WW4 Report

ISIS massacres 700 Turkmen: report

ISIS fighters massacred 700 Turkmen civilians—including women, children and the elderly—in a northern Iraqi village last month, a UNICEF official reports. Marco Babille, the UN Children's Fund representative in Iraq, said that fighters carried out the massacre in Beshir village (Sulaymaniyah governorate) on July 11 and 12. Speaking to Italian news agency ANSA, he said the information came from witnesses who had fled the village. Calling for a "humanitarian D-Day" for the 700,000 refugees estimated to have fled ISIS violence in northern Iraq, Babille said the international community should establish a "safe haven" protected by peacekeeping forces. He also called for a "systematic air bridge from Europe" to help Kurdish forces, who he described as "the only bulwark of human rights" in Iraq, giving shelter to displaced people irrespective of ethnicity or faith. (Turkish Weekly, Aug. 27)

ISIS executions go viral; Nusra attacks Golan

A video posted by ISIS Aug. 28 purports to show militants beheading a Kurdish Peshmerga fighter in Mosul. The video, posted to YouTube, says the killing is a warning to the Kurdistan Regional Government to end its alliance with the United States. In the footage, 14 other Peshmerga fighters are shown wearing orange prison suits, urging Kurds to reject their pact with the US against the Islamic State. Three armed militants stand behind one alleged Peshmerga captive near Mosul's iconic mosque, one of them brandishing a knife as he threatens that the rest of the Peshmerga troops will die if the KRG-US alliance does not come to an end. YouTube immediately removed the video. The video release comes as Peshmerga forces have taken several villages from ISIS in the Zumar area (Nineveh). (Rudaw)

ISIS gets an air force after fall of Syrian base

ISIS supporters posted photos to Twitter of fighters from the militant group in control of Russian Sukhoi warplanes, as well as missiles and tanks seized after the jihadists overran the Syrian air base of Tabaqa. The fall of the base gives ISIS full control over Raqqa governorate. Syrian government forces withdrew from the base after a battle that lasted five days, leaving 195 government troops and 346 ISIS fighters dead. The images appear to contradict the Damascus governemnt's claim that all aircraft had been evacuated form the base before it fell. (IraqiNews.com, Aug. 28; AP, Aug. 25)

Hamas claims victory, celebration across Palestine

Immediately after the Gaza ceasefire went into effect the evening of Aug. 26, Hamas urged Gazans to take to the streets and "celebrate victory and the fulfillment of the Palestinian people's demands." In a news conference at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that "Israeli settlers who live around Gaza can go back to their homes after the ceasefire agreement went into effect." He announced victory and congratulated the Palestinian people and the Arab nation for the victory which he said the Palestinian resistance achieved. "The Hamas movement won't abandon the Palestinian people after the battle came to an end." Militants fired gunshots into the air celebrating victory, and Palestinians took to the streets across the West Bank. (Ma'an)

Turkish border forces bar Yazidi refugees

Thousands of Yazidi refugees who have fled the Sinjar region of northern Iraq have been denied entry into Turkey by military forces. The refugees, many of whom managed to flee north through the civilian corridors established by the PKK-aligned YPG militia, have been left waiting on the Turkish border near the Roboski crossing. Turkish soldiers have met any attempts to cross the border with force, according to a report in Turkey's Özgür Gündem. They are struggling to protect their children and ill from the sun under the shade of rocks and the sparse trees. They eat whatever food they can find and cooking is done in empty oil containers or cans. Many mothers have been forced to give birth on the road and some have declined to give their new children names out of fear for their future. (Rojava Report)

Reprisal attacks in Iraq; US prepares Syria strikes?

A suicide bomber detonated his explosives inside a husseiniya, or Shi'ite mosque, in central Baghdad on Aug. 25, leaving at least 13 dead. Three were killed and several wounded in two other car bombings elsewhere in Baghdad. Another 23 were killed in car bombings at the Shi'ite holy city of Karbala and nearby al-Hilla. (IraqiNews.com, IraqiNews.com, IraqiNews.com, BBC News, NYT) A Kurdish MP in Iraq's parliament called on new Prime Minister Haidar Abadi to either arm the Kurdistan Regional Government or permit it to seek arms elsewhere. "It is crucial for the new government of Baghdad to give weapons to Peshmerga forces and train them as part of the Iraqi army or allow the Kurdistan Region to be able to buy weapons from other countries," said MP Shwan Mohammed Taha. "Today, Peshmerga forces protect 20% of Iraq's border and our demands are not unconstitutional. Putting Peshmerga forces in the security system of Iraq is a constitutional demand." (BasNews) Iranian Kurdish guerilla fighters that crossed the border to fight ISIS in the Jalawla and Khanaqen areas were prevented by the continued presence of Iranian government forces, according to the BasNews independent new agency. Tehran denies reports that Iranian forces are fighting in Iraq. (BasNews)

Multi-faction resistance to ISIS in Syria and Iraq

Iraqi government forces say they have driven back an ISIS advance on the country's largest oil refinery, killing several insurgents. The Baiji refinery (Salaheddin [Salah ad Din] governorate) has been the site of several battles between government forces and militants over the past  months. (BBC News) A 2,000-strong militia has been raised to relieve the 18,000  Turkmen at the ISIS-besieged village of Amerli, also in Salaheddin. The force is commanded by Transport Minister Hadi al-Ameri, a former commander of the Badr militia. (Azzaman) A group of PKK-affiliated HPG-YJA STAR fighters has reached the Duhok (also rendered Dahouk) area and taken up positions in the mountains around the city to defend it from an ISIS advance. (ANF)

Iraq: Yazidis resist ISIS; Turkmen threatened

The Yazidi miltia that has been formed to help Peshmerga forces liberate Sinjar from ISIS is being armed by the Kurdistan Regional Government. The militia's commander, Qassim Shashou, told the independent Kurdish agency BasNews that he hopes to receive heavy artillery has said had been promised by the KRG. "We are looking forward to receiving the weapons which will be vital in our fight against IS. After we free Sinjar, we can return to our homes with our head held high," said Shashou. (BasNews) Qasim Shesho, another member of the militia, urged his fellow Yazidis to stand and fight rather than flee Iraq. "Those who urge Yezidis to leave for Europe have no integrity or conviction," he told Rudaw agency. "We ask these people [who have left] to come and defend their land and return to Shingal,"* he told Rudaw in an interview. "I have German citizenship and could leave today, but it would be a disgrace to abandon my land." The militia, said number 2,000, is also coordinating with the PKK-aligned People's Protection Units (YPG) in the battle for Sinjar. They are hoping to protect Yazidi holy places in the mountains, such as the shrine to 13th century saint Sharafaddin, before they are desecrated or destroyed by ISIS. (Rudaw)

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