Top News: US Strikes Outskirts of Ayn al-Arab as Turkey Warns of City’s Imminent Defeat

Fresh airstrikes by the US-led coalition on Tuesday hit positions held by ISIS jihadists in the southwest of the key Syrian border town of Ayn al-Arab (Kobani in Kurdish) a day after the extremists seized three districts in the city’s east.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Kobani was “about to fall” after recent advances pressed home a three-week assault that has cost over 400 lives. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey is “ready for anything” including boots on the ground, if the US-led coalition meets certain conditions.



Limited pro-Morsi protests in Alexandria, Cairo on October war anniversary
Small-scale protests by supporters of president Mohamed Morsi took place in Egypt on Monday, the anniversary of the October 6 war. Three pro-Morsi protests erupted in the Mediterranean governorate of Alexandria, where protesters denounced what they described as a military coup against Morsi last summer. Security forces quickly quelled the protests and arrested seven protesters. [Ahram Online, 10/6/2014]

Egypt army kills sixteen militants in North Sinai
Egypt’s army killed sixteen militants from the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis jihadist group early Tuesday as it continues its operation to rein in extremists in the restive Sinai Peninsula. In offensives south of Sheikh Zuweid and Rafah cities in North Sinai, army forces also injured six and arrested four leading members of the group that has claimed responsibility for several attacks on army and police recently. [Aswat Masriya, Ahram Online, AP, 10/7/2014]

Egypt to sign trade deal with Kuwait in November
Egypt will sign a trade and industry cooperation agreement with Kuwait in November, state news agency MENA reported on Tuesday, citing the Egyptian minister of industry and trade. The agreement, which aims to boost mutual trade and investment, will be signed in the Kuwaiti capital. [Ahram Online, SIS, Aswat Masriya (Arabic), 10/7/2014]


Derna’s rival Islamist militias fall out over caliphate allegiance
Following Friday’s declaration of allegiance to Islamic State by Derna’s Shura Council of Islamic Youth (SCIY), the town’s rival Islamist militia, the Abu Salim Martyrs’ Brigade, has said it will not pledge allegiance to anyone outside of Libya. The two groups have engaged in an increasingly deadly rivalry in recent months. Meanwhile, an eyewitness has challenged Operation Dignity claims about carrying out air strikes on SCIY bases in Derna, explaining that the strikes were too precise to have been conducted by the Libyan air force. [Libya Herald, 10/6/2014]

Al-Thinni expected to go to Cairo for talks with President Sisi
Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thinni will reportedly be in Cairo today, leading a major ministerial delegation, for talks with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Talks are expected to focus entirely on the subject of deteriorating security in Libya. There are unconfirmed reports that an Egyptian vessel, carrying supplies of arms and vehicles for the Libyan army, specifically Operation Dignity, has docked at Tobruk. [Libya Herald, 10/6/2014]

Benghazi clashes continue into fifth consecutive day
Nine more members of the Saiqa Special Forces and three members of the Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shura Council (BRSC) were reportedly killed as fighting continues in Benghazi. According to the head of the Saiqa Special Forces investigations unit, Operation Dignity air power helped to repel the BRSC, which has continued its assault on Benina airport. Meanwhile, unknown assailants killed three more civilians, including a father and his son, in targeted assassinations in the eastern city. [Libya Herald, 10/6/2014]

More than 100 illegal migrants missing after Libya shipwreck
More than 100 illegal migrants are missing after their vessel sank off of Libya’s coast en route across the Mediterranean, with dozens of bodies already washed up on the shore, local Libyan authorities said. Around seventy migrants, mostly from Syria and sub-Saharan Africa, had been rescued. Libya has become a common takeoff point for illegal migrants trying to reach Europe. Nearly 2,000 people have drowned in the Mediterranean this year, according to the United Nations. [Reuters, 10/6/2014]


US strikes outskirts of Ayn al-Arab as Turkey warns of city’s imminent defeat
Fresh airstrikes by the US-led coalition on Tuesday hit positions held by ISIS jihadists in the southwest of the key Syrian border town of Ayn al-Arab (Kobani in Kurdish) a day after the extremists seized three districts in the city’s east. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said Kobani was “about to fall” after recent advances pressed home a three-week assault that has cost over 400 lives. Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey is “ready for anything” including boots on the ground, if the US-led coalition meets certain conditions. [Naharnet, NYT, WSJ, 10/7/2014]

Syrian government troops capture key rebel areas outside Damascus
Syrian government forces on Monday seized control of a strategic area outside Damascus used by rebels to attack the capital. The capture comes nearly a month after government forces launched an offensive to regain control of the area, from which rebels have launched mortar shells against the Old City of Damascus and the pro-regime Jaramana district outside the capital. Syrian government forces have in recent months retaken several rebel strongholds as the US-led anti-ISIS effort continues inside Syria. [AFP, 10/7/2014]

