Iraq/Syria Monitoring Report
• We have been closely monitoring the situation in Kobani, Syria, on the Turkish border, as we detailed for subscribers in October. Earlier this week, Kurdish forces managed to retake part of this area from IS militants and are now said to hold 80% of the border town. IS had taken the town in mid-September, threatening the Turkish border. Kurdish fighters had international air strike support.
• Last weekend, US and ‘coalition’ forces launched air strikes on a crude oil pipeline and collection depots held by IS in Syria, near the eastern city of Deir-al-Zour. The objective was to disrupt IS oil supplies and take out makeshift tankers and depots. This is only one avenue of revenue for IS, which is also earning from ransom kidnappings, smuggling of antiquities and other commodities and extortion.
• Iraq’s Anbar province is burning after a series of attacks and clashes that have left over 20 people dead earlier this week. There was a suicide bombing at a mosque in al-Jubba that killed 10 people, and an attack on police and army positions that killed another 13. Both attacks took place near a training installation where US forces are training Iraqi military forces. There are some 320 US soldiers and marines at this training camp at the Al Asad air base, which is under continual mortar fire, but so far has resulted in no US casualties. The air base is some 180 kilometers northwest of the capital, Baghdad.