Developments In Syria
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad asserted that third parties, including Iraq, are conveying messages to the Syrian government about U.S-led coalition airstrikes against Islamic State militants.
In an interview with the BBC, Assad mentioned that there is no dialogue, and the messages are general, not tactical. Assad also denied the Syrian army had used barrel bombs, which have been criticized by human rights groups for killing thousands of civilians. The United States pushed for the removal of Assad after the Syrian conflict broke out in 2011, though officials say their priority is now fighting Islamic State militants.
On Tuesday, the United Arab Emirates reported its forces launched a series of airstrikes from a Jordanian air base, which were the first since the UAE suspended strikes against Islamic State militants in December. Meanwhile, Kurdish forces in Iraq, supported by coalition airstrikes, retook three key corridors north of Mosul from Islamic State fighters.
Scott Lucas has an interesting piece in The Conversation about the failure of the media to not only report extensively about the Syrian war, but to report it correctly.
Allegations Of Abuse At Nigerian Refugee Camps
In a detailed report released by Nigeria’s Calabar-based International Centre for Investigative Reporting and written by journalist Charles Dickson documents incidences in which girls have been sold into slavery, raped and abused.
“A nurse who does not want to be named because she is not authorised to speak to the Press told the icirnigeria.org, that a group of people from the biggest Internally Displaced Persons, IDP, camp in Maiduguri dumped Lami (the surnames of all victims in this report are withheld to protect them.) at the hospital.
“We have many of them. They’d been either raped in the camp or sold by those that should be protecting them in the camps,” the nurse said,” he reports.
According to the BBC, the Nigerian government has responded by announcing has created a panel to investigate the abuses.
Jordan Continues To Escalate Fight Against ISIS
A week after ISIS released a videotape of a Jordanian pilot being set on fire, the government of Jordan continued its more aggressive posture toward the terrorist organization by deploying troops to its border with Iraq.
Matthew Henman, an analyst at Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Centre in London, says the action can be interpreted as an “intensification” of ongoing efforts and that it “underlines a robust response on the part of government and the king in response to the killing of Muath Kassasbeh.”
Ed Morrissey of HotAir suggests Jordan’s movements and the rejoining by the UAE into the fight against ISIS is a move in the right direction because ISIS will not be defeated by air power alone.
“Ground forces are the only way to roll back ISIS. They hold territory, and very specifically urban territory that makes it politically impossible to annihilate them into retreat from air power alone. Even if they did pull back, a lack of boots on the ground to hold liberated ground would mean it wouldn’t be liberated for long. Whether it means American troops or not, the only way to degrade and destroy ISIS is to deny them territory, and that means an army on the ground to liberate and garrison their presently-held turf.” he contends.