VLADIMIR PUTIN bombs Islamic terrorists in Syria while Barack Hussein Obama pulls America’s last aircraft carrier out of the Persian Gulf

As Russian warships rain down cruise missiles as part of its military strike in Syria, there’s now a glaring absence in the region: For the first time since 2007, the U.S. Navy has no aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt — a massive, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier — has had a central role in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria since August 2014, when the U.S.-led coalition started bombing the Islamist extremists.

NBC News  Military officials said Thursday that they’ve pulled the USS Theodore Roosevelt, which is home to about 5,000 service members and 65 combat planes, so that it can undergo ‘maintenance.’ (Yeah, sure) The ship officially exited the gulf around 11 p.m. ET.

The lack of a U.S. presence in the gulf comes as Russia is escalating its actions in the region and began pounding targets in Syria last week with airstrikes. Russian officials say they’re trying to obliterate ISIS, although the U.S. and its allies say they’re instead hitting rebel fighters who oppose Syrian President Bashar Assad, a Russian ally. (Yes, that too)

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Russia remains a wild card in the region — and the absence of an American aircraft carrier is being noticed, said Peter Daly, a retired Navy vice admiral and CEO of the U.S. Naval Institute. “The most important thing you need a carrier for is for what you don’t know is going to happen next,” Daly told NBC News.

That was especially important during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when the Navy often had two carriers operating in the region. The combat planes can fly into war zones and generally act as a show of force to Iran and other nations during tense standoffs.

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The USS Theodore Roosevelt — a massive, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier — has had a central role in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria since August 2014, when the U.S.-led coalition started bombing the Islamist extremists.

A Navy official told Washington lawmakers in July that the lack of a carrier was imminent — and could potentially hamstring operations. “Without that carrier, there will be a detriment to our capability there,” Adm. John Richardson said during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, prior to his confirmation in the Navy’s top post.

Russian Air Force destroys 29 ISIS camps in Syria in 24 hours 

Russian warplanes in Syria have bombed 29 terrorist field camps and other facilities of the militant group Islamic State in the past 24 hours, the Russian Defense Ministry reported.

Our aviation group over the past day has destroyed two militant command centers, 29 field camps, 23 fortified facilities and several troop positions with military hardware,” ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Saturday.

The Russian Air Force conducted 64 sorties and hit a total of 55 targets, he said.

He added that the Russian effort has “considerably degraded” the strength of the terrorist forces in Syria.

During the initial phase of the operation, our warplanes have destroyed the biggest and most important supply hubs of ISIL,” Konashenkov said, calling Islamic State by its former name. This resulted in the “mobility and offensive capability” of the jihadists being reduced, he said.

The general said signal intelligence reports indicate that the militants are suffering from a shortage of fuel and ammunition after the Russian bombings. “Some of them are demoralized and are actively leaving the battle zone, moving in eastern and northeastern directions,” he said.

Konashenkov said that the increasing number of combat missions conducted by Russia in Syria is explained by the large number of potential targets identified and confirmed as viable by space and aerial reconnaissance.

Russia started its bombing campaign in Syria last week with a goal to provide air support to the government troops fighting against various terrorist groups, primarily Islamic State. This allowed Damascus to go on the offensive in Hama province on Friday.

Russia has also reported killing 2 ISIS commanders, and three hundred militants.

 

Airstrikes Hit ISIL Terrorists in Syria, Iraq > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Been a While!

Airstrikes Hit ISIL in Syria, Iraq > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE. More Dead Muslims!

SOUTHWEST ASIA, October 6, 2015 — U.S. and coalition military forces have continued to attack Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant terrorists in Syria and Iraq, Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve officials reported today.

Officials reported details of the latest strikes, noting that assessments of results are based on initial reports.

Airstrikes in Syria

Bomber, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted seven strikes in Syria:

— Near Hasakah, five strikes struck four separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle-borne improvised explosive device, five ISIL buildings, and an ISIL checkpoint.

