U.S. Launches New Airstrikes Against Khorasan Group
“The United States has launched new airstrikes against the Khorasan Group in northwestern Syria, the first operations against the terror group since the opening night of airstrikes in Syria on September 22,” ABC News reports.
“In total, the U.S. conducted five airstrikes with a combination of manned and unmanned aircraft,” a U.S. defense official told Foreign Policy. At the time of the first strike on the group, officials claimed that attacks by the group against the U.S. and Europe were “imminent.”
The first indication of the strike came on social media, with reports saying that they had targeted Jabhat al-Nusra, an al-Qaida affiliate that has recently taken territory in Idlib province from U.S.-backed rebels.
Mortar Fire on Syrian School Kills at Least 13 Children
At least 13 children were killed in a rebel-held suburb of Damascus after mortar shells struck their school, AP reports.
“Wednesday’s attack marked the most serious violence against Syrian minors since a twin suicide bombing killed at least 25 children in a government-controlled neighborhood in the central city of Homs in October.”
A video posted online showing several heavily wounded and lifeless victims of at least nine children appeared to be genuine, according to the AP. The video signals that the death toll may rise.
Turkey Warns of Massacres and Consequences in Aleppo, as Syrian Government Gains Ground
Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu “has accused Syrian government forces of committing massacres in and around Aleppo and said Turkey would face a major new refugee crisis if Syria’s second city fell into their hands,” Reuters reports.
Aleppo is divided nearly in half between government forces in the west and opposition groups in the east. Over the past year Assad’s forces have encircled rebel positions trying to cut its supply routes to the city.
Turkey has long demanded a no-fly zone and greater efforts against the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“If Aleppo were to fall, we in Turkey would really be confronted with a large, very serious, worrisome refugee crisis. This is why we want a safe zone,” he said.
Turkey is home to more than 1.5 million refugees from Syria’s civil war.
“Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said this week that Aleppo, the “bastion” of the opposition, was almost encircled by Assad’s forces and that abandoning it would end hopes of a political solution in Syria.”
The idea of a buffer zone has not gained traction with other members of the anti-ISIS coalition.
The U.S. has said it is not seriously considering the proposition of a no-fly zone, because it was not “essential to the goal of degrading and ultimately destroying ISIS,” NBC News reports.
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FP Exclusive: U.S. Renews Air Campaign Against Khorasan Group