Syria

Interesting footage coming out of Baghouz of IS fighters, possibly women, fighting in burkhas.

The prophet Mohammed said that jihad for women was hajj so no idea what these renegades are playing at.

Edited to clarify burkhas, not gurkhas.
?

I thought hajj was the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Would appreciate clarification.

TIA
 
Russian defense minister flies to Syria, hands to Assad message from Putin | Reuters
I assume it’s not a P45. Maybe the all clear for Idlib?
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu traveled to Syria on Tuesday where he handed a message from President Vladimir Putin to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, the defense ministry said.

The Russian ministry said Shoigu and Assad had discussed the fight against global terrorism in Syria and various aspects of security in the Middle East.
 
The US is considering officially recognising the annexation of the Golan Heights by Israel.
Trump says the U.S. should recognize Israel's sovereignty over Golan Heights | CBC News
U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday that it's time for the United States to recognize Israel's control over the disputed Golan Heights, an announcement that signals a shift in U.S. policy and comes ahead of the Israeli prime minister's planned visit next week to the White House.
The US foreign ministry has already changed the language they use to describe the Golan Heights from "Israeli-occupied" to "Israeli-controlled" in what appears to be positioning the US in preparation for this.
The administration has been considering recognizing Israel's sovereignty over the Golan, which Israel captured from Syria in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
Last week, in its annual human rights report, the State Department dropped the phrase "Israeli-occupied" from the Golan Heights section, instead calling it "Israeli-controlled."
Israel is in the midst of an election campaign, and Netanyahu has already thanked the US for their support on this issue.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faces an election on April 9 and has been pressing for the United States to recognize Israel's claim to sovereignty over the Golan Heights.
Trump remains popular in Israel, and his advisers have been developing a Middle East peace proposal for release sometime after the Israeli elections. Netanyahu tweeted his gratitude.
This recognition of annexation will be contrary to the relevant UN resolutions on the Golan Heights.
Richard Haass, a former senior State Department official who is president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said in a tweet he strongly disagreed with Trump's Golan decision.
He said the move violates UN Security Council resolution 242, "which rules out acquiring territory by war and serves Israel as it says all states have right 2 live in peace."
A Golan Heights force was set up after the 1973 Arab-Israeli war to monitor the ceasefire. Much of the world, including Canada, recognizes the Golan Heights as occupied territory.
There are several consequences to this that I can imagine. One is that it is conceivable that the US may attempt to withhold recognition of any post-Assad Syrian government who do not agree to the annexation, and to use unilateral US sanctions against any country trading with or providing aid to Syria, much like they have done with their (apparently successful) attempts to torpedo Europe's attempt to maintain the nuclear deal with Iran. This could undermine attempts to come to any sort of long term political settlement in Syria, as any Syrian government who agreed to it would be viewed as a traitor and face continuing turmoil and possible coup if they even considered it.

It may also set the stage for Turkey to conduct their own annexations of Syrian territory on the north. This in turn may also lead to wider conflict where other states in the region pursue border wars in an attempt to settle through annexation what they see as unjust borders imposed by the former colonial powers.

It may also act to legitimise Russia's annexation of Crimea and encourage them to slice off even more bits of territory from adjacent states while pointing to the US action as legal precedent.

Overall, the consequences of this act could extend well beyond the immediate area and signal the start of a new era of wars of conquest.
 
The EU have rejected the US statement regarding recognising Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights. EU, Syria reject Trump's statement on Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights | CBC News
The EU reiterated on Friday its position "has not changed" despite Trump's overture.
"The European Union, in line with international law, does not recognize Israel's sovereignty over the territories occupied by Israel since June 1967, including the Golan Heights and does not consider them to be part of Israel's territory," an EU spokesperson told Reuters.
A number of other countries have issued similar statements, including Canada, Egypt, France, Turkey, the Arab League, Russia, and Iran.
 
The US has officially declared IS to be 100% eliminated in terms of holding territory, although sporadic fighting continues with IS members who have not surrendered.
Islamic State territory in Syria 100% eliminated, White House says | CBC News
All Islamic State-held territory in Syria has been "100 per cent" eliminated, the White House announced Friday, though officials said sporadic fighting continues on the ground between coalition forces and the group's holdouts.
 
Islamic State defeated, 'caliphate' eliminated says U.S. ally in Syria | Reuters
SDF now say the self proclaimed Caliphate has been defeated, albeit reporters say sounds of shooting and mortar fire continue:
“Baghouz has been liberated. The military victory against Daesh has been accomplished,” Mustafa Bali, a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman, wrote on Twitter, declaring the “total elimination of (the) so-called caliphate”.

However, a Reuters journalist at Baghouz said there were still some sounds of shooting and mortar fire.
 
?

I thought hajj was the pilgrimage to Mecca.

Would appreciate clarification.

TIA
Sorry for the late reply. Yes, Hajj in this context means pilgrimage to Mecca.

The last few days there has been footage on social media of beburkhaed figures participating in fighting in Baghuz.
 
The SDF in Syria are asking for an international tribunal to prosecute foreigners captured in the part of Syria which they control.
U.S.-backed SDF calls for international tribunal to deal with captured ISIS fighters | CBC News
The U.S-backed Syrian fighters who drove the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) from its last strongholds called Monday for an international tribunal to prosecute hundreds of foreigners rounded up in the nearly five-year campaign against the extremist group.
They have captured more than 1,000 foreign fighters. Included in those are many from Western countries.
The SDF has captured more than 1,000 foreign fighters, including many from Western countries.
Western countries have been refusing to take their citizens back. They believe that it would not be possible to convict them in court, but they don't want to simply turn them loose either due to security concerns.
Western countries have largely refused to take back their detained citizens, fearing they would not be able to convict them in civilian courts and that they could pose a security risk.
As a result of this, the SDF are suggesting that an international tribunal be set up to try them in Syria.
Umer said foreign fighters should be tried where their crimes occurred and where they were detained. "The international community has evaded its responsibility, so we ask that they help us set up the court here," he said.
The suggestion is not being well received abroad.
Germany's Foreign Ministry said in an email that it only knew of the proposal from media reports, but that setting up such a tribunal would "raise many political and legal issues, which would require careful evaluation by the international community."
There is also the problem that setting up a tribunal on the territory of a sovereign country without that country's approval would be rather questionable.
Nadim Houry, the director of the counterterrorism program at Human Rights Watch, said "it is hard to imagine" setting up an international tribunal on sovereign territory without that country's approval.
There was nothing in the news story which suggested how these prisoners would be dealt with after being tried by the proposed tribunal. If the plan is to try them in a tribunal and then ship them back home, that idea may not go over well with many countries either. Any conviction by a tribunal which had questionable authority would be subject to challenge in the "home" country, raising the problem again of these people simply being turned loose and becoming a permanent security threat.
 
Speaking of prisoners.
 

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