US and Russia begin Military talks on Syria; Russian troops fear involvement
Secretary of State, John Kerry has announced that the US is prepared to engage in military to military discussion with Russia about Syria. Kerry says the purpose of the talks will be to discuss options for a political solution to Syria, while continuing the Obama administrations goals of defeating the Islamic State. Kerry will also be meeting with the British foreign secretary and then will travel to Germany for discussions focused on the Syrian crisis. In addition to propping up Assad, Russia does have an interest in dealing with Islamic State, particularly since nearly 2,400 Russian fighters have reportedly joined the Islamic State.
In recent weeks, Russia has been upping its support for President Assad by deploying weapons and personnel to Latakia, Syria. On Sept. 5th, Kerry warned the Russian foreign minister that the Kremlin should not expand its support for the Syrian government, which could fuel Syrian conflict. The Russian foreign minister has said that they are willing to coordinate with the Pentagon to avoid “unintended incidents.”
The presidential Human Rights Council has reported that they have been contacted by some members of the Russian military claiming that they were told they would be headed to fight “somewhere hot.” The council says it has received messages from worried soldiers and family members that they might be sent to Syria. The US has expressed concern over a Russian military build-up near Latakia. Russia is building an airbase there, but it is unclear if Russian troops are directly involved in the Syrian fighting.
New York man repeatedly tries to fly to the Middle East; tweeted with ISIS
A New York man, Ali Saleh, 22, faces terrorism charges after attempting several times to fly to the Middle East to join Islamic State. He appeared in Federal court on Thursday and is being held on bail. Authorities say that Saleh was providing material support to the terrorist organization.
It is alleged that Saleh has contacted Islamic State facilitators about joining before making several attempts to board flights between August 2014 and September of this year. A few days before his first attempt at boarding a flight, Saleh tweeted “I’m ready to die for the Caliphate, prison is nothing.” The Islamic State’s supporters view it as the revived Caliphate, with its leader AbuBakr Al Baghdadi the legitimate caliph.
Saleh tried on several other occasions to leave for the Middle East, attempting to board flights in Newark, Philadelphia, and Cleveland. Authorities say that Saleh maintained that he would have continued to try and leave the country had he not been arrested.
Gunmen kill at least 16 people in an attack on Pakistan airbase
Dressed in police uniforms, gunmen stormed the Badaber air base in Pakistan on Friday morning killing sixteen during morning prayers at a mosque inside the compound. The Pakistani Taliban has taken credit for the attack. The gunmen entered the base at two points and then split into groups.
While Pakistani security officials say thirteen of the intruders were reportedly killed the Taliban maintains only one of its fighters died. The Pakistani military reports another 29 people were injured. The airbase provided residential housing for military members. Pakistani Taliban spokesman said a suicide unit carried out the attack. It is the first on a military target since a Pakistani navy ship was attacked last September by jihadists linked to Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS), formed last year. During that assault Al Qaeda was able to utilize Pakistani naval officers who defected from the national military.
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