The conflict across Iraq has caused an estimated 1.8 million Iraqis, half of them children, to flee from their homes across the country.
Children of Iraq
See also: Iraq – A Peoples Photo Journal
Girl pulled alive from rubble in Damascus – video
Video from the Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, shows rescue workers pulling a girl alive from underneath the rubble of a building believed to be in Damascus’s Tishreen neighbourhood on Sunday. The girl is buried under layers of rubble, which the responders clear as quickly as they can
In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) and a group of 19 members of Congress from both parties, including Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and Justin Amash (R-Mich.), urged an immediate vote on authorizations for the use of military force (AUMFs) against the Islamic State (ISIS) and Al-Qaeda, as well as a separate one for participation in Yemen’s civil war.
Many of the representatives signing the letter led efforts to get an AUMF vote for the last four years, as they noted. “We believe that the failure of Congress to address these issues with a debate and vote on an AUMF during the final three years of the Obama Administration established a dangerous precedent for the presidency,” McGovern wrote in the letter, “one where the President of the United States may deploy or threaten deployment of U.S. troops to any region for any purpose without the consent and explicit authorization of Congress.”
The letter specifically expressed alarm about the Pentagon considering deploying ground troops to northern Syria to engage with ISIS. It also brought up the ground operation in Yemen last month, the first in that country since December 2014 and comments President Trump and Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor, made about “deploying U.S. troops in Yemen to confront Iranian forces.” The state-controlled press in Yemen has accused the Houthi rebels who knocked the U.S.-backed Yemen government out of the capital of Aden of being backed by Iranians, a view the Trump administration appears to support. The letter says Trump and Flynn’s comments “added urgency to the need for action on the part of the Congress.”
Islamic State-linked Syrian militant groups on Monday launched a surprise attack on moderate rebels in southwestern Syria near the Golan Heights near where the Jordanian and Israeli borders converge, seizing several villages and a large town, rebels and witnesses said.
Rebels said the militants were able to extend their area of control in territory that forms a natural barrier between Syria and Israel where the Yarmouk River flows after they overran the towns of Tseel, Sahem al Golan, Adwan and Tel Jamoua.
“In a surprise attack Islamic State made an attack on positions held by the Free Syrian Army FSA groups which no one expected to happen so fast,” said Colonel Ismail Ayoub, a Syrian opposition army defector.
The militants launched a wide-scale dawn attack from their enclave where they are entrenched in the towns of Jamla, Ain Zakar Nafaa and al Shajra, deploying dozens of armored vehicles and several tanks to overrun nearby towns aided by sleeper cells among locals who helped the attackers, two rebel sources said.
Nineveh-Islamic State drones and rocket shelling killed 11 civilians on Tuesday in areas recaptured by security forces in eastern Mosul, news reports quoted military and local sources as saying.
Anadolu Agency quoted Brig. Gen. Abdel-Karim al-Ameri saying that an IS-guided drone killed two school kids, aged less than 9, and wounded three others in al-Karaj area in the northeast.
Other drone attacks, said Ameri, killed seven civilians in Baya al-Mobasher (direct selling), al-Nour and Ninawa al-Sharqiya, and wounded three people at a medical unit in al-Sukkar district.
Missiles launched by the group killed two in al-Baladiyat district, also in eastern Mosul, according to Alsumaria News. Anadolu Agency said drones wounded three children boarding a vehicle in the same neighborhood.
Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) Three Islamic State militants were killed on Tuesday when a drone bombed their pickup vehicle west of Mosul, according to a local source.
Shafaaq News quoted the source saying that the vehicle was passing through al-Najjar district. The trio boarding the car was killed.
Iraqi government forces launched a major campaign Sunday to retake western Mosul from IS militants, having recaptured the eastern side late January. The city, IS’s biggest bastion in Iraq, fell in the group’s grip in 2014 when it proclaimed an “Islamic Caliphate”.
Iraqi forces and IS have exchanged drone attacks over the past few weeks across the Tigris River which bisects Mosul.
Also on Tuesday, Thamer Ismail, commander of the Rapid Response Forces, was quoted by Alghad Press saying that 90 IS fighters died in Monday operations at Bousaif hills, an area near the strategic Mosul Airport.
BAGHDAD — The Pentagon is deploying U.S. military advisers closer to the front lines in the campaign against the Islamic State as Iraqi security forces wrestle for control of the city of Mosul, the top U.S. commander here said Monday.
Army Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said that the advisers, numbering about 450, are “operating closer and deeper into Iraqi formations” as a new assault on western Mosul gets underway. U.S. commanders made the adjustment during the fight for the eastern side of the city, which began in October and ended last month, and the deployment has continued with the attempt, beginning Sunday, to capture western Mosul, Townsend said.
Iraqi units encountered determined resistance Monday as they fought for control of Albu Seif, an Islamic State-occupied village south of Mosul. Later Monday, federal police forces and an elite squad belonging to the Interior Ministry had drawn within two miles of Mosul’s main airport, at the city’s southern edge, according to Lt. Gen. Raed Shakir Jawdat, the commander of the federal police.
The fight for the western half of the city is expected to be more challenging even than the grueling and bloody battle in the east, which lasted for months, according to Iraqi and U.S. commanders. The terrain, including the narrow streets of Mosul’s old city, is more daunting. And hundreds of thousands of civilians will be caught between the militants and the advancing army.
Iraq’s U.S.-trained counterterrorism forces, the country’s most effective unit and the vanguard force during the fight in eastern Mosul, is expected to join the offensive in the coming days.
(CNN)US-backed Iraqi forces have cleared ISIS fighters from a key village overlooking Mosul’s airport, the Iraqi army said Monday.