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August 29, 2016

Chinese Military to train to train Syrian Armed Forces

Chinese Military to train to train Syrian Armed Forces

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Monday, August 29, 2016

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Guan Youfei, rear admiral of the People’s Liberation Army Navy of China has met with the Syrian Defence Minister Fahd Jassem al-Freij in the city of Damascus to discuss China’s ties with Syria and to provide special military training to the Syrian Military. Beijing has supported the Bashar al-Assad government since 2011 by providing medical equipment and support but has decided to further this help with military and medical training. According to defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian the training will take place in China and is intended to ease the humanitarian crisis. The announcement from China’s Defense Ministry comes days after a Russian defense official called for a multi-national, non-NATO aliiance in Syria. The defence official is hoping that the fight against the Islamic state could end within a year with the combined efforts of Russia, China, India and Iran in Syria.



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April 8, 2016

Apparent Murder-Suicide at Air Force Base in Texas leaves two dead

Apparent Murder-Suicide at Air Force Base in Texas leaves two dead

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Friday, April 8, 2016

Police report an apparent murder-suicide event unfolded at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas Friday morning. Early reports indicate one of the men was a Squadron Commander.

During a press conference, an FBI agent present stated, “This is not an active terrorist event.”



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December 5, 2015

German MPs vote for action against IS in Syria

German MPs vote for action against IS in Syria

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Saturday, December 5, 2015

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Yesterday, German Members of Parliament (MPs) voted to approve a non-combat German role assisting allies bombing Islamic State in Syria. MPs voted 445 to support military involvement, with 146 against and seven abstentions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, from file
Image: FNDE.

Germany’s Chancellor, Angela Merkel, brought the vote for military action against IS to parliament following the Paris attacks on November 13. The approved action does not allow for German combat against IS, but approves the military to provide 1,200 troops, and reconnaissance and tanker aircraft as well as a frigate to support allies attacking IS in Syria.

Following the attacks in Paris, the United Nations Security Council accepted a resolution drafted by France which allows United Nations members to “take all necessary measures” in the fight against IS. Norbert Röttgen from Germany’s largest political party the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) said diplomatic efforts “would not stand a chance” without military action.

A statement from the Germany’s army said they are due to deploy their military “on the territory of states whose governments have given approval” to target IS. They are also set to increase soldier numbers in Iraq to 150 where they are training and arming Peshmerga fighters.

Support for German action in Syria follows the first attacks by the United Kingdom when it bombed an oilfield controlled by IS in Omar on Thursday. The United States has led a coalition campaign since 2014 bombing IS in Syria which was joined by France in late September.

A member of Germany’s Green Party, Anton Hofreiter, questioned if military action has come too early without a wider plan, saying airstrikes alone “do not amount to a military strategy”. Sahra Wagenknecht of Germany’s Left Party argued “it is simply a lie” that German action will impact negatively on IS.

Another Green Party MP, Simone Peter, previously questioned the legality of German help in Syria. Germany’s Justice Minister, Heiko Maas, said military action is lawful, telling Tagesspiegel newspaper that it “neither violates international law nor the constitution”((de)).



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December 4, 2015

UK begins airstrikes against IS in Syria

UK begins airstrikes against IS in Syria

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Friday, December 4, 2015

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The government of the United Kingdom has said Royal Air Force (RAF) bombers began airstrikes yesterday against Islamic State targets in Syria. The bombings follow British Members of Parliament (MPs) voted to support action against IS in Syria on Wednesday.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, from file.
Image: Chatham House.

RAF Tornado bombers based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus attacked oilfields in Syria which are controlled by and fund IS. UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the airstrikes were designed to deliver “a very real blow on the oil and revenue” of IS.

A Ministry of Defence statement said six “elements of the oilfield infrastructure were targeted” by the Tornados with support from other aircraft. It said sensors on the aircraft determined the targets were clear of non-combatants.

On Wednesday, MPs held a ten-hour debate on air strikes against IS, during which UK Prime Minister David Cameron urged them to support the action. They voted 397 to 223 to join the United States and France who are already bombing IS targets in Syria.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK’s opposition Labour Party, voted against airstrikes, arguing the need for bombings “did not stack up”. Mr Cameron also failed to get support from the Scottish National Party (SNP), almost all of whose MPs voted against taking action in Syria.

Following the airstrikes, Prime Minister Cameron said they had been “good for the country” and indicated “patience” would be needed in fighting IS. Mr Fallon said the UK are due to bomb more IS targets in Syria “in the next few days and weeks”.

Six Typhoon warplanes along with an Airbus A400M carrying engineers, ground crew and supplies left RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland yesterday to travel to Cyprus. Two further Tornados from RAF Marham in Norfolk, England are to join the planes based in Cyprus.