Ex-Pentagon chief predicts thirty-year ISIS war
Former Pentagon chief Leon Panetta said in an interview on Monday that the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) could go on for decades because of poor decision-making on the part of the US administration. Panetta criticized the president for not arming Syrian rebels in the early stages of the conflict when the administration was in a better position to discern moderate groups from their radical counterparts. He also indicated that the president lost credibility when he warned the Syrian president not to use chemical weapons against his own people and then failed to act when Assad crossed that “red line” last year. Panetta, however, proposed that the Obama administration has an opportunity to fix its past mistakes in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). [Al Arabiya News, 10/7/2014]


ISIE confirms 5 million registered voters ahead of elections
The Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) on Monday announced that the final number of registered voters for the upcoming elections currently stands at 5,285,136, including 359,530 voters registered abroad. These figures were recorded after the registration period concluded, and ISIE officials indicated that the printing of voter lists has also commenced. Legislative elections are scheduled for October 26 with the presidential elections following a month later on November 23. [TAP, All Africa, 10/6/2014]

Foreign terrorism suspects arrested in Kessarine
The ministry of Interior on Tuesday announced that two individuals had been arrested in Kasserine after attempting to enter the country and join terrorist organizations in the Mt. Chaambi region. The ministry said that national guard units apprehended the two suspects based on information provided by locals but did not release their names or nationality. [TAP, 10/6/2014]

Labor union clashes with govt’ officials on wages as Inflation drops to 5.6 percent
Tunisia’s General Labor Union (UGTT) demanded Monday that the government raise wages, crackdown on smuggling, and enact stricter regulations on business taxes as the inflation rate dropped to 5.6 percent for the second consecutive month. UGTT officials, however, complained that high food prices and stagnant wages, when compounded with budget deficits, place an immense pressure on Tunisia’s working class. Tunisia is struggling to stabilize its economy as it deals with the economic effects of the revolution and the ongoing transition. [TAP, All Africa, 10/7/2014]


Sources say Hadi close to appointing new prime minister
Sources at several media outlets reported that President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi is close to appointing a new prime minister over two weeks from the signing of the September 21 peace and partnership agreement. A source in Sana’a said that Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak, former secretary general of the National Dialogue Conference, was likely to be appointed prime minister at some point on Tuesday. Different sources reported that Hadi and other political forces had agreed to postpone the formation of a new government until after the Eid al-Adha holiday following a failure on several sides to implement the terms of the peace and partnership agreement. One official source claimed that the delay in choosing a prime minister was due to the difficulty of negotiating with all political factions, while another blamed the Houthis for obstructing the process through their excessive demands. [Aden al-Ghad, 10/7/2014]

Houthis set sights on Bab al-Mendab, oil fields
Sources in Yemen believe that the Houthis are positioning themselves to attain control of the Bab al-Mandeb strait as well as oilfields in the Marib province. An anonymous military source said that the government was interpreting the establishment of a Houthi office in the city of al-Hudaydah last week as a first step toward the eventual seizure of Bab al-Mandeb and other coastal cities. The Houthis have clashed with security and tribal forces in al-Hudaydah province since mid-September, and the military source claimed they have thousands of armed men there. He alleged that the Houthis have established “popular committees” to oversee public finances and a parallel justice system with a “complaints office” resembling an Islamic court. The source also reported that the Houthis would likely seek to gain control over oil fields in Marib province, which could lead to clashes with al-Qaeda in that region. [Naharnet, 10/7/2014]

Indian ship carrying 600 tons of goods to Socotra sinks
Members of the coast guard rescued the crew of an Indian ship bound for the Yemeni island of Socotra. The director of the coast guard said that the ship, traveling out of the United Arab Emirates, struck an under-water mountain south of Oman and was completely lost. Patrol boats in the area were able to save the crew. The ship was reportedly carrying 600 tons of goods to traders on Socotra, including food, iron, and cars. [Al Masdar (Arabic); Aden al-Ghad (Arabic), 10/7/2014]


Dutch carry out first anti-ISIS airstrikes in Iraq
The Dutch defense ministry announced Tuesday that is its F-16 fighter jets had conducted their first strikes on the Islamic State in Iraq and al-sham (ISIS) in Iraq, with militants possibly killed. The fighter jets were deployed to provide close air support for Iraqi and Kurdish troops in northern Iraq. The Dutch have so far committed 250 military personnel and 130 trainers for the US-led anti-ISIS campaign. [Naharnet, 10/7/2014]

Qatari mediation on Arsal hostages ends
Qatar is no longer mediating the release of Lebanese soldiers and policemen taken captive by jihadists from the northeastern border town of Arsal in August, al-Nusra Front sources said Tuesday. Sources within the militant group noted that the negotiations ended after the Lebanese government reneged on an agreement to free Islamist inmates from Roumieh prison in return for three of the Lebanese hostages. [Naharnet, 10/7/2014]

ISIS warns professors who left their jobs to return
The Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) on Monday issued a warning to doctors and teachers who fled northern Iraq to seek work in areas outside the militant group’s control, to return to their jobs within ten days. A statement issued by the group’s Court of the Judiciary and Grievances said ISIS authorities would seize the properties of anyone failing to return to work within that period. The Iraqi Higher Education Ministry had agreed to transfer university professors and employees in areas controlled by ISIS to other institutions in the province under its control. [Al Arabiya News, 10/7/2014]