Near Dayr Az Zawr, one strike struck an ISIL crude oil collection point.

Near Manbij, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building.

Airstrikes in Iraq

Bomber, fighter, attack, fighter-attack, ground-attack, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 17 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the government of Iraq:

— Near Huwayjah, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

— Near Habbaniyah, one strike destroyed an ISIL weapons cache.

— Near Mosul, One ISIL fighter Rear Mounted to a Donkey was destroyed.

— Near Mosul, one strike destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle.

— Near Ramadi, nine strikes struck six separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL vehicle-borne bomb, four ISIL buildings, ten ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL excavator, two ISIL mortar positions, an ISIL improvised explosive device compound, three ISIL homemade explosive facilities, an ISIL house bomb, an ISIL homemade explosive cache, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

— Near Sinjar, two strikes destroyed six ISIL bunkers.

— Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

France launches first airstrikes against ISIS in Syria – CNN.com

(CNN)The French military has carried out its first airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, according to a statement from the office of France’s presidency.

The country had announced earlier this month that it would expand its aerial campaign against ISIS in Iraq — which it began a year ago — to include the militant group’s positions in Syria.

The French president’s office said that the strikes in Syria, which began Sunday, were based on intelligence gathered from air surveillance operations conducted over Syria during the past two weeks.

“Our country confirms its firm commitment to the fight against the terrorist threat Daesh,” the statement said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS. “We will strike whenever our national security is at stake.”

President Francois Hollande, speaking on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, described the camp as a “threat to our country.”

“We reached our goal and the whole training camp was destroyed,” Hollande said.

Six aircraft were used in the mission, which was led by the French but closely coordinated with the U.S.-led coalition, he said.

Despite the “horrible acts” committed by ISIS, Hollande placed the blame for the Syrian crisis on the country’s long time strongman Bashar al-Assad.

“Bashar al Assad is the main person at fault, although Daesh commits horrible acts,” Hollande said. “The future of Syria cannot happen with Bashar al Assad.”

String of terrorist attacks

France has been the site of a number of terrorist attacks this year.

Islamic extremists killed 17 people in a quick succession of attacks in Paris in January, including the shooting deaths of staff members in the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

In June, authorities said a man in southeastern France decapitated his boss, displayed the severed head with Islamist banners and also set off an explosion in a factory. And last month, three American men brought down a suspected terrorist gunman who tried to open fire on a train bound for France.

But France has also linked the refugee crisis Europe is facing in part to ISIS, saying it would strike the group for driving thousands of civilians out of Syria. “We’re not going to receive 4 to 5 million Syrians, so the problem has to be dealt with at source,” French Prime Minister Manuel Valls told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

France has been in talks with Russia about a political solution in Syria.

“Russia supports the regime of Bashar (al) Assad. But it also wants to find a political solution. And anyway, there will not be any political solution without a dialogue with all of the parties who directly or indirectly are involved with Syria,” Valls said.

France also planned to hold talks about Syria with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

 

Report: A former physics teacher is now leading ISIS 

A former physics teacher from Mosul has been installed as a new temporary leader for the Islamic State after the terror group’s leader was reportedly injured in an airstrike in March, an Iraqi government adviser told Newsweek.

Newsweek describes Abu Alaa Afri as a “rising star” within Islamic State (also known as ISIS, ISIL, and Daesh), and the Iraqi government adviser, Hisham al Hashimi, said Afri had become even more important than the injured “caliph” of ISIS, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“More important, and smarter, and with better relationships. He is a good public speaker and strong charisma,” Hashimi told Newsweek. “All the leaders of Daesh find that he has much jihadi wisdom, and good capability at leadership and administration.”

Afri will become ISIS’ new permanent leader if Baghdadi dies, Hashimi said. He is reportedly a follower of Abu Musaab al-Suri, a prominent jihadi scholar, and used to teach physics in the northwestern Iraqi city of Tal Afar.

