This undated image posted by the Raqqa Media Center, a Syrian opposition group, on Monday, June 30, 2014. (AP)
Free Syrian Army spokesperson says brutal jihadi group quietly making inroads in villages near Golan by offering aid in exchange for services to be named later
The Islamic State terror group is operating sleeper cells in southern Syria near the border with Israel, a spokesman for the opposition’s Free Syrian Army charged Sunday.
The spokesman, speaking to The Times of Israel on condition of anonymity, as he was not authorized to communicate with Israeli media, said that some of the 6,000 Islamist fighters who fled southward toward the borders with Israel and Jordan in July actually belong to the Islamic State, not to the less extreme Nusra Front as previously believed.
The two Islamist organizations had clashed militarily in a struggle for control over oil-rich northeastern Syria, in which the Islamic State triumphed. The Times of Israel could not confirm the information, which was recently conveyed to the spokesman from a number of different sources.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in an exclusive interview with NBC News' Ann Curry, denounced ISIS for its savagery but also branded the U.S.-led coalition against the terror group as "ridiculous." Speaking from the presidential palace in Tehran ahead of his visit to the United Nations, Rouhani questioned President Obama's decision to go after ISIS with airstrikes.
"Are Americans afraid of giving casualties on the ground in Iraq? Are they afraid of their soldiers being killed in the fight they claim is against terrorism?" Rouhani said.
"If they want to use planes and if they want to use unmanned planes so that nobody is injured from the Americans, is it really possible to fight terrorism without any hardship, without any sacrifice? Is it possible to reach a big goal without that? In all regional and international issues, the victorious one is the one who is ready to do sacrifice.
The Islamic State issued a video in response to President Obama's vow to "degrade and ultimately destroy it," displaying a preview that it would kill American ground forces even though he ruled out putting boots on the ground, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
The 52-second clip produced by the Al Hayat Media Center, the Islamic State's media wing, boasts high-quality images and filming techniques. It shows tanks blowing up in slow motion, injured American soldiers and explosions superimposed over images of U.S. military figures.
The video also features shots of President George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" banner, President Obama and the White House and militants about to carry out executions.
Gen. Martin Dempsey, the military's top officer, told a Senate panel Tuesday he will recommend having U.S.advisers fight with Iraqi troops against the militant Islamic State group if the situation requires it.
"To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president," said Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
U.S. advisers could be called on to get closer to the fight, Dempsey said, if Iraqi security forces undertake a complex operation such as retaking the city of Mosul.
The United States is at war the militant Islamic State group, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said, and the fight "will not be an easy or brief effort. It is complicated."
"We are at war with ISIL, as we are with al-Qaeda," Hagel said. "But destroying ISIL will require more than military efforts alone. It will require political progress in the region, and effective partners on the ground in Iraq and Syria."
President Barack Obama’s top military adviser said Tuesday that the campaign against ISIS “won’t look like ‘shock and awe’” but will be “persistent and sustainable" as the U.S. and its allies work to degrade the terror group's capabilities.
In testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey also suggested that American military advisers could accompany Iraqi troops on raids against ISIS, despite promises from the White House of no American 'boots on the ground.'
"Our military advisors will help the Iraqis conduct campaign planning, arrange for enabler and logistics support, and coordinate Coalition contributions," Dempsey said. "If we reach the point where I believe our advisors should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the President."
“Within a coalition of capable, willing regional and international partners, I believe we can destroy ISIL in Iraq, restore the Iraqi-Syrian border, and disrupt ISIL in Syria,” he said.
President Barack Obama will send 3,000 troops to West Africa to build treatment clinics and train health workers to try to halt the spread of the deadly Ebola virus, U.S. officials said on Tuesday, as the United States widens its response to the crisis.
The U.S. plan, a dramatic increase from Washington's initial response last week, won praise from aid workers and officials in the region. But health experts said it was still not enough to contain the epidemic, which is quickly growing and has caused local healthcare systems to buckle from the strain.
Taipei, Sept. 16 (CNA) Taiwan's main combat aircraft practiced emergency takeoffs and landings on a freeway Tuesday as part of the military's annual Han Kuang series of exercises that kicked off Monday.
The drill was held on the Minxiong section of the No. 1 National Freeway in the southern county of Chiayi. It is one of four sections of Taiwan's main north-south freeway designated as emergency runways in the event of war.
All three types of fighter jets in Taiwan's combat aircraft fleet -- an F-16 A/B fighter jet, a Mirage 2000-5 and an Indigenous Defensive Fighter (IDF) jet -- were used in the drill.
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