Dozens killed in air raids in Idlib; Iran has warned for war; ISIS ‘mufti’ captured by Iraqi SWAT

PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – Your briefly report on January 17 in last six hours from

Syria’s war: More than 20 killed in air raids on rebel-held Idlib

At least 21 people were killed in Syria’s rebel-held Idlib province as government forces and their Russian allies intensified an air offensive on the country’s northwest.

A new ceasefire agreement between Russia and Turkey, which support opposing sides in Syria’s nearly nine-year conflict, went into effect on Sunday but violence has continued, according to rescue workers operating in opposition-held areas.

The Syrian Civil Defence, also known as the White Helmets, said air raids and barrel bombs on Wednesday struck a vegetable market in the town of Ariha, as well as repair workshops in an industrial area, a few hundred metres away from the market.

At least 19 people were killed in the attacks on the market and the nearby shops, including a Civil Defence volunteer, Ahmed Sheikho, a spokesman for the group, told Al Jazeera.

A man was also killed in the village of Has as a result of a Syrian government air raid, Sheikho said, while a young girl succumbed to wounds sustained in a previous attack, which took place before the latest ceasefire was implemented.

At least 82 people were wounded in the attacks on Wednesday and the death toll is likely to increase, according to the White Helmets.

Iran can take fight beyond its borders, Khamenei says after U.S. strike, unrest

The Revolutionary Guards can take their fight beyond Iran’s borders, the supreme leader said on Friday, responding to the U.S. killing of a top general and to unrest at home over the accidental downing of an airliner.

In his first Friday prayers sermon in eight years, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also told thousands of Iranians who chanted “Death to America” that European states could not be trusted after they launched a nuclear agreement dispute mechanism.

The measure could lead to U.N. sanctions being reimposed.

“Resistance must continue until the region is completely freed from the enemy’s tyranny,” Khamenei said, in a reference to the United States that renewed his call for U.S. troops to leave neighbouring Iraq and the wider Middle East.

Washington’s withdrawal in 2018 from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers and the reimposition of U.S. sanctions has triggered an escalation in tensions over several months that briefly led to open conflict in January.

U.S. President Donald Trump ordered the killing in a drone strike on Jan. 3 of Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force, a unit of the Revolutionary Guards responsible for expanding Iran’s influence abroad. He built up regional militias that Washington has blamed for attacks on U.S. forces.

ISIS ‘mufti’ weighing 300 lbs captured by Iraqi SWAT

A massively obese ISIS “mufti” was pulled from his hiding place by elite Iraqi SWAT team members in a raid on Thursday.

He is considered one of the biggest captures in recent months. Photos show the tremendously large man was too large to fit in a police car and had to put in the back of a police vehicle, wedged between a mounted machine gun and the back of the lorry. He was carted off to prison.

Shifa al-Nima was nabbed by the SWAT regiment of the Nineveh police command in Mosul district in northern Iraq according to Iraq’s security media cell. Iraq has continued to fight ISIS even amid months of protests and recent US-Iran tensions in the country. The US-led coalition suspended anti-ISIS operations earlier this month but has recently tried to restart them.

According the Iraqi police this “mufti” was a well known preacher who spread extremism in mosques against security forces and incited on behalf of ISIS.

“He is considered one of the foremost leaders of ISIS and was responsible for issuing fatwas that led to the murder of scholars and clerics,” Iraqi police said.

Nima also issued the fatwa to bomb the tomb of the Prophet Yunus in Mosul, an ancient cultural site. He was arrested in the Mansur neighborhood in western Mosul, the so-called “right side” of the city due to it being on the right bank of the Tigris river.

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Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters, TJP