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Ministry of Defence statement regarding airstrikes against IS in Iraq and Syria

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German MPs vote for action aganst IS in Syria

German MPs vote for action aganst IS in Syria

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Friday, December 4, 2015

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On Friday, German Members of Parliament (MPs) voted to approve a non-combat German role assisting allies bombing Islamic State in Syria. MPs voted 445 to support military involvement, with 146 against and seven abstentions.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, from file
Image: FNDE.

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel brought the vote for military action against IS to parliament due to the Paris attacks on November 13. The approved action does not allow for German combat against IS, but approves the military to provide reconnaissance aircraft, tanker aircraft and a frigate to support allies attacking IS in Syria.

Following the Paris attacks, the United Nations Security Council accepted a resolution drafted by France which allows United Nations members to “take all necessary measures” in the fight against IS. Norbert Röttgen from Germany’s biggest political party the Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU) said today “diplomacy would not stand a chance” without military action from member states.

A statement from the Germany’s army said they will deploy their military “on the territory of states whose governments have given approval” to target IS. They will also increase soldier numbers in Iraq to 150 where they are training and arming Pesherga fighters.

Support for German military involvement in Syria follows the first attacks by the United Kingdom on Thursday when it bombed an oilfield controlled by IS in Omar. The US have been bombing IS in Syria since 2014 and they were joined by France in November.

A member of Germany’s Green Party Anton Hofreiter questioned whether military action alone is the right approach, saying today: “Airstrikes on their own do not amount to a military strategy”. Speaking after the vote, Sahra Wagenknecht of Germany’s Left Party argued military action against IS will not defeat them: “It is simply a lie that this military deployment will weaken Isis.”

Another Green Party MP Simone Peter had previously questioned the legality of German involvement in Syria. German Justice Minister, Heiko Mass, said German military action is legal, telling Tagesspigel newspaper that it “neither violates international law nor the constitution”, adding “we must stop this terrorist gang of murderers.”

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German army statement on military action against IS in Syria

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December 3, 2015

UK begins airstrikes in Syria against IS

UK begins airstrikes in Syria against IS

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Thursday, December 3, 2015

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The governenment of the United Kingdom has said Royal Air Force (RAF) bombers began airstrikes on Thursday against Islamic State targets in Syria. This comes after British Members of Parliament (MPs) voted to support action against IS in Syria on Wednesday.

UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon describes first UK airstrikes in Syria as successful
Image: Chatham House.

RAF Tornado bombers based at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus attacked oil fields controlled by IS in Omar, eastern Syria. UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said the airstrikes were designed to deliver “a very real blow on the oil and revenue” of IS and described the bombings as “successful”.

On Wednesday, MPs held a ten hour debate on air strikes against IS, during which Prime Minister David Cameron urged MPs to “answer the call from our allies” and support action against IS. MPs voted 397 to 223 in favour of joining the United States and France who are already bombing IS targets in Syria.

Six Typhoon warplanes along with an Airbus A400M carrying engineers, ground crew and supplies left RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland on Thursday to travel to Cyprus. Two further Tornados will also be joining planes based in Cyprus after leaving RAF Marham in Norfolk, England.



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November 27, 2015

UK Prime Minister David Cameron calls for British air strikes against IS in Syria

UK Prime Minister David Cameron calls for British air strikes against IS in Syria

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Friday, November 27, 2015

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Yesterday, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron urged Members of Parliament (MPs) in the House of Commons to support British air strikes against Islamic State in Syria. Mr Cameron said MPs will vote on the issue if he believes he has enough support in the Commons to join allies currently bombing IS targets in Syria.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron wants to join allies in Syria to tackle Islamic State
Image: Zasitu.

Prime Minister Cameron’s address to MPs responded to a Foreign Affairs Committee report from early this month which discouraged UK involvement against IS in Syria. MPs on the committee raised concerns that there is not a “coherent international strategy” on how to tackle IS in Syria and how to end the ongoing conflict in Syria. The report also questioned the legality of action against IS in Syria.

David Cameron attempted to appease concerns during his speech by outlining the government’s long term strategy which includes humanitarian support in Syria, rebuilding Syria following the current civil war and working with allies against IS. He also said the UK does not “have the luxury of being able to wait until the Syrian conflict is resolved”.

Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the UK’s opposition Labour Party, has said he will not support air strikes. Responding to the Prime Minister’s speech, Corbyn raised several concerns including whether UK involvement will help defeat IS and if air strikes will encourage terrorist attacks in the UK.

Prime Minister Cameron said IS are a threat to UK security and they already see the UK as a target for attacks. He argued Britain cannot “subcontract its security to other countries”, and said action against IS in Syria would increase safety for the UK.

