SYRIA. Al-Raqqa governorate. Tal Saman. December 2016. Rojda Felat, a YPG commander, speaks on the radio at the entrance of the village shortly after it was captured.
The Kurdish-Arab alliance, with U.S. assistance, plans to recruit and train an additional 10,000 Arab fighters for an offensive on Raqqa, said Rojda Felat, one of the commanders of the offensive to encircle the city. But YPG participation will be essential “because we have proved that we are the most effective fighters,” she said.
“We will even go past Raqqa,” she added, to other areas farther south controlled by the Islamic State, which is also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh. [x]
Ruh-roh! Despite assertions that the Trump team had no idea Flynn was more foreign than a guy in a Speedo on the beach, word is that they had been given plenty of advanced warning. It was Flynn himself who told White House lawyer Donald McGahn that he was being investigated for being a shady foreign agent and taking boatloads of sweet, sweet Turkish money.
January 10, 2017
Despite basically saying “Don’t hire me, I’m going to fuck this up,” Flynn is hired and promptly sets about fucking this up. On January 10th, Flynn decides that the Obama administration’s plans to work with Syrian Kurdish forces to fight ISIS by taking the city of Raqqa is crap. Trump is still 10 days from being president, but the Obama officials need his team to sign off on it. Flynn says no, delaying the operation and also supporting the position of Turkey, which is opposed to U.S. forces teaming with Syrian Kurds. Oh, also Turkey had paid Flynn $500,000 previously for his secret lobbyist job.
January 20, 2017
Intelligence officials warn Israel not to share sensitive info with Trump because it might get back to the Russians. Ha ha ha! Isn’t that silly? How would info get from the president to the Russians? If this was a Choose Your Own Adventure novel, we’d ask you to move to May 10th, but it’s not, so don’t skip ahead yet!
Canadian sniper holds the record for longest confirmed kill once again with the C15.
McMillan TAC-50 C15 .50 BMG
The McMillan Tac-50 is a manually operated, rotary bolt-action rifle. The large bolt has dual front locking lugs, and its body has spiral flutes to reduce weight. The heavy match-grade Lilja barrel is fluted to dissipate heat quickly, reduce overall weight and is fitted with an effective muzzle brake to reduce recoil. The fiberglass McMillan stock is designed to be used with a bipod. The buttstock is adjustable for length of pull with rubber spacers and can be removed for compact storage.
Model: TAC-50 C15
Calibre: .50 BMG
Trigger Type: Adjustable, set at 3.5 lbs.
Barrel Specifications: 29" Fluted Match Grade Free-Floating Barrel Threaded with Muzzle Brake
Twist Rate: 1:15"
Sights: 5" 30 MOA Picatinny Action Rail
Finish: Matte Black
Stock Description: Adjustable Stock in Olive Drab with Black Marble
Capacity: 5 Round Detachable Box Magazine
Weight: 12 Kg
Overall Length: 57"
Accessories Included: These rifles come with 1 x 5 round magazine, bipod, Pelican case, optic rail and QD buttstock with adjustable integral cheekpiece.
Additional Features: Extra-long bolt handle to clear large optics
A sniper with Canada’s elite special forces in Iraq has shattered the world record for the longest confirmed kill shot in military history at a staggering distance of 3,540 metres.
The Canadian Armed Forces confirmed Thursday that a member of Joint Task Force 2 made the record-breaking shot, killing an Islamic State insurgent during an operation in Iraq within the last month.
“The Canadian Special Operations Command can confirm that a member of Joint Task Force 2 successfully hit a target at 3,540 metres,” the forces said in a statement. “For operational security reasons and to preserve the safety of our personnel and our Coalition partners we will not discuss precise details on when and how this incident took place.”
The elite sniper was using a McMillan TAC-50 sniper rifle while firing from a high-rise during an operation that took place within the last month in Iraq. It took under 10 seconds to hit the target.
“The shot in question actually disrupted a Daesh [Islamic State] attack on Iraqi security forces,” said a military source. “Instead of dropping a bomb that could potentially kill civilians in the area, it is a very precise application of force and because it was so far way, the bad guys didn’t have a clue what was happening.”
