Information discovered during a raid on an ISIL cell in the southeastern province of Gaziantep revealed that İlhami Balı, 33, who is known by the code name “Ebubekir,” had given the orders for recent ISIL attacks in Turkey which caused hundreds of casualties. He reportedly ordered the twin bombings in Ankara on Oct. 10, the Suruç bombing in southeastern Şanlıurfa in July, the blast at a Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) rally in southeastern Diyarbakır in June, the killing of a Turkish soldier on the Syria border and the kidnapping of another soldier in the same incident.
The deal stipulates that rebels, some of which have ties to “Jabhat al-Nusra” (Syrian branch of “al-Qaeda”), will leave their positions in several stages over the course of next two months, and will also hand over some heavy weaponry to government forces. However attention must be payed to some details.
Since the beginning of Russian airstrikes in Syria, the north Latakia fighting front has emerged as a key battleground as regime forces- including irregular militias like the Muqawama Suriya and the Syrian Social Nationalist Party’s Nusur al-Zawba’a– and Shi’a militias like the Iraqi Harakat al-Nujaba’ seek to make advances and consolidate the remaining rump state. Contrasting with the Aleppo front but similar to developments in north Hama, the north Latakia front has remained largely at a stalemate, with the two main frontline areas being Jabal al-Akrad and Jabal al-Turkoman. The question then arises of which insurgent factions are operating on this front. In general, these factions are diverse in nature, ranging from Western-backed groups to jihadists. Further, they tend to acknowledge that they do not operate alone but rather cooperate with multiple other groups. This is so despite the fact that the last two major offensives launched by rebel forces in Latakia province- summer 2013 (A’isha Mother of the Believers Battle) and spring 2014 (al-Anfal Battle)- were spearheaded by foreign jihadists, with the area having a reputation as a hangout for muhajireen.
The repeated calls for a new genocide of the Alawites and the importing of Wahhabi Uighur Turkish settlers into ethnically cleansed areas of Syria has inflamed ancient wounds few in the west understand. The project of establishing salafist Islamic law in Syria by latter day followers of Ibn Taymiyyah has the same ominous meaning to Syrian Shiites that the revival Nazism would to Jews and Slavs. Under salafist sharia they are all apostates to be slaughtered or sold into slavery. As the mass graves being uncovered in Sinjar demonstrate, the Wahhabists are deadly serious about this.