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Iraq, six Air strike hit Daesh

Defence di

Attack, bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft and rocket artillery conducted six strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

— Near Haditha, a strike destroyed an artillery system.

— Near Huwayjah, two strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL-held building and a vehicle.

— Near Mosul, three strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units; destroyed three ISIL-held buildings, three supply caches, two mortar systems, a fighting position and a vehicle bomb; damaged 24 supply routes; and suppressed two mortar teams.

Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target. Ground-based artillery fired in counterfire or in fire support to maneuver roles is not classified as a strike.

The battle of Mosul, a bloodbath

Asia @en/Defence di

Despite its rapid pace, the advance toward Mosul has been relatively uneven. Elite Iraqi special operations forces arrived at the city’s outskirts before the rest of the coalition. According to the battle plan, the advance into Mosul itself was to have begun only once the Iraqi army had converged on the city from three sides. Nonetheless, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reportedly ordered the special operations forces to continue on to the city, hoping to sustain the advance’s momentum and prevent the Islamic State from regrouping. Furthermore, though the original strategy provided for an avenue of escape to the west of Mosul, the Iraqi government allegedly bowed to pressure from Tehran and allowed the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Forces to close it. The uncoordinated advance from a single direction, coupled with the decision to keep fighters trapped in the city, has turned Mosul into a deadly urban battlefield.

So far, the battle for Mosul has taken a tremendous toll on Iraq’s armed forces. The United Nations estimates that nearly 2,000 Iraqi troops were killed in November alone, many of them in Mosul. Iraqi special operations forces have continued to bear the brunt of the fighting since entering Mosul, joined by the forward elements of the 9th Armored Division that have reached the eastern parts of the city. But officers have complained that their tanks and armored vehicles are of little use in Mosul’s dense urban terrain, where repeated ambushes have hit several of their convoys. Once the 15th and 16th Infantry divisions link up with the special operations forces and 9th Armored Division elements in the city, they will ease the burden on the beleaguered troops. Northeast of the city, the 16th Infantry Division is still making slow progress, while the 15th Infantry Division is spread thin to the southwest from Mosul to Tal Afar.

Meanwhile, Islamic State forces were well-prepared for the confrontation in Mosul. Even before the campaign began, Islamic State fighters established an intricate network of tunnels in the city that not only provides cover against airstrikes but also enables them to suddenly appear in neighborhoods that the Iraqi forces had previously declared clear. The militant group is also driving vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices into advancing Iraqi forces in droves — approximately 15 per day for a total of 600 by the last count. The resulting attacks are difficult to counter with airstrikes or anti-tank missiles. Small arms fire is similarly ineffective against the vehicles because of the armor that the Islamic State invariably bolts to them.

Notwithstanding the fierce battle that lies ahead, the outcome is all but certain: The Iraqi army will eventually retake Mosul. In the meantime, the costs of the campaign — in lives lost and damage done — will continue to mount, perhaps for months to come.


Russia is actively supllying tons of humanitarian aid in Syria

BreakingNews @en/Defence di

Moscow has blasted as “outrageous twisting of the facts” a statement by EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, who said the EU was the only party providing aid to Syria. The Russian Foreign Ministry also officially responded to Mogherini’s statement  and said that Russia, “unlike other international players, is actively supplying thousands of tons of humanitarian aid to various regions in Syria, including the liberated areas in eastern Aleppo, at the risk of Russian military lives.” Mogherini’s words aren’t the first aimed against the Russian humanitarian effort in Syria: last week, British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said that the Syrian regime and their influencers are preventing aid from reaching Aleppo. In response, Russian Defence Ministry’s spokesperson, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said that  the UK government has lost an objective view of what is happening in Syria, including Aleppo, due to Russophobia, adding that the UK has not sent a single gram of flour, any medicine or blankets to help civilians in Aleppo during the whole Syrian conflict.