Having a caliph with a background of religious education is important to ISIS, which has shaped its self-proclaimed caliphate around a strict interpretation of sharia law. The group recruits people to come live in its territory by marketing it as an Islamic utopia.

Der Spiegel reported recently that early leaders of ISIS, many of whom are former Iraqi intelligence officers from ousted dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime, decided to make Baghdadi caliph because he, as an “educated cleric,” would “give the group a religious face.”

Afri reportedly became Baghdadi’s right-hand man after Baghdadi took a step back from decision-making for security reasons, Newsweek reports. He has served as a link between ISIS’ top leaders and its lower ranks and helps with coordination between the upper ranks and the emirs in different regional provinces.

Osama bin Laden reportedly tapped Afri to run Al Qaeda in Iraq, ISIS’ predecessor, after the death of senior officials in 2010, according to Newsweek. Afri became a senior member of the group and was known to be “very strict,” Hashimi said.

Newsweek reports that Afri is thought to desire reconciliation with Al Qaeda and its affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, also known as Nusra Front, a chief rival of ISIS in Syria.

ISIS used to be aligned with Al Qaeda, but Al Qaeda leadership denounced ISIS after the group defied its directives and continued releasing brutal propaganda. The two terror groups have been competing for territory in Syria since then, and Western airstrikes targeting ISIS in Syria have hurt that group while allowing Nusra to rise, the Associated Press reported last month.

ISIS Control Pentagon MapUS Department of Defense

And Nusra has faced pressure from its members to reconcile with ISIS so the two groups can join together to fight a common enemy: the West.

The Pentagon reported earlier this month that ISIS had since August lost thousands of miles of territory it once controlled, though nearly all of that lost territory is in Iraq, not Syria.

Afri also reportedly wants ISIS leadership to be made up half of Arabs and half of foreign fighters, which is a departure from its current structure.

The Washington Post reported earlier this month that nearly all of ISIS’ leaders were former Iraqi officers, not foreign fighters. The foreign fighters have proved valuable for ISIS’ media strategy — the group used the now-infamous “Jihadi John,” a British extremist, in some of its beheading videos to gain more attention from the West — but seem to have so far been kept out of the upper echelons of leadership.

ISIS’ leaders operate largely in the shadows. Since rising to power as the leader of ISIS, Baghdadi has rarely appeared on video, and few photos of him have been released.

The Pentagon has denied reports of Baghdadi’s injury. US defense officials told The Daily Beast that the airstrike that reportedly wounded him was not aimed at a high-value target and that they “have no reason to believe it was Baghdadi.”

Martin Chulov at The Guardian reported that the strike targeted multiple cars in the town of Baaj in northwestern Iraq and that officials didn’t know that Baghdadi was in one of the cars.

Syrian regime air strikes kill 38 IS fighters: monitor – 8 Hours Ago

Beirut (AFP) – At least 38 Islamic State group fighters were killed in airstrikes by the Damascus regime against three jihadist-held towns in central Syria, a monitoring group said on Tuesday.

Monday’s strikes hit Palmyra and two other towns in Homs province, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP.

The Syrian air force has been increasing its strikes against IS in recent days as it received reinforcements from Russia, he said.

“The number of raids is growing and the strikes are more precise after the Syrian air force received arms and more efficient planes from Moscow,” said Abdel Rahman, whose group relies on broad network of civilian, military and medical sources inside Syria.

Experts close to the regime have told AFP that Russia has sent advisers to train Syrian troops in the new weapons, in particular short-range air defence systems and tanks.

US military officials told AFP on Monday that Russia had deployed 28 combat planes in Syria, in the latest move in Moscow’s increasing military presence in the war-torn country.

Washington in recent weeks has expressed growing concern over Russia’s moves to support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and warned that military backing for his regime risks further hampering efforts at bringing peace.

Moscow has been on a diplomatic push to get the coalition of Western and regional powers fighting IS in Syria to join forces with Assad against the jihadists.