Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



IRAQ WARS
Iraq forces say IS retreating deep into desert
by Staff Writers
Baghdad (AFP) Nov 24, 2017


In 'unprecedented' hiatus, IS media offline for a day
Beirut (AFP) Nov 23, 2017 - The Islamic State group's online propaganda channels went mysteriously quiet for more than a full day between Wednesday and Thursday, in what analysts said was an "unprecedented" silence.

IS, which uses messaging application Telegram to broadcast daily updates on military operations and claims of attacks, published nothing between 0900 GMT on Wednesday and 1001 GMT on Thursday.

Charlie Winter, senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, called the silence "unprecedented."

"The deceleration in the production of IS media has been particularly profound over the last couple of weeks," said Winter.

"But there were no 24-hour periods when it was completely silent," he told AFP.

IS's Telegram channels usually post more than a dozen messages each day, ranging from multilingual radio broadcasts on battlefield achievements to pictures of civilian life in the group's self-styled "caliphate."

On Wednesday, however, the group posted in a brief 30-minute window, skipping its usual "daily broadcast" entirely.

It then went dark until Thursday, breaking its silence with a four-minute radio segment on operations in eastern Syria and Iraq, only in Arabic.

In 2017, IS has lost control of Mosul and Raqa, its two main hubs in Iraq and Syria respectively, and in recent days was ousted from the last towns it held in each country.

A US-led coalition backing offensives against IS in both countries has specifically targeted jihadists involved in media output -- which could partly explain the drop-off, said Winter.

"IS media infrastructure has taken a real battering over the last few months and because of that, something is changing," he said.

IS could be physically relocating relevant offices or members, added Winter, but it may also be laying out a new media strategy to match its own shift from a territorially based organisation to a covert insurgency.

"It feels and looks like it's gone underground," he said.

According to coalition spokesman Ryan Dillon, the alliance has destroyed at least 500 IS communications buildings in Iraq and Syria in 2017, as well as killed several IS media workers.

In late October, coalition bombardment on the town of Qaim in western Iraq killed Yusuf Demir, an IS media coordinator.

The coalition was pleased to see less IS propaganda online, Dillon said, but it could also pose a challenge to future operations against the group.

"If we don't know where they are... then obviously it's harder for us -- you have to find them first," he told AFP.

Iraqi forces said Friday that Islamic State group fighters are withdrawing deep into the desert to escape an offensive aimed at a final defeat of the jihadists.

IS has already been driven out of all of the towns it once held, but Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has said he will not proclaim victory until the jihadists have been cleared from the western desert bordering Syria.

The Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation) paramilitary force said its fighters had taken control of 77 villages and hamlets since the launch of the offensive on Thursday morning.

It said five jihadists had been killed south of the ancient desert city of Hatra, but otherwise IS had put up little resistance.

The Hashed said that its fighters, who are mainly recruited from Shiite militias, overran an airfield in the same area, where they discovered underground warehouses used by the jihadists.

Air support for the offensive, which also involves the army and federal police, has so far been provided exclusively by the Iraqi air force.

The US-led coalition, which has provided air support for other offensives against IS in Iraq, said it carried out no strikes on Thursday.

"We will provide strikes if we know that there is an ISIS (IS) cell, or tunnels, or something there," coalition spokesman US Colonel Ryan Dillon told AFP.

"If the requests are not coming, we won't do a strike... it's supply and demand," he said.

"And when you're in such a vast wide open desert area... there's less of a requirement for precision-guided missiles," unlike in urban areas.

At its peak in 2014, IS ruled over seven million people in a territory as large as Italy encompassing large parts of Syria and nearly a third of Iraq.

It is now being flushed out of its last desert hideouts in Iraq and under attack by Russian-backed government forces and US-backed Kurdish-led fighters in its last pockets of control in Syria.

Iraq launches final sweep to flush out IS
Baghdad (AFP) Nov 23, 2017 - Iraqi forces launched a sweep through the western desert to flush out remaining Islamic State group fighters on Thursday, an operation the prime minister has said will spell the jihadists' "final defeat" in the country.

The arid, sparsely populated wastelands between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers are the last refuge of the jihadists in Iraq after troops and paramilitaries ousted them from all urban areas.

"The Iraqi army, the federal police and the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation paramilitary units) this morning began clearing the Al-Jazeera region straddling Salaheddin, Nineveh and Anbar provinces," the head of Joint Operations Command, General Abdelamir Yarallah, said in a statement.

The Hashed al-Shaabi released live footage from Siniyah in Saleheddin province of bulldozers clearing an earthen barrier to allow heavy armour to advance into the desert.

The tanks bore both the Iraq national flag and that of the paramilitary force, which is made up largely of Shiite militias -- a black standard bearing the name of Imam Hussein, one of the faith's most revered figures.

Long lines of pick-up trucks waited to follow.

