Arab al­lies join US to launch air strikes on IS ji­hadists in Syria

Viet Nam News - - FRONT PAGE -

DA­M­AS­CUS — The United States and Arab al­lies launched strikes from the air and sea against Is­lamic State mil­i­tants in Syria yes­ter­day, open­ing a new front in the bat­tle against the bru­tal ji­hadist group.

The US Cen­tral Com­mand said in a state­ment that Bahrain, Jor­dan, Saudi Ara­bia, Qatar and the United Arab Emi­rates had joined Wash­ing­ton in car­ry­ing out the strikes.

“Us­ing a mix of fighter, bombers, re­motely pi­loted air­craft and Tom­a­hawk Land At­tack Mis­siles” the coali­tion con­ducted 14 strikes against IS tar­gets in Syria, it said.

The strikes “de­stroyed or dam­aged” mul­ti­ple tar­gets in the ji­hadists’ north­ern strong­hold and near the bor­der with Iraq in­clud­ing IS fighter po­si­tions, train­ing com­pounds, com­mand...

... cen­tres and armed ve­hi­cles.

The US-led air as­sault in Syria marked a turn­ing point in the war against the IS group. Wash­ing­ton had been re­luc­tant to in­ter­vene in Syria’s rag­ing civil war, but was jolted into ac­tion as the ji­hadists cap­tured more ter­ri­tory and com­mit­ted wide­spread atroc­i­ties, in­clud­ing the on- cam­era be­head­ings of three Western hostages.

Syria’s op­po­si­tion had pleaded for the strikes, es­pe­cially after a ji­hadist as­sault on a strate­gic Kur­dish town in north­ern Syria over the last week sent tens of thou­sands of ter­ri­fied res­i­dents flee­ing across the bor­der to Turkey.

IS mil­i­tants have warned the US- led cam­paign would be met with a harsh re­sponse, and an ISlinked Al­ge­rian group on Mon­day threat­ened to kill a French hostage within 24 hours if Paris did not end its par­tic­i­pa­tion in air strikes in Iraq.

In a footage, con­firmed by Paris as au­then­tic, the group gave France 24 hours to halt its air strikes in Iraq, say­ing that it was re­spond­ing to an IS call to kill Western­ers whose na­tions are among 50 coun­tries that have joined the cam­paign to bat­tle the ji­hadist group. But French Prime Min­is­ter Manuel Valls told French ra­dio there would be “no dis­cus­sion, no ne­go­ti­a­tion” with the Al­ge­rian group and stressed Paris would con­tinue its air strikes.

Tom­a­hawks launched

Wash­ing­ton said the strikes from the sea were car­ried put from US war­ships op­er­at­ing in the Red Sea and the Gulf and that 47 Tom­a­hawks were fired.

Fighter jets, bombers and re­motely con­trolled air­craft were used for the air strikes, which the five Arab na­tions “par­tic­i­pated in or sup­ported”.

“All air­craft safely ex­ited the strike ar­eas,” it said, adding that four air strikes were also con­ducted on Mon­day in neigh­bour­ing Iraq, bring­ing the to­tal num­ber of US raids in that coun­try to 194.

It said eight strikes were also car­ried out on a group of “ sea­soned Al- Qaeda ” vet­er­ans west of Syria’s sec­ond city Aleppo to dis­rupt an “im­mi­nent at­tack plot­ting against the United States and Western in­ter­ests”.

US-led air strikes killed at least 120 ji­hadists in Syria yes­ter­day, a mon­i­tor­ing group said.

The dead in­cluded more than 70 mem­bers of the Is­lamic State (IS) group in the north and east of Syria, as well as 50 al-Qaeda mil­i­tants, ac­cord­ing to the Bri­tain­based Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights.

Eight civil­ians, among them three chil­dren, were killed in US strikes in the west of north­ern Aleppo prov­ince, the Ob­ser­va­tory said.

The group said at least 300 peo­ple were in­jured in the strikes, about 100 of whom were in se­ri­ous con­di­tion. —

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