He said there was an estimated 10,000 to 15,000 foreign fighters with various groups battling Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s troops.
Karen Koning AbuZayd, a member of the commission, said most of the Syrians joining Islamic State were defecting from other armed opposition groups fighting in the country’s civil war, now in its fourth year.
“They see it’s better, these guys are strong, these guys are winning battles, they were taking territory, they have money, they can train us,” Mr AbuZayd told reporters." Irish Times
Syrian IS and Iraq IS are quite different. Iraq IS remains the same coalition of ISIS/Tribal allies/ex-army that it has been since the beginning of the "Breaking the Borders" campaign. Syrian IS is morphing into a much more Syria oriented force.
It will be interesting to see if the IS "high command' will be able to bring these Syria focussed fighters into Iraq or Saudi Arabia to continue their declared war against the existing regional governments. pl
"Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria fighters have seized a Syrian army base in the northern province of Raqa, killing scores of troops and beheading some of them, an activist group said Saturday.
In a two-day assault on the base in Raqa province, an ISIS bastion, the jihadists killed at least 85 soldiers, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
More than 50 troops were summarily executed, 19 others were killed in a double suicide bombing and at least 16 more died in the assault launched early Thursday." Daily Star
IMO the Raqa operation is yet another step in the process of IS "cleaning up" its rear area in Syria in preparing the ground for further offensive action southwards in the Arabian Peninsula or toward Jordan. pl
Read more: http://dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Jul-26/265226-85-syria-troops-killed-in-jihadist-advance-activists.ashx#ixzz38fun3q7F (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)
"Syrian government troops Saturday recaptured the Shaar gas field in Homs province from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria, a week after the jihadists seized it, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
"Since this morning, there has been fighting around the Al-Shaar field between regime forces and the IS. The army has succeeded in ejecting the jihadists, and it now controls the site and surrounding hills," Observatory chief Rami Abdel-Rahman told AFP.
The powerful jihadist group, which operates in Syria and Iraq and nows recently announced the formation of a "caliphate" named the Islamic State, killed around 300 members of the Syrian security forces in the battle for the key facility. Some of them were executed after being captured." Daily Star
It will be interesting to see if IS forces try to re-take the gas field or just go somewhere else. A failure to try again would be a sign of relative weakness that would be telling. pl
Read more: http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Middle-East/2014/Jul-26/265255-syria-regime-retakes-gas-field-from-isis.ashx#ixzz38fzPEasn (The Daily Star :: Lebanon News :: http://www.dailystar.com.lb)