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Defence - page 6

Turkish Foreign Minister accuses US of keeping supply weapons to Kurdish forces

BreakingNews @en/Defence di

The United States continues to supply weapons to Kurdish forces in Syria despite assurances to the contrary, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday. “The US says it does not give weapons to the YPG [People’s Protection Units], but we know that they do. We see that the YPG and the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] are the same and arming them is wrong. We know that the US continues to give them weapons, and we have expressed our concerns with the fact,” Cavusoglu said.

Five people linked to IS arrested in Germany

BreakingNews @en/Defence di

Five people linked to the so-called Islamic State (IS) group have been arrested in co-ordinated raids in Germany, including a senior Islamist figure, reports say. Flats were raided in northern and western Germany and a mosque was searched near Hanover. Among those arrested was an Iraqi who goes by the alias Abu Walaa, or “the preacher without a face”. Germany’s NDR TV has identified him as Ahmad Abdelazziz A. The raids came as a result of information from a 22-year-old jihadist who spent several months with IS in Syria before fleeing to Turkey, it said. Before returning to Germany in late September, the man, named Anil O, gave an interview in which he referred to Abu Walaa as “IS’s number one in Germany”.

The man who coordinated the deadly attacks in Paris and Brussels has been identified

BreakingNews @en/Defence di

A Belgian-Moroccan jihadist operating in Syria is believed to have organised the deadly attacks on Paris and Brussels, sources say. For months intelligence teams have been trying to identify a man known as Abou Ahmad, involved in recruiting a number of Islamist militants for attacks across Europe. They now believe they have identified him as Oussama Ahmad Atar. He is linked to bombers who targeted Paris in 2015 and Brussels in March.

Damascus: Defense Minister of Russian Federation clarified that no attack were carried out in that area

BreakingNews @en/Defence di

Defense Minister of the Russian Federation Sergey Shoigu denied information about the alleged attacks on Damascus and clarified that “VKS Russian aircraft, on November 7, in the specified area of flights didn’t carrie out and apply any attack. The information published by the media, is another fake “, the ministry said. Moreover, it has already happened that media as “Anadolu Agency” published fake information about russian operation in the territory. In response to such allegations Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for the Russian President, declared the sole right of Russian leader Vladimir Putin to resume air strikes on Aleppo.

United States: Internet Of Things Partly Responsible For Cyberattack

Americas/Defence di

The Oct. 20 cyberattack on major U.S.-based internet domain host, Dyn, was partly carried out using internet-connected devices such as digital recorders and webcams, Dyn’s chief strategy officer said Oct. 21, Reuters reported.

The attackers secretly implanted malicious code in hundreds of devices in the so-called “internet of things” to create a network. The devices were combined with millions of computers to inundate Dyn’s servers with spurious traffic in a method known as a distributed denial of service attack. The cyberattack managed to take down sites including Twitter, Paypal, Reddit, Spotify and numerous media outlets. Both the FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security are investigating.

The source of the attack will be particularly difficult to track down given the methods used, but experts are not ruling out hackers sponsored by nation states. The Oct. 20 incident follows closely on a Department of Homeland Security warning last week that manufacturers needed to increase security in internet-connected devices.


Normandy Four: Putin plans to take part and talk for the first time in a year

BreakingNews @en/Defence di

Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin’s Spokesman, announced that Russian President, Vladimir Putin, will visit Berlin on 19th of October to take part in the meeting of the Normandy Four group. The official stressed that Putin’s decision to take part in the meeting was unrelated to the escalation of the situation in Ukraine.

The Kremlin believes that Kiev’s calls for forcing Moscow into compliance with the Minsk Accords indicate how complex the situation is. The press secretary stressed that Vladimir Putin is ready to do everything to push forward the Minsk process on the Ukrainian conflict settlement within the Normandy Four format.

SA’s retaliation: air strikes hit Sana’a

Defence/Middle East - Africa di


On September 20, Saudi Arabian authorities authorised air strikes against Houthis rebel positions in the Yemen’s capital Sana’a. Around a dozen bombs or missiles hit the Headquarters of the National Security Bureau -it is the first time since the beginning of the conflict- the defence ministry, a checkpoint in the capital’s north-western suburbs and two rebel military camps in the southeast district of Sanhan.

This attack comes as a response to a missile fired by the rebels on Monday evening. According to Saudi Arabia (SA), the Qaher-1 missile was aimed at SA’s King Khalid Air Base, 60 km north of the Yemeni border, in the city of Khamees Mushait. SA reports the missile was intercepted by the kingdom’s air defence before it could cause any damage to the base and neighbourhood, though Houthis-run Saba News Agency discloses the missile actually hit the target.

Regardless, SA immediately responds to the attack, causing at least one civilian death and some wounded, witnesses said. It is not the first time that the hostilities cause civilian deaths, proving once again the heavy criticism for high civilian death toll since the beginning of the Saudi Arabia-led air campaign.


