woman blew herself up for me, for the Kurds and for Kobane.” 

– Mustafa, one of the estimated 186,000 people from the Kobane region who fled the fighting into neighbouring Turkey

“She threw many grenades at ISIS insurgents. After that, she blew herself up,” he said, adding that dozens of ISIS fighters were killed in her assault.

“She killed dozens of gang members and demonstrated the YPG fighters’ determined resistance. If necessary, all YPG fighters will follow her example, and the gangs will not be allowed to achieve their aim of taking Kobane.”

– From a statement issued by the YPG, carried by the pro-Kurdish Firat news agency

The Britain-based Britain-based group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a wide network of sources inside Syria, also confirmed the attack by the female suicide bomber. Read the rest of this entry »


Teen Arrested at O’Hare, Wanted to Join ISIS

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The suspect, who appeared in court today, planned to slip through the porous Turkish border to Syria or on to Iraq

An Illinois teenager was arrested Saturday at a major airport as authorities say he was attempting to travel to the Middle East to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

UPDATE: From CNN: The search at Khan’s Bolingbrook, Illinois, home, where he lives with his parents, turned up documents allegedly written by Khan that stated his intentions.

“We are all witness that the Western societies are getting more immoral day by day. I do not want my kids being exposed to filth like this.”

– Khan in the letter, according to the complaint.

Mohammed Hamzah Khan, a 19-year-old U.S. citizen from Bolingbrook, appeared in court today to face charges for allegedly attempting to provide material support for a terrorist organization. If convicted, Khan could face up to 15 years in prison. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Mail Online UK Reports on Ceylan Ozalp: ‘Did Kurdish Fighters’ Poster Girl Kill Herself to Avoid Being ISIS Hostage?’

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 Daily Mail Online


BREAKING: Al Arabia Reports on Ceylan Ozalp Story; Verification Remains Elusive

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The reports of her suicide, which follows the beheading of seven men and three women by ISIS in Kobane earlier this week, took social media by storm and appeared in several Turkish news websites such as the daily Radikal.

editor-commen-deskUPDATE: Readers familiar with our coverage of the Ceylan Ozalp story will note that while our efforts to find credible sources to confirm whether Ceylan is dead or alive have yet to produce any new information, we’ve begun to build up a list of references and links as the media’s interest in the story continues to develop momentum. We were among the first news sites to pick up the Ceylan Ozalp suicide story and stick with it, with the aim of verifying it.

Mostly it’s been an internet myth. The lack of good information is problematic. Some sites and social media outlets simply circulate the story as-is, noting that it’s not confirmed, and include a direct link to where they found it. Other sites are less skeptical. Some are opportunistic, with an agenda to promote, and understandably have less regard for facts or useful attribution. This ismusissue unfortunate. One site in particular undercut the effort to verify the Ceylan Ozalp story by posting text copied (from LIVELEAK) with a headline nearly identical to oursremoving the link to LIVELEAK’s original source (this site) then posting it, with uncorrected, misleading quote attribution, and no direct links anywhere. Their defense for a practice that’s closer to propaganda than journalism? Claiming it’s “reader submitted”.

Because it’s an advocacy (“educational purposes”) site run by self-described “human rights activists”, there’s a different standard at work. Disassociating content from sources, suggesting the content arrives to them as provided by “the public” (whatever that means) anything goes. Neglecting to make an effort to verify a rumor or credit sources happens frequently on advocacy sites, so this isn’t unusual. Since the internet is a global (mostly) open marketplace of ideas and information, readers are aware that false or incomplete information goes with the territory. Skeptical readers can take into consideration the nature of unconfirmed reports, and the chaotic and propagandistic reality of warfare, when they explore stories like this.

This story is unusual because a lot of readers are searching, and often finding the same incomplete information. Or perhaps misinformation? Since the majority of the traffic involves sites that aren’t in English, western readers have indirect or secondary exposure to the media storm.

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The question remains: Is the Ceylan Ozalp story true or false?

We don’t claim to know. We’re interested, but skeptical. If you see a site that unquestioningly promotes the image of Ceylan as a “brave fighter” and heroic martyr, (and there are many) you’re likely reading propaganda. Or if you see a site, or a tweet, that claims the story is false, you might also be seeing the flip side of a disinformation campaign. Or, it might simply be a healthy challenge to the current media slant, the unquestioned rumor of Ozalp’s suicide.

Legitimate news sites are uniformly guarded about the veracity of the alleged Ceylan Ozalp battlefield suicide report, as it makes its way from social media outlets to more mainstream news outlets. Which brings us to the most current crossover news story by Al Arabiya.

When we first reported last week the story was little more than an internet rumor circulating in social media. In the past several days, it’s been picked up in Germany’s BILD magazine, The International Business Times UK, and now, several hours ago, this appeared in Al Arabiya.

As described above, our view remains a skeptical one. Is Ceylan Ozalp a brave fighter who killed herself rather than fall into the hands of ISIS? Or is Ceylan’s merely an image that’s being used by unreliable or self-interested international actors as a fictional propaganda puppet?