Mr Cameron said he is not going to seek a vote from MPs unless he is confident they will support action against IS in Syria. Despite Jeremy Corbyn’s concerns, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell indicated Labour MPs should be given a free vote on the issue, saying: “it is better to allow MPs to make their own minds up”.



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November 26, 2015

Navigator of downed Russian jet found alive in Syria

Navigator of downed Russian jet found alive in Syria

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

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Russian officials said yesterday navigator Captain Konstantin Murakhtin, from the fighter jet shot down by a Turkish warplane on Tuesday, has been found alive. He was rescued following a twelve-hour mission to find him in Syria.

Vladimir Putin denies Russian jet was in Turkish airspace
Image: Kremlin.ru.

The pilot, Lieutenant Colonel Oleg Peshkov, died after being shot by rebel fighters. During the rescue attempt for Captain Murakhtin, a helicopter landed in Syria after being shot at by rebel fighters. Russian marine Alexander Pozynich died during the attack. Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said Pozynich and Murakhtin will be rewarded the Order of Courage and Peshkov will receive the Hero of Russia award.

NATO supports Turkey’s claim that the Russian Su-24 bomber did go into Turkish airspace before it was downed. Turkish officials said they warned the Russian pilot to leave their airspace on ten occasions before their F-16 warplane shot at it near the Turkey-Syria border Both men on board the Russian plane ejected.

However, Russian authorities deny that the Russian plane did enter Turkish airspace. President Putin insists the jet was flying over Syria when the Turkish Air Force shot at it and called the event a “stab in the back”. During a television interview on Wednesday, Captain Murakhtin claimed there is “no way” the Russian bomber was flying over Turkey when the Turkish plane shot it down and that Turkey did not give a warning before shooting at the jet.

Despite President Putin’s warning of “serious consequences”, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said: “We do not intend to go to war with Turkey.” NATO has also encouraged both countries to soothe their relationship following the incident.



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UK Prime Minister David Cameron calls for British IS air strikes in Syria

UK Prime Minister David Cameron calls for British IS air strikes in Syria

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

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On Thursday, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, David Cameron, made a statement to the House of Commons in which he urged for British air strikes against Islamic State in Syria. Mr Cameron wants British Members of Parliament to vote in support of joining allies currently bombing IS targets in Syria.

UK Prime Minister David Cameron wants to join allies in Syria to tackle Islamic State
Image: Zasitu.

Prime Minister Cameron’s speech comes in response to a Foreign Affairs Committee report from November which discouraged UK involvement against IS in Syria. MP’s on the committee raised concerns that there is not a “coherent international strategy” on how to tackle IS in Syria.

David Cameron attempted to appease concerns during his speech by outlining the government’s long term strategy which includes humanitarian support in Syria, rebuilding Syria after the current civil war and working with allies against IS. He also said the UK does not “have the luxury of being able to wait until the Syrian conflict is resolved”.

UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is yet to offer his support for air strikes. Responding to the Prime Minister’s speech, Corbyn raised several concerns including whether UK involvement will help defat IS and if air strikes will encourage terrorist attacks in the UK.

Prime Minister Cameron said IS are a threat to UK security and they already see the UK as a target for attacks. He argued Britain cannot “subcontract its security to other countries” and “cannot afford to stand aside and not to act”, insisting action against IS in Syria would increase safety for the UK.

Mr Cameron said he is not going to seek a vote from MP’s unless he is confident they will support action against IS in Syria. Despite Jeremy Corbyn’s concerns, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer John McDonnell indicated Labour MP’s will be given a free vote on the issue, saying: “it is better to allow MPs to make their own minds up”.



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November 25, 2015

Pakistani female fighter pilot Marium Mukhtiar dies in jet crash

Pakistani female fighter pilot Marium Mukhtiar dies in jet crash

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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

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Marium Mukhtiar yesterday became the first Pakistani female fighter pilot to die on duty when a jet aircraft crashed near Kundian, in Punjab’s Mianwali district.

Two Pakistani F7s from file.
Image: Asuspine.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF) said Flying Officer Mukhtiar and male colleague Squadron Leader Saqib Abbasi faced a “serious in-flight emergency” while training in an F7-PG fighter. After taking evasive action to avoid a residential area the pilots were left with insufficient altitude to safely eject. Both ejected and were injured; Mukhtiar died in hospital whilst Abbasi sustained minor injuries.

The PAF said Mukhtiar “embraced shahadat [martyrdom] and became the first lady pilot from PAF to attain this great honour,” crediting Abbasi’s survival as possibly down to his escaping several seconds prior to Mukhtiar. The duo “handled the serious emergency with professionalism and courage and tried to save the ill-fated aircraft till the very last minute,” according to the PAF.

The PAF estimates it has around 30 female fighter pilots. The force began recruiting women in 2003 and in 2006 the nation’s first seven female fighter pilots began service.



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