The military source said the JTF2 operation fell within the strictures of the government’s advise and assist mission.
“As stated multiple times in the past, members of the Canadian Special Operations Task Force do not accompany leading combat elements, but enable the Iraqi security forces who are in a tough combat mission,” the statement said. “This takes the form of advice in planning their operations and assistance to defeat Daesh through the use of coalition resources.”
The kill was independently verified by video camera and other data, The Globe and Mail has learned.
“Hard data on this. It isn’t an opinion. It isn’t an approximation. There is a second location with eyes on with all the right equipment to capture exactly what the shot was,” another military source said.
A military insider told The Globe: “This is an incredible feat. It is a world record that might never be equalled.”
The world record was previously held by British sniper Craig Harrison, who shot a Taliban gunner with a 338 Lapua Magnum rifle from 2,475 metres away in 2009.
Previously, Canadian Corporal Rob Furlong had set the world record in 2002 at 2,430 metres when he gunned down an Afghan insurgent carrying an RPK machine gun during Operation Anaconda.
Weeks before, Canadian Master Cpl. Arron Perry briefly held the world’s best sniper record after he fatally shot an insurgent at 2,310 metres during the same operation. Both soldiers were members of the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.
JTF2 special forces are primarily tasked with counterterrorism, sniper operations and hostage rescue. Much of the information about this elite organization is classified and not commented on by the government. The unit’s snipers and members of Canadian Special Operations Regiment, who are carrying out the main task of training Kurdish forces, have been operating in tough conditions in Iraq.
The Trudeau government pulled CF-18 fighter jets out of Iraq in 2016 but expanded the military mission, which will see the number of Canadian special forces trainers climb to 207 from 69 in an assist, train and advise mission. Canadian commandos are not supposed to be involved in direct combat, but are authorized to go up to the front lines on training missions with Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and to paint targets for coalition air strikes.
For operational security reasons, sources would not reveal the names of the elite Canadian sniper and his partner, nor the location where the action took place.
A sniper and his observer partner are often sent to remote and dangerous locations to hunt down insurgents while having to carry heavy equipment. Once they have located the target, snipers follow the same methodical approach before each shot. Breathe in, out, in, out, find a natural pause and then squeeze the trigger.
Canada has a reputation among Western military forces for the quality of its snipers, despite the small size of the Canadian Armed Forces compared to the United States and Britain.
“Canada has a world-class sniper system. It is not just a sniper. They work in pairs. There is an observer,” a military source said. “This is a skill set that only a very few people have.”
The skill of the JTF2 sniper in taking down an insurgent at 3,540 metres required math skills, great eyesight, precision of ammunition and firearms, and superb training.
“It is at the distance where you have to account not just for the ballistics of the round, which change over time and distance, you have to adjust for wind, and the wind would be swirling,” said a source with expertise in training Canadian special forces.
“You have to adjust for him firing from a higher location downward and as the round drops you have to account for that. And from that distance you actually have to account for the curvature of the Earth.”
U.S. Sergeant Bryan Kremer has the longest confirmed sniper kill shot by a U.S. soldier. He killed an Iraqi insurgent with his Barrett M82A1 rifle at 2,300 metres in 2004.
Fighters in Raqqah holding the LGBT flag and the flag of the anarchist “Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army"
The Queer Insurrection and Liberation Army is a subgroup of the Revolutionary People’s Guerilla Forces, an anarchist group formed in Rojava. They are currently fighting along with Kurdish forces against ISIS.
The US army has failed to monitor over $1bn worth of arms and other military equipment transfers to Kuwait and Iraq, Amnesty International says in a report citing a 2016 US government audit.
The now-declassified document by the US Department of Defence (DoD) audit, was obtained by the rights group following Freedom of Information requests.
The audit reveals that the DoD “did not have accurate, up-to-date records on the quantity and location” of a vast amount of equipment on hand in Kuwait and Iraq.
Some records were incomplete, while duplicated spreadsheets, handwritten receipts and the lack of a central database increased the risk for human-error while entering data.