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Some of the photos of Ozalp show her in fighting poses (like this one) or heroic, scenic poses that could be staged, or could be real. We simply don’t know yet.

As we see in the story below–like all legitimate mainstream media reports–responsibly include this important disclaimer:

“Al Arabiya News Channel could not independently verify the authenticity of the report on her suicide.”

Go here for the full text of the following news story.

By Staff Writer, Al Arabiya News
Sunday, 5 October 2014

A Syrian Kurdish female combatant, who appeared on a BBC report in September, shot herself with a last bullet during fighting with militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) last week, according to media reports.

Ceylan Ozalp, 19, was reportedly surrounded by ISIS fighters near the Syrian Kurdish city of Kobane also known as Ain al-Arab. After she run out of ammunition Ozalp said “goodbye” over the radio and spent her last bullet on killing herself.

Also read: Biden apologizes to UAE for remarks about ISIS

The reports of her suicide, which follows the beheading of seven men and three women by ISIS in Kobane earlier this week, took social media by storm and appeared in several Turkish news websites such as the daily Radikal.

But other reports suggested Ozalp, also known as Diren –which means “resist” in Turkish, never left the northern Syrian town of Jezaa, which is still under the Kurdish control, according to International Business Times.

Al Arabiya News Channel could not independently verify the authenticity of the report on her suicide.

During her interview with the BBC last month, Ozalp said: “We’re not scared of anything…We’ll fight to the last. We’d rather blow ourselves up than be captured by IS (ISIS).”

“When they see a woman with a gun, they’re so afraid they begin to shake. They portray themselves as tough guys to the world. But when they see us with our guns they run away. They see a woman as just a small thing. But one of our women is worth a hundred of their men,” Ozalp told the BBC. Read the rest of this entry »


Alan Henning killed by Islamic State

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The Salford taxi driver was delivering aid to Syria in December when he was kidnapped and then held hostage

BBC – 3 October 2014 – Last updated at 18:38 ET

Paul Wood reports: A video purporting to show UK hostage Alan Henning being beheaded has been released by Islamic State militants.

“My thoughts and prayers tonight are with Alan’s wife Barbara, their children and all those who loved him.”

– David Cameron

IS threatened to kill him in footage last month showing the death of Briton David Haines, and in this video they threaten US aid worker Peter Kassig.

David Cameron said Britain would do all it could “to hunt down these murderers and bring them to justice”.

The prime minister said the killing of father-of-two Mr Henning, 47, showed “how barbaric and repulsive” IS was.

“My thoughts and prayers tonight are with Alan’s wife Barbara, their children and all those who loved him,” he said.

“Alan had gone to Syria to help get aid to people of all faiths in their hour of need.”

Mr Henning’s wife Barbara had this week appealed for her husband’s release, saying: “He is innocent.”

IS has previously released videos showing the apparent beheadings of two US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, and British aid worker Mr Haines.

The video released on Friday is yet to be verified, but it appears to show Mr Henning kneeling beside a militant, dressed in black, in a desert setting.

The footage ends with an IS fighter threatening a man they identify as Mr Kassig. Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE: IBTimes Reports on Alleged Battlefield Suicide of YPG Fighter Ceylan Ozalp

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“We’re not scared of anything. We’ll fight to the last. We’d rather blow ourselves up than be captured by Isis.”

– Ceylan Ozalp

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UPDATE: after several days of trying to find authentication of the Ceylan Ozalp story, we’ve seen a few modest breakthroughs. First, a German magazine picked up the story. And this morning, an item appeared by Gianluca Mezzofiore, an investigative reporter for IBTimes UK. Though it also can’t verify the authenticity of the report on her suicide, it’s the first article in English that we’ve seen to take on the story, and look into it.

It also contains a link to BBC’s Gabriel Gatehouse’s report, which I’d missed (we’ve linked Gatehouse’s BBC video, but not the article) It’s possible that Gatehouse is the only western journalist to meet and talk to Ceylan Ozalp while she was alive. And Mezzofiore may be the first investigative reporter to take what has so far only appeared in Turkish media outlets, circulated by pro-Kurdish politicians, and echoed by countless social media sites and blogs, but few, if any, news organizations, or western media outlets. We’ll add new updates as they come.

For example, this tweet appeared about nine hours ago. I wonder what newspaper is displayed in this photo? If anyone knows let us know.

 Syria: 19-Year-Old Kurdish Woman Fighter Kills Herself Rather Than Falling into Isis Hands

For the International Business Times in the UK, investigative reporter Gianluca Mezzofiore writes:gianluca-mezzofiore

A 19-year-old Kurdish fighter who appeared on a BBC report about Kurdish YPG women warriors in Syria has reportedly killed herself rather than falling into the hands of Isis (now known as Islamic State).

Ceylan Ozalp: ‘One of our women is worth a hundred of their [Isis] men’ 

Ceylan Ozalp found herself surrounded by Islamic State forces near the northern Syrian Kurdish city of Kobani, where a key battle is raging against the Sunni Islamists’ threat. Read the rest of this entry »


Saving Kobanê: The Town that the World Can’t Afford to Lose to ISIS

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RackMultipart20140616-20920-17w6y1sWilliam Gourlay reports: Few people had heard of the Syrian town of Kobanê until recently. But since coming under sustained attack in the last fortnight by Islamic State (ISIS) militants, the town has attracted international attention as at least 160,000 people have fled across the border to Turkey. Kobanê now stands as a barometer of the success – or possible failure – of the campaign to counter ISIS.

