Kosovo’s Daesh Camps Act as Creche for Young Terrorists

A Daesh training camp in northern Iraq

 

There are at least five Daesh military training camps in Kosovo, located in remote areas near the self-proclaimed republic’s border with Albania and Macedonia, a source close to the intelligence services told Sputnik.

In an interview with Sputnik, a source close to the intelligence services singled out at least five Daesh (ISIL/ISIS) training camps, located in remote areas near Kosovo’s border with Albania and Macedonia.The largest camps are located in areas adjacent to the towns on the Urosevac and Djakovica line as well as the Decani district, the source said, adding that the smaller camps were tracked in the Prizren and Pec regions.

A total of 314 Kosovo Albanians along with Daesh terrorists are now fighting government troops in Syria and Iraq, among them 38 women, according to the source.

As for the recruitment, it takes in two stages; the first is conducted by non-governmental organizations that operate in Kosovo and at numerous private schools, the source said.

Police officers look towards the Macedonian mountain village of Gosince from a police check point set near the northern Macedonian border with Kosovo. file photo
© AP Photo/ Boris Grdanoski
Police officers look towards the Macedonian mountain village of Gosince from a police check point set near the northern Macedonian border with Kosovo. file photo

“The future Daesh terrorists are ‘brainwashed’ there and they also learn Arabic and study the Koran, something that is followed by so-called ‘combat practice’ training, headed by former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). They typically teach the rookies to wage guerrilla warfare and handle guns, among other things,” according to the source.

“In addition, each camp has several Daesh terrorists who decide on sending the rookies to the war or preparing them for the role of suicide bombers,” the source said, citing about 70 Kosovo Albanian families who decided to join Daesh.

The source also warned of the possible spread of such camps to Macedonia and in Bosnia, where about 800 jihadists arrived during the wars in the 1990s. As far as Macedonia is concerned, the country is just beginning to grapple with the problem, the source said, referring to Macedonian villages which were earlier KLA centers and which have already been turned into Daesh training camps.

In 2013, the Western Balkans Security Issues news website warned of the territory of Kosovo and Albania being used for Daesh training camps, something that was recognized by Kosovo authorities only a year later.

Meanwhile, the source has told Sputnik that the training process dates back to 1999, when al-Qaeda terrorists were involved in training the KLA militants in Kosovo.

In a separate interview with Sputnik earlier this week, Fadil Lepaja, director of the Center for Balkan Studies in Pristina, shared the view that with Kosovo’s borders with Albania and Macedonia existing only on paper, tracking Islamists’ training camps is almost impossible.He noted that tackling Daesh supporters is a global problem, rather than one limited to Kosovo and Albania. Even though NATO’s mission in Kosovo (KFOR) and all relevant services keep a watchful eye on those who have returned from the war in Syria, it is hard to foresee everything, according to him.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 after spending several years under UN administration. It is recognized by Washington and many EU member nations.

Iraqi Prime Minister Raises National Flag in Liberated Fallujah – Reports

A soldier from Iraq's elite counterterrorism forces looks from the gun turret of a Humvee as troops gather on the edge of the Shuhada neighborhood in Islamic State-held Fallujah, Iraq

Iraqi Prime Minister Raises National Flag in Liberated Fallujah – Reports

 

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Abadi raised the national flag next to the hospital in the liberated from the Daesh terrorists Fallujah, according to local media.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider Abadi has raised the country’s flag in the center of Fallujah, which was recently liberated from Islamic States (ISIL or Daesh) militants, local media said Sunday.Earlier on Sunday, Abdul-Wahad Saadi, the Iraqi army commander heading the counter-terrorism operation in the city, said that Iraq’s armed forces had “fully liberated” Fallujah.

Abadi, who is also the commander in chief of the armed forces, raised the Iraqi flag next to the city hospital while surrounded by dozens of security personnel, the Al Sumaria television channel reported.

The prime minister called on Iraqi people to celebrate the victory and vowed to raise the country’s flag in Mosul, which is still overrun by Daesh militants.

Fallujah, located some 42 miles west of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, is one of the largest cities in the Anbar province. The Daesh, outlawed in many countries including Russia, has been in control of the city since 2014.The Iraqi Army and Shiite militias, backed by US airstrikes, launched the offensive to retake Fallujah on May 22.