Houthis and government forces have battled on-and-off since 2004 but it was in 2014 that a civil war eventually broke out. Indeed, in September 2014, Houthis -a rebel group known as Ansar Allah (Partisans of God) that adheres to the branch of Shia Islam called Zaidism- took control of Sana’a, Yemen’s capital city, and forced President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the Saudi-backed government to temporarily flee to Riyadh.

Security forces split in two groups, one supporting the international recognised government, the other backing rebels. The scenario was deeply worsen by the emergence of two other actors. On one hand, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which gained grip in the south and south-east region. On the other, a Yemen affiliate of the Islamic State, which was trying to overrun AQAP and claimed responsibility of some suicide bombings in Sana’a.

Conflict escalated in March 2015, when Saudi Arabia and her allies launched a massive air campaign in Yemen in order to restore Hadi’s government. Since then, more than 6,600 people have been killed, while the number of displaced people has risen to 3 million.

To date, fighting has not stopped and the situation in Yemen is still unstable. The United Nations often report alarming data on civilian deaths, recently accusing Saudi Arabia-led coalition to be responsible of 2/3 of those and Houthis to be involved in mass civilian casualties due to the siege of the city of Taiz.

In addition, several foreign countries have taken part -though with different means- in the fighting. The international coalition includes SA, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan and Senegal. United States, United Kingdom and France are supporting the coalition providing supplies, with the US also carrying air strikes targeting ISIS and AQAP positions in Yemen. On the other side, Iran has been accused of arming Houthis rebels, though the country has always denied it.

It should be added that the conflict in Yemen cannot be reduced to a civil war or a terrorist battlefield, but it is the result of several and conflicting dynamics involving multiple actors and opposite interests. Indeed, despite the civil war and the terrorist threat, Yemen is the theatre of the proxy war between the two major powers in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia and Iran, thus dragging into the scene alliances and games of powers that escalate tensions and foster instability in the region.


Paola Fratantoni



Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi spotted inside Mosul

Defence/Far East di

Two huge pieces of news emerged from Iraq midway through last week, as the mission to free the surrounding areas of Mosul began to unfold.

First off, on the 20th of September a source within the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Iraq revealed to Iraqi broadcast company Al-Sumaria that IS’ current leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, had been spotted inside the city of Mosul just a few days earlier.
Al-Baghdadi was reportedly seen in public gatherings and while driving a white car in the streets of Mosul, escorted by four armed men. According to international sources, IS’ most prominent figure reached the Iraqi capital city of the self-proclaimed “caliphate” to try and diminish discontent within the residents of the area, allegedly caused by the imminent offensive for the liberation of Mosul of the government forces and their allies.
Experts are still trying to understand whether the photograph provided to Al-Sumaria network, which portraits al-Baghdadi meeting people in a mosque or at a market, is authentic or not – and if it was actually taken in the recent past. Meanwhile, the government source asked to remain anonymous for security reasons.
The latest news on IS chemical weapons are equally worrying. The Pentagon held a press conference on Thursday and stated that laboratory tests and in-depth analysis carried out immediately after IS’ attack on Qayyara military base (which occurred two days earlier) confirmed the use of so-called “mustard gas”. This is a very powerful chemical weapon firstly exploited during World War I, which contains yprite.
Despite IS certainly hit with chemical weapons in the past, the US Department of Defense confirmation of the use of mustard gas is the first one coming from a very reliable and influential source, and it raised concerns among the international community.
Federico Trastulli

Turkey: Military Makes Second Syrian Incursion

Defence di

Turkey sent tanks over the Syrian border for the second time Sept. 3, crossing into al Rai, Kilis province, from Cobanbey, Dogan news reported.

The military also launched artillery strikes on the area, which has changed hands frequently between Islamic State and rebel forces. Turkey’s first incursion occurred Aug. 24 at the city of Jarabulus 55 kilometers (34 miles) northeast. Also on Sept. 3, Turkish-backed Hamza Brigade and Failaq al-Sham rebels took control of the Syrian villages of Arab Ezra, Fursan, Lilawa, Kino and Najma.

These communities are all west of Jarabulus. After clearing a path for its troops to enter Syria, Turkey is now fully involved in a military campaign in northern Aleppo province. Turkey is attempting to move the Islamic State away from the border and, at the same time, prevent Kurdish militants in the Syrian Democratic Forces from establishing a foothold.



Iran: S-300 Missile System Deployed To Fordow Nuclear Site

Americas/Defence di

Iran has deployed the Russian-supplied S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system around its Fordow underground uranium enrichment facility, Iranian state media said Aug. 29, Reuters reported. A commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ air defense force said the priority of thedefense system was only to protect the nuclear site. Iran and six world powers reached a deal in 2015 aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting economic sanctions imposed on Tehran over its disputed nuclear work. Enrichment of uranium at the Fordow facility, around 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Tehran, has stopped since the implementation of the nuclear deal. Russia in 2010 canceled a contract to deliver S-300s to Iran, but Russian President Vladimir Putin lifted that self-imposed ban in April 2015, providing much-needed defense equipment to Iran’s military. In August, Iran said that Russia had delivered main parts of the system to the country, adding that it would be delivered in its entirety by the end of 2016.


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