READ MORE: ISIL won’t be defeated on the battlefield
“This audit provides a worrying insight into the US army’s flawed - and potentially dangerous - system for controlling millions of dollars’ worth of arms transfers to a hugely volatile region,” says Patrick Wilcken, Amnesty International’s Arms Control and Human Rights researcher, in the report.
The rights group says in the report that its own research has “consistently documented” lax controls and record-keeping within the Iraqi chain of command, which had resulted in arms winding up in the hands of armed groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).
“After all this time and all these warnings, the same problems keep occurring,” Wilcken said.
The military transfers were part of the Iraq Train and Equip Fund (ITEF), a programme that appropriated $1.6bn to provide assistance to military and other security services associated with the government of Iraq, including Kurdish and tribal security forces.
The transfers included small arms and heavy weapons, machine guns, mortar rounds and assault rifles.
“This effort is focused on critical ground forces needed to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL [also known as ISIS] in Iraq, secure its national borders and prevent ISIL from developing safe havens,” the DoD said in a report justifying ITEF.
“If support is not provided American interests in the region would be undermined.”
In response to the audit, the US army has pledged to implement corrective actions.
“This occurred during the Obama administration as well, and groups such as Amnesty International repeatedly called on irresponsible arms transfers to be tackled, as the weapons were not only falling into the hands of groups like ISIL but also pro-Tehran Shia jihadists fighting for the Iraqi government,” Tallha Abdulrazaq, a security researcher at the University of Exeter, told Al Jazeera via email.
“While ISIL certainly needs to be fought, if this is achieved by hurling arms at groups that are just as extreme as the militant group, how does that resolve the situation?”
Amnesty International has urged the US to comply with laws and treaties to stop arms transfers or diversion of arms that could fuel atrocities.
“This should be an urgent wake-up call for the US, and all countries supplying arms to urgently shore up checks and controls,” Wilcken said.
Syrian Arab Army preparing to encircle retreating islamic state from the remainder of the desert immediately southeast of Aleppo in their landgrab on route to lifting the siege of Dier Ezzor.
American pressure (seE: airstrike) on the SAA is probably a result of wising up to and warding off the SAA strategy of attempting to apply force to and cut off the southern advance of the kurds while they preoccupy themselves with Raqqa, much how the SAA cut off the american rebels near the jordan border and the turkish backed forces in the northwest.
The Syrian Arab Army NEEDS to get around the SDF advance and maintain
power south of the Euphrates where highways run along the length of the river if the Syrian government
wants to relieve the years long Islamic State siege of Deir Ezzor.
Otherwise, to reach Deir Ezzor before the SDF does or before Dier Ezzor collapses and the Syrian loyalists there get slaughtered by ISIS, all the SAA have besides the Euphrates route is a wide stretch of sparsely populateddesert and a hardened front around the hotly contested Palmyra that has hardly moved in years since the Islamic State has that shit on LOCK. If the SAA get aroun and break the siege of Dier Ezzor, it will relieve Islamic state pressure on Palmyra, which has already fallen before and permitted ISIS to reenter and destroy more of the ancient city
The only other hope for SAA reaching Dier Ezzor is from along the Iraq border, which covert SAA ops have punched through recently, blocking the roads.
At this stage of the war, it’s a fucking landgrab. all combatants on the Islamic State front aren’t so much fighting ISIS as they are trying to strategically rip chunks of it away to deny eachother important strategic gains.
This is the beginning of the next phase of the Syrian civil war, where the Islamic state in syria falls and it becomes a showdown between the kurds in the north, the rejuvenated Syrian government and the rebel pockets, particularly the one in Idlib province.
Controlling the Euphrates valley is CRITICAL because the Euphrates is the only high density population corridor in eastern Syria. Whoever controls this land controls a significantly GREATER stake when it comes to either diplomatic negotiation or continued warfare.
If the Syrian Arab army controls the Euphrates Valley, it allows the Syrian government to comfortably project power and influence north into the modestly populated kurdish lands (and their American bases)
If the SDF manage to control the Euphrates Valley, the Kurds will have a tremendous line of defense and population/tax base to work with. The kurds can begin to push the Syrian desert as far west as Palmyra and Assad will begin to contemplate a future where the entire country gets sliced in half, going to the Kurds, along with all the oil and gas.