Last week, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Abadi declared Fallujah liberated from the Daesh, as the government forces gained control of the city center. However, media reported that fighting continued in the city. The United Nations earlier voiced concern over the humanitarian situation in the city, with tens of thousands of residents having fled the fighting.

Syrian Army Fiercely Fighting Daesh Over Oil Field in Raqqa

Syrian Army soldiers take positions on the outskirts of Syria's Raqqa region on February 19, 2016

 

The Syrian government troops are fighting Daesh over an oil field near Tabqa in the west of Raqqa province, a source in Syrian militia told RIA Novosti on Monday.

BEIRUT      Since May, the Syrian army launched an offensive in the direction of Tabqa, which lies on the way to the city of Raqqa, the Syrian stronghold of the islamists, outlawed in many countries worldwide, including Russia and the United States.

“Fierce fighting near the oil field still continue. At night, parts of the Syrian army drove terrorists out of Ash Shola, but an intensive counterstrike forced them to regroup in the morning. The field is not yet completely liberated,” the source said.

Syria has been mired in civil war since 2011, with numerous opposition factions and Islamic extremist groups fighting government forces seeking to topple the government of President Bashar Assad.

Daesh Builds Fortifications Meters Away From Border as Turkey Does Nothing

Turkish soldiers on a tank sit opposite the Syrian town of Ain al-Arab, known as Kobane by the Kurds, at the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern Turkish village of Mursitpinar, Sanliurfa province (File)

 

Turkish military did not make any effort to prevent Daesh from digging deep trenches in broad daylight and filling them with explosive devices in the narrow stretch of land between the militant-held Syrian city of Jarabulus and the border, local residents told RT.

“We could easily watch them [build fortifications]. It’s very close to the border, like 50 meters away. If you can see the trenches from here now, you should have seen them being dug with all that big equipment,” Bulent Polat, a shop owner from the Turkish town of Karkamis, told the television network.

A power shovel, left standing by the trench, is still visible in the distance.

Karkamis has been largely abandoned in the months after a foreign-sponsored insurgency set the neighboring country on fire. The ripples of the Syrian war reached the city when Daesh began to launch rockets across the border.

Yet the Turkish authorities do not seem to be eager to protect their own citizens.

“Once when [Daesh] fired a rocket, when some top army officials came here we asked: ‘Why are you not taking action?’ They said the order from the top is only to take security measures for the soldiers,” Bulent said.

Yet, for the shop owner, peace and security seem to be only a step away. If Ankara choses to act, Jarabulus would become Daesh-free in an instant, he suggested. It will only take the Turkish military “24 hours” to tackle the militants around Jarabulus.

But the Turkish military is not the only one ignoring Daesh activities across the border. Bulent and other locals saw military aircraft of the US-led coalition traversing the skies over Jarabulus and Karkamis. They did not launch airstrikes.RT correspondent Lizzie Phelan and her crew visited Karkamis and talked to its residents. While there, the crew saw a Daesh flag flying over a pink building and vehicles moving across the border. The journalists also heard militants transmit messages like “God help [Daesh] in its fight” over loudspeakers.

Turkish leadership, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has long been scolded for not taking a tougher stance on Daesh and not doing enough to secure the border with Syria, a step that would deal a major blow to the terrorist group that relies heavily on outside supplies to maintain its grip on the region.

Border crossings, like the one between Jarabulus and Karkamis, are vital for Daesh survival. True, the Turkish military turned the stretch of land between the border and the Syrian city into a minefield, but crossing into Syria is easy.

The shop owner offered to take Phelan to the war-torn country, adding that she would have to wear a burqa and could not mention that she was a journalist. There were no other conditions. In other words, getting into Syria from Turkey is not an issue, but for trapped civilians leaving Jarabulus there are problems.It is unsurprising then that Bulent and other locals do not support the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). “I won’t vote for the AKP even if they offer me the whole city,” he said, referring to Karkamis.

Earlier, RT uncovered a treasure trove of documents that pointed to Daesh selling oil to Turkey amongst other things. The journalists found invoices in liberated Syrian border city of al-Shaddadi.

Ankara has long been accused of providing aid to radical groups trying to overthrow Erdogan’s former ally Bashar al-Assad, whom the Turkish president now views as his opponent.