Daesh devilry at new low
Daesh devilry at new low
The announcement came in the latest issue of the terror group’s English-language magazine, Dabiq, distributed on Twitter. In the case of each man, it published an “advertisement” announcing that he was “for sale.”
Under each man’s photograph, it says: “To whom it may concern of the Crusaders, pagans, and their allies, as well as what are referred to as human ‘rights’ organizations, this prisoner was abandoned by his government, which did not do its utmost to purchase his freedom.”
At the bottom it said: “Whoever would like to pay the ransom for his release and transfer can contact the following telegram number,” adding that this is a “limited time offer.”
Fan of Norse mythology
The Norwegian being hostage was a graduate student in political philosophy whose Facebook feed shows a long-held interest in Middle East conflicts and Norse mythology.
Ole Johan Grimsgaard-Ofstad’s last communicated via his Facebook page on Jan. 24, announcing he had “finally made it” to Syria and was on his way to Hama. His prolific posting subsequently stopped.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende confirmed Thursday that the 48-year-old had been held since January, and that a picture shown in the latest issue of the militants’ online magazine Dabiq, showing Grimsgaard-Ofstad in a yellow jumpsuit was believed to be recent.
The magazine lists a telegram number for “whoever would like to pay the ransom for his release and transfer.”
“Based on our analysis of the image published, and the information we have, it is our assessment that the photo was taken during the last month,” said Brende. “We are working on the basis that he is still alive.”
Norwegian officials dismissed questions about why Grimsgaard-Ofstad went to Syria, saying it was not for them to speculate on the reasons.
On Wednesday, Norwegian Prime Minister, Erna Solberg said Norway “cannot and will not succumb to pressure from terrorists and criminals. Norway does not pay ransoms.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Thursday that authorities are still verifying the identity of the Chinese hostage.
But the Sohu news portal identified the man as Fan Jinghui, who worked in advertising and TV production and describes himself as a free spirit and reader of Greek philosophy. Fan was interviewed in 2001 by China National Radio as part of a feature about people without fixed careers.
“I love reading about the history of science,” Fan said in the interview at the time. “And the ancient Greek great philosophers’ pure spiritual pursuit of freedom really gave me a jolt. That great spirit can be seen as the powerful motive for me to go after freedom.”
Macron and Merkel warn of ‘humanitarian risks’ in Idlib
- US-backed forces had repelled a raid by Daesh targeting barracks housing American and French troops in eastern Syria
- Daesh overran large swaths of Syria and Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” in territory it controlled
French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced concern Friday about the humanitarian situation in the opposition-held Syrian region of Idlib, which is shaping up be the country’s next big battleground.
In a telephone call the two leaders described the “humanitarian risks” in Idlib, where regime forces have stepped up their bombardments of opposition positions in recent days, as “very high,” according to the French presidency.
They also called for an “inclusive political process to allow lasting peace in the region.”
President Bashar Assad has set his sights on retaking control of the northwestern province of Idlib — the biggest area still in opposition hands after seven years of war.
Last week, regime helicopters dropped leaflets over towns in Idlib’s east, urging people to surrender.
Idlib, which sits between Syria’s Mediterranean coast and the second city Aleppo, has been a landing point for thousands of civilians and rebel fighters and their families as part of deals struck with the regime following successive regime victories.
The UN has called for talks to avert “a civilian bloodbath” in the northern province, which borders Turkey.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said US-backed forces had repelled a raid by Daesh targeting barracks housing American and French troops in eastern Syria.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the US-led coalition supporting them were on high alert after the raid late on Friday at the Omar oil field in the eastern province of Deir Ezzor, the Britain-based war monitor said.
“The attack targeted the oil field’s housing, where US-led coalition forces and leaders of the Syrian Democratic Forces are present,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.
Seven terrorists were killed in the attack, which ended at dawn after clashes near the barracks, he added.
Contacted by AFP, neither the US-led coalition nor the Kurdish-led SDF were immediately available for comment.
In October last year, the SDF took control of the Omar oil field, one of the largest in Syria, which according to The Syria Report economic weekly had a pre-war output of 30,000 barrels per day. “It’s the largest attack of its kind since the oil field was turned into a coalition base” following its capture by the SDF, Abdel Rahman said.
Daesh overran large swaths of Syria and Iraq in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” in territory it controlled.
But the terrorist group has since lost nearly all of it to multiple offensives in both countries.
In Syria, two separate campaigns — by the US-backed SDF and by the Russia-supported regime — have reduced Daesh’s presence to pockets in Deir Ezzor and in the vast desert that lies between it and the capital.