No common approach on the roadmap for the Donbass settlement reached so far

BreakingNews @en/Defence di

Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, affirmed that no common approach on the roadmap for the Donbass settlement has been reached so far. He reminded that the four Ministers met in late November in Minsk. So far, no common approach has surfaced, although the process is slowly moving, at a snail’s pace however. At their meeting in the Belarusian capital city on November 29, the Normandy Four, namely Russian, German, French and Ukrainian, Foreign Ministers failed to agree a roadmap for the implementation of the Minsk’s agreements. The agreements, signed on September 2014 and February 2015, envisaged a ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and people’s militias in the self-proclaimed republics in Donetsk and Lugansk starting from February 15 and subsequent withdrawal of heavy weapons from the line of engagement. The deal also laid out a roadmap for a lasting settlement in Ukraine, including local elections and constitutional reform to give more autonomy to the war-torn eastern regions.

FBI: no evidence about a possible terrorist attack in Los Angeles

Americas/BreakingNews @en/Defence di

The FBI confirmed that they found no evidence about a possible terrorist attack on the Los Angeles subway. On Tuesday the city authorities ordered an increase of security measures on the red line metro after an anonymous call, made by an Australian phone line, warned that there would be an attack on the Universal metro station. The increased security measures are still operating as a precaution.

Japan wants to strenghten unilteral sanctions against North Korea

BreakingNews @en/Defence di

On Friday, the government decided to strengthen unilateral sanctions against North Korea using measures such as expanding the range of entities and individuals subject to asset freezes. The decision follows North Korea’s repeated nuclear tests and ballistic missile launches. The new measures, which are in line with the unilateral sanctions introduced in February, include expanding a reentry ban to include people who have traveled to North Korea. The government intends to urge Pyongyang to change its position by stringently blocking the departure and entry of people linked to North Korea’s nuclear and missile developments and flow of funds, according to sources.

Ukraine has not sent notification about new missile firing drills after the 2nd of December

BreakingNews @en/Defence di

On Friday, Chief of General Staff Gen. Viktor Muzhenko affirmed that the Ukrainian Armed Forces have wrapped up surface-to-air missile tests in southern Ukraine. The head of Russia’s aviation watchdog Rosaviatsia, Alexander Neradko, affirmed that Ukraine has not sent any notifications about new missile firing drills in the Black Sea after 2nd of December. According to Neradko, Russia continue to monitor the airspace over Simferopol and the Black Sea. Earlier, Rosaviatsia said that Ukraine planned to hold missile exercises in the Simferopol flight information region (FIR) over the city of Simferopol and part of the Black Sea on December 1 and 2. It also issued a special notification about high-risk zones in that region. Later, Ukraine declared it was introducing more high-risk zones there.

According to Pakistan, UNSC is not doing anything to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

BreakingNews @en/Defence di

Pakistan has criticised UN Security Council’s inaction to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which it deems essential for peace and stability in the Middle East. Speaking in the General Assembly in the debate on “The Question of Palestine”, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Maleeha Lodhi said that inaction by the Security Council has not only undermined its own credibility but has also weakened the ideals that the organisation espouses. These, she said, includes ideals of human dignity, of peaceful coexistence based on sovereign equality of all nations and of the right to self-determination of all people.

Moscow ready for dialogue with International partners but won’t let them infringe its interests

BreakingNews @en/Defence/Politics di

During his annual address to Russian lawmakers, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Moscow is ready for dialogue with its international partners, but will not allow them to infringe on its interests or meddle in its decision-making. He noted, however, that Russia is ready to participate in solving global and regional crises when necessary. Putin also said that Russia’s policy towards its Asian partners, China and Japan, is not opportunistic or a response to the deterioration in US-relations, but based on Russia’s plans for long-term development. In his speech, the Russian President also urged the United States to join Russia to jointly fight international terrorism. It has been the 23rd such event in Russia’s modern history and the 13th speech delivered by Vladimir Putin.

Syrian opposition might cooperate with Russia to end the fighting in Aleppo

According four anonymous source, cited by Financial Times, leaders of the Syrian opposition are holding negotiations with Russian representatives to end the fighting in Aleppo. The US is allegedly not aware of the talks.  The talks are taking place in Ankara, brokered by Turkey, and Washington is not participating in the negotiations, the sources told to the international daily. The sources added that it is not the first time that the Syrian opposition has met with the Russian side, but it is unprecedented that so many rebel groups would participate in the negotiations.  On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, said that Russia and Turkey are constantly in touch with various groups in Syria. Lavrov also noted that Russia called to set up contacts with armed Syrian opposition groups during the Lausanne talks a month ago.

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