Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, July 2015
Scores of Iraqis and Syrians Killed in Fighting, Air Strikes, Bombing Attacks
July 23, 2015
English news stories about fighting and attacks in Iraq and Syria are below the following Arabic news stories about attacks in Iraq:
Syrian forces kill 22 IS militants in northern province
DAMASCUS, July 23, 2015 (Xinhua) --
At least 22 militants with the Islamic State (IS) group were killed separately in northern Syria Thursday, a monitor group reported.
Eight of the IS militants were killed in the northeastern province of Hasaka during battles against the Syrian government forces and the Kurdish fighters, who are fighting to protect Hasaka from the attacks of the IS terror group.
The rest were killed by the strikes of the U.S.-led anti-terror coalition against the northern province of Raqqa, the de facto capital of the terror-labeled group, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
The fresh losses among the IS ranks came just a day after the group lost 33 of its militants during battles against the Kurds and the U.S.-led airstrikes, according to the UK-based Observatory.
The U.S.-led anti-terror coalition started bombing the IS positions in Syria in late September of last year. The strikes have so far done little to stem the momentum of the terror group.
On Wednesday, Syria's Presidential advisor said "the coalition, led by the U.S., to combat terrorism has given nothing in Iraq or Syria."
She affirmed priority in Syria now is combating terrorism, and stopping its support and finding sources through genuine cooperation among concerned countries.
IS militants exchange fire with Turkish forces near Syrian border town
DAMASCUS, July 23, 2015 (Xinhua) --
The Islamic State (IS) group exchanged fire with the Turkish forces near a Syrian border town in northern Syria Thursday, a monitor group reported.
The fire exchange took place near the town of Rai in the northern countryside of Aleppo, the last area the IS militants have been using as a conduit to move between Syria and Turkey since the Kurdish fighters captured the border city of Tal Abyad from the IS hands last month, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Other activists reported that the Turkish tanks returned fire from the IS-controlled town, adding that Turkish army scrambled fighter jets to Syrian border after the eruption of clashes.
Initial photos appeared online, purporting to show Turkish tanks shooting at IS targets in continuing border fighting.
Reports emerging from the clashes site said four Turkish tanks retaliated to IS fire and destroyed targets of the terror group in Syria.
Turkish Dogan News Agency reported tanks and armored vehicles were sent to border area amid ongoing clashes.
The exchange of fire between the IS and the Turkish army is the first to be witnessed since the terror-labeled group captured swathes of territories in northern Syria.
The Syrian government and some opposition activists repeatedly accused Turkey of facilitating the infiltration of the IS militants and other jihadi groups into Syria.
Rami Abdul-Rahman, the head of the Observatory, said recently that the Turkish authorities must be held responsible for allowing tens of thousands of jihadists to cross into Syria.
"The international community must investigate how the Turkish government allowed tens of thousands of jihadists to enter Syria to become a plague on the Syrian people," Abul-Rahman said.
Car bomb kills 20 in Baghdad Shi'ite district
Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:24pm EDT
A further 48 people were wounded by the blast in the Shurta neighborhood of southwestern Baghdad.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack, but Sunni Islamic State militants who control large parts of northern and western Iraq often target Shi'ites whom they denounce as "rejectionists".
A massive blast that killed more than 100 people less than a week ago in the town of Khan Bani Saad was claimed by Islamic State.
Iraqi security forces and Shi'ite paramilitary groups are currently focused on the western province of Anbar, where they have been gearing up for an offensive to retake the mainly Sunni Muslim governorate - Iraq's largest.
The United Nations said earlier this month that nearly 15,000 people had been killed in the 16-month period up to April 30.
(Reporting by Baghdad bureau; Writing by Isabel Coles; Editing by Alison Williams)
Kurd militants say kill two Turkish police to avenge Islamic State bombing
Wed Jul 22, 2015 3:09pm EDT
By Orhan Coskun and Dasha Afanasieva
Kurdish militants claimed responsibility for the killing of two Turkish police officers on Wednesday in what they said was retaliation for a suspected Islamic State suicide bombing which killed 32 mostly young students.
