Islamic State beheads 12 civilians in Raqqa for possessing satellite devices


385965890591261671.jpgMasked militants of the ISIS radical group executing a Syrian man. File photo

Raqqa – Islamic State (ISIS) militants ransacked civilian houses on Sunday, in Syria’s northeastern Raqqa Governorate. Local sources reported that ISIS-controlled al-Hisba police confiscated dozens of satellite receivers and arrested the owners.

ISIS extremists executed at least 12 people in Raqqa for possessing satellite devices, activists told ARA News.

ISIS claimed that the confiscations and executions were part of a broader campaign against “corrupt television.”

“The jihadist group beheaded 12 men in the Meshallab neighbourhood in central Raqqa for using satellite receivers,” media activist Khalid al-Omari told ARA News.

“The victims were brutally executed in public on charges of violating the Caliphate’s rules,” the source said.

ISIS militants destroyed the collected devices, and threatened to mercilessly punish anyone in possession of satellite receivers.

Suicide attack hits Damascus, fatlities reported


441.jpegA file photo dhows aftermath of a bomb attack in the Syrian capital Damascus.

Damascus – A suicide bomber struck the Syrian capital on Thursday, killing at least eight people. The resulting blast rattled Damascus’ Kafr Sousa neighborhood, which is used by the military as a staging area.

“A suicide bomber blew himself in Kafr Sousa where some of Syria’s main security installations are located,” a police officer told state media on Thursday evening.

Local sources reported that at least eight people were killed and several others were wounded in the attack.

Mussab al-Shami, a local media activist, told ARA News that the death toll may rise as “some of the wounded are in critical condition.”

Regime officials said that “armed terrorist groups” carried out the suicide bombing in Kafr Sousa. However, it was not immediately clear which faction was behind the attack.

ISIS militants execute, crucify two Syrian men for supporting Kurdish forces and US-led coalition


An ISIS militant execute a crucified man in Syria’s Raqqa. File photo

Shaddadi – Islamic State (ISIS) extremists executed two men in northeastern Syria after accusing them of supporting the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the US-led coalition.

The ISIS-led al-Hisba Police had arrested the two men earlier in the week. Both were residents of Tel Jaer village, in southern Hasakah Governorate.

Muhammad al-Kankoul was charged with enlisting in the Protection Units, while Mazin al-Hussein was accused of leaking security information to the YPG and the coalition.

“The Sharia Court in Margada ordered their execution on charges of apostasy and treason,” a local media activist told ARA News, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Eyewitnesses told ARA News that Al-Kankoul and al-Hussein were executed in central Margada, surrounded by a crowd of spectators.  Their dead bodies were then crucified on electricity poles.

Margada is the Islamic State’s last stronghold in Hasakah Governorate. It is located on the administrative border between Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor Governorates.

On December 4, the People’s Protection Units and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) launched a major offensive to liberate the town. Backed by the US-led coalition, Kurdish and Arab and militias are currently pushing south along the Khabur River.

Over 530 ISIS jihadis killed, 133 villages liberated in the second phase of Kurdish-led Raqqa campaign


14940242_10154743962673872_3019323602013420442_o.jpgSDF fighters clearing a village in northern Raqqa after ISIS expulsion. Photo: ARA News

Raqqa – At least 536 Islamic State’s (ISIS) militants have been killed and 133 villages liberated by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) since the launch of the second phase of the battle for Raqqa last month, military sources reported on Thursday.

Backed by US-led coalition’s airstrikes, SDF troops were able to expel ISIS from most of the western countryside of Raqqa, pushing further to the Islamic State’s de facto capital.

The SDF leadership issued a statement on Thursday about the developments of the second phase of their operation for Raqqa. “Since 10 December, 2016, our forces have been able to eliminate 536 ISIS terrorists, taking 12 terrorists as captives, and liberating 133 villages in western Raqqa.”

The SDF alliance, which includes Kurdish, Arab and Christian factions, announced that it has so far captured 2144 km² in western Raqqa within the second phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation, that started on December 10.

“Our specialised teams are now clearing the liberated territories from explosives and landmines that have been planted by ISIS to interrupt our progress towards Raqqa city,” ISIS officer Habun Osman told ARA News.

During the first phase of Euphrates Wrath, that was launched on November 6, the SDF captured roughly 560 km² of land in northern Raqqa.

The SDF launched the second phase of the Euphrates Wrath Operation with the objective of securing Raqqa’s western countryside and Tabqa Dam, which bridges the Euphrates River.

The long-term objective of Euphrates Wrath is the elimination of the Islamic State in its de facto capital, Raqqa city.

Several Yezidi girls escape ISIS captivity in Mosul


iraq-kurds-yazidis.jpgYezidi Kurds in diaspora show support to their peers abducted by ISIS in northern Iraq. File photo

Erbil – At least four Yezidi girls were able to escape Islamic State’s (ISIS) captivity in the city of Mosul in Iraq’s northwestern Nineveh Governorate.

Informed sources told ARA News that three of the Yezidi captives were freed with the support of the Arab al-Luhaib tribe in Mosul, while the fourth was able to flee on her own and reached Peshmerga-controlled areas northeast of Mosul.

Falah Hassan Zaidan, the Iraqi Minister of Agriculture, confirmed in a press statement that members of a-Luhaib tribe helped three Yezidi girls to escape ISIS captivity in the city of Mosul.

A Peshmerga officer, meanwhile, reported that a Yezidi woman arrived in the Kurdish-held northeastern Mosul after fleeing the embattled city.

“The Kurdistan Regional Government bears the responsibility of freeing hundreds of Yezidi captives from ISIS grip,” Kurdish journalist Hewar Duhoki told ARA News. “This requires a lot of serious efforts, especially that ISIS started using civilians as human shields to protect its Iraqi de facto capital of Mosul.”

In August 2014, ISIS radicals took over the Yezidi region of Shingal/Sinjar in northern Iraq, causing a mass displacement of nearly 400,000 people to Duhok and Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan. Tens of thousands of Yezidis remained trapped in Mount Sinjar, suffering mass killings, kidnappings and rape cases, according to local and military sources. Also, more than 3000 Yezidi girls have been taken by the radical group as sex slaves.

On November 13, the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraqi Kurdistan, backed by an air cover from the US-led coalition forces, announced the liberation of the entire Yezidi district of Shingal in the northern Iraqi province of Nineveh after fierce battles with ISIS extremists. The Kurdish forces have recently discovered more than five mass graves in the Yezidi region, where hundreds of Yezidi civilians have been summarily executed and buried by ISIS jihadis. Yet, thousands of Yezidi women remain in ISIS captivity after being sold as sex slaves across the group’s territory in Iraq and Syria