If the SDF manages to control the Euphrates Valley, this also presents issure for the Americans, because this would be a GIGANTIC step toward the Kurds asserting their sovereignty and establishing the Kurdish state of Rojava PISSING THE NATO MEMBER STATE TURKEY RIGHT OFF
But additionally, chances are that the Kurds, in control of Euphrates, would initiate ethnic cleansing the way they have in kurdish controlled, arab majority northern syria where the kurdish forces forced arab civilians out of their homes and bulldozed their villages.
The USA would have to struggle with the global responsibility of their primary ally in syria committing war crimes.
SYRIA. Rojava. Aleppo governorate. Kobanê/Ayn al-Arab. January 2015. Musa, a 25-year-old Kurdish marksman, looks down at the ravaged town. Kurdish forces recaptured Kobanê in a symbolic blow to the jihadists who have seized large swaths of territory in their onslaught across Syria and Iraq.
Members of Operation IMPACT carry the flag draped casket of their fallen comrade, Sergeant Andrew Doiron, onto a CC-177 Globemaster for the final journey home during a ramp ceremony in Kuwait on March 9, 2015.
Photo: OP Impact, DND
Des militaires participant à l’opération Impact portent le cercueil recouvert d’un drapeau de leur camarade disparu, le sergent Andrew Doiron, vers un CC177 Globemaster à bord duquel la dépouille sera rapatriée, lors d’une cérémonie d’adieu au Koweït, le 9 mars 2015.
Photo : Op Impact, MDN
BREAKING NEWS: the Kurdish led SDF forces have confirmed that the west and east axes of their Wrath of Euphrates operation to encircle the Islamic State capital of Raqqah has been completed. The city is now officially under siege and cut off from the rest of Islamic State territory
Before telling me that I defend the same positions as the United States, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bernard-Henri Lévy or some other “cumbersome companions”, remember that if you reason in this way you defend on your side the same positions as Russia, Iran, Marshal Sissi, François Fillon or Marine Le Pen, and ask yourself if that’s a good argument.
Before telling me that since 2011 Israel has bombed fifteen times positions of the Assad regime, and that those who are against Assad are therefore with Israel, remember that last June Putin declared, at the end of a meeting with Netanyahu with whom he had just signed several trade agreements, the following: “We have evoked the need for joint efforts in the fight against international terrorism. In this regard, we are allies. Both countries have significant experience in matters of fight against extremism. We will therefore strengthen our contacts with our Israeli partners in this area”. And ask yourself if that’s a good argument.
Before telling me that the Syrian rebellion appealed to the Western countries to receive weapons and to benefit from a substantial, especially aerial, military support and that this necessarily hides something, remember that the Kurdish forces that you admire so much — rightly so — since they rejected Daech in Kobane have done exactly the same thing, and they have obtained this support, to the extent that they publicly thanked the United States for their support, and ask yourself if that’s a good argument.
Before telling me that the Syrian rebellion, even though one might at first have been sympathetic to it, is now confiscated by reactionary forces stemming from political Islam, and that some of these forces do not hesitate to attack civilians or, a variation on the same theme, that it is really tragic to bomb civilians but that it’s because terrorists hide among them when they do not use them as human shields, remember that this is the speech of those who want to justify the campaigns of deadly bombing on Gaza, and ask yourself it that’s a good argument.
Before telling me that the Syrian insurgents are “objective allies” of Daech, remember that Daech was driven out of Aleppo at the beginning of 2014 by those who are now being massacred by Assad, then think about the concept of “objective ally”, and ask yourself if that’s a good argument. You can also reconsider, if you are not convinced, what I mentioned above about the real targets of the coalition bombing, and ask yourself a second time if the blow of the “objective ally” is a good argument.
Finally, before telling me that those who denounce Assad and Putin “forget” to denounce the massacres committed by the great Western powers and their allies, keep in mind that of those who mobilize for Aleppo, we are many who also mobilized for Gaza, against military intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or elsewhere, and that we do not renounce, contrary to you who chose not to be on the street last night to denounce the current butchery [December 14 in Paris], to our political consistency, ideals and anti-imperialism. And ask yourself if that’s a good argument.