The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) said in a statement on one of its websites that the two police officers were killed at around 6 a.m. in the southeastern town of Ceylanpinar for "collaboration with the Daesh (Islamic State) gangs".
Security sources earlier told Reuters the officers were found dead with bullet wounds to the head in the house they shared in Ceylanpinar, on the border with Syria about 160 km (100 miles) east of Suruc, the site of Monday's suicide bombing.
Many of Turkey's Kurds and opposition supporters suspect President Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling AK Party of covertly backing Islamic State against Kurdish fighters in Syria, something the government has repeatedly denied.
Anti-government protests after Monday's bombing in Suruc erupted in several cities for a second night on Tuesday, with some of the demonstrators chanting "Murderer Islamic State, collaborator Erdogan and AKP".
"Although Islamic State has been held responsible for this attack, Turkey’s AKP government, by resisting the taking of effective measures to prevent Islamic State and other reactionary forces, bears the real responsibility," the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), whose support base is mostly Kurdish, said in a statement.
Turkey's NATO allies have expressed concern about control of its border with Syria which in parts runs directly parallel with territory controlled by Islamic State. The prospect of conflict spilling onto Turkish soil, embroiling Kurds, Islamist militants and security forces will raise alarm inside and outside Turkey.
Speaking during a break from a cabinet meeting attended by the commander of Turkey's ground forces on Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesman Bulent Arinc told reporters border security would be tightened.
"What is important in the face of Deash (Islamic State) is to block the terrorists' transit points and to have physical obstacles to this. A physical security system will be established at the border," he said, without giving details.
SUSPECT HAD TRAVELED TO SYRIA
A senior Turkish official told Reuters there was "strong evidence" to suggest the bomber was a 20-year old man born in the southeastern province of Adiyaman and of Kurdish origin, who had traveled to Syria last year with the help of a group linked to Islamic State.
"He was active in a Syria-linked group supporting the Islamic State. We know that he went to Syria illegally. It was not possible to track him during his time there," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the investigation.
He had links with another alleged bomber who attacked an HDP rally in the mostly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir days ahead of a June 7 parliamentary election, killing four people and wounding at least 200, the official said.
The Radikal newspaper quoted what it said was the man's mother saying he was a former student at Adiyaman university who had worked as a painter with his 25-year-old brother before going abroad.
"I don't know where he is now. I don't know if they joined ISIL (Islamic State), if they went for jihad," Semure Alagoz told the newspaper. They are both good kids, they wouldn't harm anyone."
Two lawmakers from the HDP submitted separate parliamentary motions on Wednesday naming a 20-year old woman as a suspect, and asking why police had released her from custody last month.
PROTESTS, MEDIA BANS
The turmoil comes at a difficult time for Turkey, with a caretaker government in charge while the AKP seeks a junior coalition partner after losing its majority in the June election for the first time in more than a decade.
At least 51 people have been arrested in protests in Istanbul alone and police seized more than 200 petrol bombs and a rifle, the governor's office in Turkey's biggest city said.
There were also protests overnight in the capital Ankara, where demonstrators carried pictures of those killed in the Suruc attack as well as banners of the youth federation of which many of the victims were members.
Anti-government groups have vowed further demonstrations and the HDP has called for supporters to converge in Istanbul for a mass rally this weekend.
The prospect of further unrest has unnerved investors already worried by the uncertain political outlook.
The lira was the worst performer among major emerging market currencies on Wednesday, falling more than one percent against the dollar, while Turkish stocks also fell.
Access to Twitter (TWTR.N) was blocked for several hours after a court in Suruc ordered the removal of images of the blast and its aftermath. Facebook and YouTube avoided a ban after quickly complying with the court order, according to a statement from the Turkish union of internet access providers.
(Additional reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley, Can Sezer and Daren Butler in Istanbul; Ece Toksabay and Mert Ozkan in Ankara, Seyhmus Cakan in Diyarbakir; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Ralph Boulton and Andrew Heavens)
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