That the US-led coalition is not making a concerted effort to relieve Kobanê is puzzling to say the least. It appears that the PYD, which represents Syrian Kurds, has little direct contact with Western powers, so its appeals are not reaching appropriate ears.

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Ayn al-Arab, known by its predominantly Kurdish residents as Kobanê, is a district on the Syrian and Turkish border. European Commission DG ECHO/Flickr, CC BY-ND  Click to enlarge

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Despite being significantly outgunned, the Kurdish YPG militia have proven highly effective in their fight against ISIS, a struggle they have carried on for almost two years without outside support

Pressed hard against the Turkish border, Kobanê (also known as Ayn al-Arab) is one of several autonomous Kurdish territories within Syria. The Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia of Kobanê have been defending their homeland doggedly, but, significantly outnumbered and outgunned, they have steadily conceded territory.

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ISIS gangs are within kilometres of the town centre and thousands of Kobanê Kurds have fled into Turkey.

“While most Syrian Kurds are Sunni Muslims, amongst their ranks the YPG count local Syriac Christian units. They also include significant numbers of female fighters, some of whom have attracted the attention of Western media.”

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Kobanê, valiantly resisting ISIS thuggery, has become a rallying point for Kurds across the Middle East, Europe, the US and Australia. Many Turkish Kurds have attempted to cross the border to join to the fight against ISIS. Others maintain a vigil from the uplands around the Turkish border town of Suruç.

http://www.firatnews.com/news/guncel/kobane-ye-donusler-hizlandi.htm“Concerns are also raised about the PYD’s links with the Turkey-based Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The PKK initiated a terror campaign to establish a Kurdish state in Turkey in the 1980s…”

Turkish armed forces have not taken part in the hostilities, but after several stray ISIS shells landed in Turkish territory, tanks were brought into position at a vantage point overlooking Kobanê.

“…The Turkish government has been in negotiations with the PKK since late 2012, but still classifies the group as terrorist. The US, EU and Australia also list the PKK as a terrorist organisation, largely at the behest of Turkey.”

In the meantime, in a call for international help for the besieged Kurdish forces, activists have initiated a social media campaign and sit-ins in European capitals.

Saleh Muslim, leader of Syria’s Kurdish Democratic Union Party, has appealedfor military aid, warning that if it is not forthcoming genocide is at hand. Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE: German Magazine BILD Features Ceylan Özalp Story — ‘Peshmerga Fighter: Suicide Out of Fear of ISIS Rape’

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Peschmerga-Kämpferin: Selbstmord aus Angst vor ISIS-Vergewaltigung – Politik Ausland – Bild.de

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This appeared online about an hour ago, the first I’m aware of the Ceylan Özalp story being picked up by traditional print media. Until now, we’ve only seen it in social media, and blogs. Note that BILD concludes, rather than begins, with the familiar disclaimer:

“The source for the fate of Ceylan Ozalp was not conclusively verify their validity is, however, the descriptions appears authentic.”

Though it’s a less-than-ideal Google translation from German to English, we can see that it remains an “as is” story. However, it includes graphics, maps, a video, and a little more background. Does BILDs confidence in its authenticity give it more credibility? Perhaps so. We’ll let the readers decide.

Turkish and French sites occasionally have references, and the BBC has coverage of Kurdish women fighters, but information about Ceylan Özalp is elusive, adding to her increasingly mythic status.

Since this particular European tabloid is the first mainstream news organization to put any effort into telling the story of Ceylan Özalp, I offer it here with minimal interference (other than this introduction) with the German-to-English translation errors untouched. To see it at BILD in the original formatting, go here.

[Do you have a source, or more information about the fate of Ceylan Özalp? If so, drop us a line]

The Kurdish soldier Ceylan Ozalp said to have shot herself after they had no more ammunition to fight against ISIS

When the terrorists had surrounded it to Ceylan Ozalp adopted by radio, took her gun and shot himself. Afraid of being raped by the jihadists like so many women before.

“To the Bitter End”: Peshmerga women fighting against ISIS

For days warriors deliver the terror militia Islamic State in Iraq and in Syria (ISIS, also IS) violent struggle for Kurdish enclave Ain Al-Arab (Kurdish: Kobane) and the surrounding villages. Already 300 villages are in the hands of terrorists, Ain Al-Arab have them surrounded from three sides. Only two kilometers – then they are in town!

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The embattled border town of Ain​​-al-Arab

The Kurdish leader Saleh Muslim told the news agency Reuters: When the ISIS-fighters should arrive in the city, “they will destroy everything and the people slaughtered.” Within a few days the decision would be like.

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[click image to go to video at BILD]

The brave Peshmerga fighters

Still trying fighters of the Kurdish people’s defense units, the jihadists to stop. With poor facilities face young, old and women terrorists in the way. Read the rest of this entry »


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