Canon Andrew White, the Anglican pastor who's known as the Vicar of Baghdad, says that after U.S. troops left Iraq in 2011, the country has been facing "total devastation," even worse than under Saddam Hussein. White also described what Christians are facing as one of the worst persecutions in history.
"It was total devastation, it was the most horrendous thing," White told The News Tribune in Takoma, Washington, Sunday when speaking about the persecution Christians have endured in Iraq since the U.S. pulled its troops out in 2011. "The terrible thing that the Americans have to realize is that all of their intervention, everything they tried to do, has totally been wasted. Nothing has been achieved by this at all."
He continued, "Are we worse now than under Sadam? A million times worse." more >>
An Islamic State security official revealed that when ISIS seized the Yazidi religious minority region of Sinjar in northern Iraq in early August, ISIS militants separated virgin girls from the rest of the captured women for the sole purpose of designating them to be given away as sex prizes to ISIS fighters, a group of anti-Islamic State activists reported.
In an interview with the Syrian activist group called "Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently" and published to the group's website on Saturday, an unnamed ISIS security official stationed in Raqqa highlighted the militant organization's sex slave practices and revealed that Yazidi virgins were filtered out from Yazidi married women and mothers so that they could be awarded to ISIS fighters who contributed on the front lines for the militant group.
The ISIS source told the activist group that after battles in northern Iraq, the militants gathered all the detained religious minority women and "captured the virgins, without others." The source said the virgins were then dispersed "exclusively" among the ISIS militants who participated in that particular battle in the region where the virgins were captured. The source added that the militants preferred virgins and did not concen themselves over married or pregnant women. more >>
The U.S. military has air-dropped weapons, medical supplies and other aid on Sunday to Kurdish forces in their fight against terror group ISIS over the Syrian border town of Kobane, despite protests from Turkey. ISIS has reportedly suffered heavy losses in the battle, with at least 70 bodies of its fighters dropped off at a Syrian hospital in the past week.
The Associated Press reported that the government of Turkey opposes the aid to the Kurdish forces fighting in Syria, because it sees the group as an extension of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party. Turkey and the PKK have been in a state of war for the past 30 years.
The U.S. and its allies have been aiding for months Kurdish forces that are battling ISIS, though mostly in the Kurdish regional government in Iraq. In the past few weeks, the Islamic terror group has concentrated its efforts on capturing the Syrian-Turkish border town of Kobane for strategic purposes. U.S.-led airstrikes have helped in pushing back the jihadists, who had initially made big gains in the town. more >>
A Syrian opposition group said the bodies of at least 70 fighters from Islamic State have been dumped at a hospital in a northern Syrian town, not too far from the border town of Kobani, where the U.S. military Sunday dropped arms and supplies to Kurdish forces fighting ISIS to prevent its capture.
The bodies were dropped off over the last four days possibly by other fighters at a hospital in the town of Tal Abyad, about 50 miles from Raqqa, which was taken by ISIS last year, a Syrian opposition group told CNN.
The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said sources confirmed that bodies of ISIS militants arrived at the hospital. more >>
A watchdog group as well as the Syrian opposition have said fighters from the ISIS terror group are being trained to fly warplanes by former Iraqi military officers, raising fears that militants could be preparing to attack coalition aircraft.
"Reliable resource reported to SOHR that ISIL now own three warplanes that can fly with pilots being taught high level manoeuvre tactics," the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday.
These warplanes are expected to be MIG 21 and 23, and officers from the Iraqi dissolved army, who are also members of the Islamic State, also known as ISIL, "have overseen the training of some militants in order to be able to lead these aircrafts," the Observatory added. more >>
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., is featuring a display showing graphic photos of murder and torture that are said to have been committed under the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria. A Syrian pastor has warned against using the images to justify expanding the war in the country, however.
The Associated Press reported that the photos are from an archive of 55,000 images smuggled out of Syria by a photographer, who has testified in Congress about witnessing the mass killing of prisoners. The journalist, who was only named by the codename "Caesar," said that the massacre was committed under the Assad regime.
"They show a side of the Syrian regime that hasn't really been really seen. You might have heard about it, read about it, but when you're confronted with these images, they're impossible to ignore," said Cameron Hudson, director of the museum's Center for the Prevention of Genocide. more >>