INTELDROP 15 March 2016 [Middle East]

Firefighters try to extinguish flames fo

Middle East Correspondent – Erin Manth

Terror Attack in Turkish Capital Results in 37 Dead

13 March 2016

BBC (ANKARA) – A car bomb explosion in a busy district of Ankara, Turkey, killed 37 and wounded over 100 on 13 March 2016.  No group has claimed responsibility for the attack; however, Turkish officials believe it is the work of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). This attack is the third inside Ankara in less than six months.  The Turkish military launched airstrikes the next day, targeting the camps of Kurdish rebels in Iraqi Kurdistan. Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35799998 and http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35798517  (Reliability: High)

Senior ISIS Leader Killed

14 March 2016

CNN (SYRIA) – US officials now believe that Omar-al-Shishani, a senior ISIS defense leader, has died as a result of injuries sustained from a US drone strike. Last week, a US airstrike targeted a meeting between ISIS officials at which al-Shishani was likely present. The strike killed 12 ISIS officials and likely injured al-Shishani. However, the ISIS news agency Aamaq states that al-Shishani has not been injured or killed. Al-Shishani, a Chechen, was ISIS’s northern commander, overseeing military operations in northern Syria, and acting as a military strategist and advisor. His death will negatively affect ISIS’s foreign fighter recruitment, defense, and military coordination. Source: http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/14/politics/u-s-confirms-death-of-isis-operative-omar-al-shishani/index.html (Reliability: High)

Russian Troops Begin Withdrawal From Syria

14 March 2016

BBC (RUSSIA) – On 14 March 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the Russian intervention in Syria had accomplished its main mission goals. Furthermore, he ordered the withdrawal of the core contingent of Russian forces in Syria. This withdrawal comes as Syrian peace talks take place in Geneva. Russia, as an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, became involved in the conflict with an air campaign last September, allowing the Assad administration to recapture territory from rebels. Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-35807689 (Reliability: High)

ISIS Attacks Kirkuk with Chemical Weapons

12 March 2016

CBS (BAGHDAD) – ISIS launched two attacks with chemical weapons in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, wounding more than 600, killing a 3-year-old girl, and displacing hundreds more. According to the US military, ISIS’s chemical weapon attacks use chlorine and low-grade, low-potency, sulfur mustard. While ISIS has access to chemical artillery shells, experts do not believe it has the capability to launch a large-scale chemical attack. Even so, ISIS most likely has a special unit established for chemical weapons consisting of Iraqis who worked in Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs. Last week, a coalition airstrike destroyed a compound in Mosul where ISIS manufactures its chemical weapons. US intelligence identified the location of the building after the capture of a senior ISIS official in charge of chemical weapons. Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/iraqi-officials-isis-chemical-weapons-attacks-kill-child-wound-600/ (Reliability: High)

Kurdish Forces Arrest Possible American Citizen Fighting With ISIS

14 March 2016

Reuters (ERBIL) – Kurdish forces arrested a possible American citizen fighting with ISIS in northern Iraq. The man left ISIS territory and appeared to be evading both ISIS and Kurdish fighters. After Kurdish forces opened fire, he turned himself over near the village of Golat. He speaks both English and Arabic, and had with him an American driver’s license, as well as Iraqi, Turkish, and US currencies. The man told Kurdish fighters that conditions within ISIS are not good; he is now with Kurdish Intelligence. The State Department is currently in contact with Iraqi and Kurdish authorities, trying to determine the validity of the reports. Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-iraq-american-idUSKCN0WG181 (Reliability: High)

 

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