By the afternoon the Hashed said its forces had already taken control of 56 villages and hamlets to reach the area around Lake Tharthar, capturing three strategic bridges and destroying eight car bombs and pick-up trucks along the way.

The Al-Jazeera region is where IS fighters escaped to when Iraqi forces recaptured the last towns they still held in a successful drive up the Euphrates Valley to the Syrian border earlier this month.

That offensive culminated in the lightning recapture of the town of Rawa last Friday and saw Iraqi forces meet up with Syrian forces at the border.

"This operation is aimed at clearing the desert of the pockets where the jihadists took refuge when the towns that they had held were recently liberated," a senior officer in Anbar province told AFP.

- 'Final defeat' -

The region's dry valleys, oases and steppes make up around four percent of national territory, Hisham al-Hashemi, an Iraqi expert on IS, told AFP last week.

It has been known as a hotbed of jihadist insurgency and smuggling since the US-led invasion of Iraq ousted Saddam Hussein in 2003, long before the arrival of IS in 2014.

"There are some desert areas which Iraqi government forces have not entered since 2003 and the operation is aimed at securing these areas 100 percent," security analyst Said al-Jayyashi told AFP.

"Once the clearance operations have been completed right up to the Iraq-Syria border, forces will redeploy and fortify the frontier," he said.

Iraq's close ally Iran has already declared victory over IS but Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Tuesday that he would not follow suit until the desert had been cleared of remaining jihadists.

"After the operation has ended, we will announce the final defeat of Daesh in Iraq," he said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.

It is a massive turnaround for the jihadist group that in 2014 ruled over seven million people in a territory as large as Italy encompassing large parts of Syria and nearly a third of Iraq.

On the Syrian side of the border, IS is under massive pressure too.

In the border region, pro-government forces and US-backed Kurdish-led fighters are conducting separate operations to clear IS fighters from the countryside north of the Euphrates valley after ousting them from all Syrian towns.

Elsewhere, IS retains a presence in the Yarmuk refugee camp and the Hajar Aswad district just south of the capital Damascus, where the group is battling other jihadists and pro-government forces.

In the central province of Homs, it is being squeezed by troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and their Russian backers as it struggles to maintain a grip on a few small areas.

To the south, in Daraa province on the border with Jordan, an affiliated group called Jaish Khaled Bin Walid is mainly battling other rebel groups.

IRAQ WARS
Yazidi mass grave found in Iraq's Sinjar
Mosul, Iraq (AFP) Nov 22, 2017
Iraqi officials said they found another mass grave in the northern Sinjar region on Wednesday containing the bodies of dozens of members of the Yazidi minority killed by the Islamic State group. "The mass grave contains the bodies of 73 people, men, women and children executed by the Islamic State group when they controlled the region," local official Chokor Melhem Elias told AFP. He sai ... read more

Related Links
Iraq: The first technology war of the 21st century


Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once


credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly


paypal only

Comment using your Disqus, Facebook, Google or Twitter login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

IRAQ WARS
Russia test-fires new interceptor missile

US Scrambles to Assemble Space-Based Missile Defense System

Boeing meets 2017 ballistic missile defense installation goal early

Sweden picks US Patriot missile system over European rival

IRAQ WARS
State Dept. approves potential Javelin missile sale to Georgia

State Dept. approves potential missile sale to Poland

Raytheon awarded contract for Evolved Sea Sparrow Missile program

Lockheed Martin to test AGM-158 JASSM

IRAQ WARS
Pentagon steps up Somalia drone strikes

Lockheed Martin Integrates New Engine for Fury Unmanned Air Vehicle

Alpha Unmanned Systems teams with Sightec for image stabilization and object tracking.

Leonardo delivers Falco EVO drones to Middle East

IRAQ WARS
US Navy accepts 5th MUOS Satellite for global military cellular network

SES GS Awarded US Government Satellite Solutions Contract

16th SPCS Defenders of critical satellite communications

First order for Elta ELK-1882T SATCOM network system

IRAQ WARS
Marines roll out new anti-tank weapon system

Saab to supply South African forces with field kitchens

Raytheon, Saab to develop improved shoulder-launched weapon systems

MBDA Inc. to produce parts for Small Diameter Bomb

IRAQ WARS
Greek government faces questions over botched Saudi arms sale

Congress sends $700 bn defense bill for Trump's signature

Lockheed, Navantia renew collaborative agreement

Philippines' Duterte receives Russian assault rifles

IRAQ WARS
Australia calls for US engagement in region amid China rise

From Myanmar to Zimbabwe, China's global footprint grows

China forges 'strategic' ties with Djibouti after opening base

Forbidden City and Vatican try 'art diplomacy'

IRAQ WARS
Ceria nanoparticles: It is the surface that matters

Semiconducting carbon nanotubes can reduce noise in interconnects

Manganese dioxide shows potential in micromotors

Promising sensors for submarines, mines and spacecraft




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News






The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement