No announcement yet.

Insurgents Seize 5 Towns Near Syria

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Insurgents Seize 5 Towns Near Syria



    San Francisco Chronicle
    September 27, 2005
    Pg. 1

    Insurgents Seize 5 Towns Near Syria

    Militants loyal to al-Zarqawi tell residents in 'death letters' to abandon their homes

    By Anna Badkhen, Chronicle Staff Writer

    Camp al Qaim, Iraq -- A senior U.S. Marine commander said Monday that insurgents loyal to militant leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had taken over at least five key western Iraqi towns on the border with Syria and were forcing local residents to flee.

    In an interview with The Chronicle, Lt. Col. Julian Alford, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines Regiment stationed outside the western Iraqi town of al Qaim, said insurgents in the area had been distributing flyers they called "death letters," in which they ordered residents of this western corner of volatile Anbar province to leave -- or face death.

    "Basically, the insurgents say if they don't leave they will ... behead them," said Alford, who took command this month of about 1,000 Marines stationed in the dusty desert area populated by roughly 100,000 Sunni Arabs.

    "It appears that al Qaeda in Iraq is kicking out local people from a lot of these towns out there," he said. Alford said he did not know why the insurgents were forcing townspeople to leave, but he estimated that as many as 100 families per day were passing through a Marine checkpoint just east of the troubled area, their cars packed with their belongings as they flee east alongside the Euphrates River on the ancient Silk Road.

    Two weeks ago, Marine spokesmen denied initial reports that insurgents had taken control of the area and were enforcing strict Islamic law, whipping men accused of drinking alcohol, burning a beauty parlor and shops that sold CDs and executing government workers for collaboration with the Iraqi government.

    But Alford told The Chronicle that fighters linked to al-Zarqawi had been in complete control of these ancient smuggling communities for at least the past month, and that neither U.S. nor Iraqi forces held any sway over the swath of land that abuts Iraq's desolate, porous 450-mile border with Syria. Washington has repeatedly accused Syria of providing a safe transit route for foreign fighters headed for Iraq.

    He estimated that between 300 and 400 insurgents were operating in the area. Most of them, he said, are foreign fighters who have crossed into Iraq through the border with Syria.

    "For the time being, they run these towns," Alford said.

    He said he could not confirm reports that insurgents had been executing suspected American sympathizers.

    "We have seen a number of extra graves when we fly over in a helicopter, usually after we have killed" insurgents, he said.

    Marine units stationed outside al Qaim and four neighboring towns perched along the Euphrates River -- Dulaym al Husayba, Karabila, Sada to the west of al Qaim, and Al Ubaydi to the northeast -- do not venture into these towns, Alford said. Insurgents open fire at any Marine patrol that approaches the town lines. No Iraqi soldiers or police officers operate inside the towns.

    Marine units patrolling close to town limits "have seen a lot of guys in black pajamas and black ski masks and with weapons, and we've killed a number of them," Alford said.

    Insurgent forces have in the past controlled major towns in Iraq, especially in the so-called Sunni triangle north and west of Baghdad, including Fallujah, Ramadi and, most recently, Haditha.

    Alford believes that intensive attacks by U.S. forces on their strongholds in Ramadi and Fallujah, two Euphrates River cities, respectively, 120 and 140 miles downstream from al Qaim, has pushed fighters west toward the border with Syria. In the border area surrounding al Qaim, he said, "they found their last foothold."

    Alford said he was expecting to launch a joint offensive against the insurgents holed up in al Qaim and the surrounding towns after the arrival of about 3,000 Iraqi soldiers in the area. He did not say when the Iraqi troops were scheduled to arrive, saying only that it would be "soon."

    "They're dangerous, and they're extremely adaptive, but they can't beat us and the Iraqi army," he said.

    Alford said he wanted to make the area safe enough to set up polling stations ahead of the Oct. 15 referendum on the new Iraqi constitution.

    Also, he said, insurgents have posted signs across the area warning residents not to participate in the referendum. Having areas where insurgents intimidate thousands of people against voting in the referendum significantly undermines the desperate attempts by the United States to engage Iraq's disenfranchised Sunni Arabs in the nation's political process. [/b][/quote]
    Your friends list is empty

  • #2
    No problem. Let them kick out all the good people. Then we can bomb the shit out of them without worrying about killing innocent people.

    Official sponsor of Mike Shannon's Retirement Party


    • #3
      2 words:

      Tactical Nukes.

      Then "accidentally" drop a non-tactical nuke somewhere in Syria.

      Then apologize to make it better.


      • #4
        Sounds like a job for Rouge Squadron!
        Wedge, you can be my wingman anytime - Luke Skywalker

        No, Skywalker, you can be mine....


        • #5
          This is fine and dandy. Let them concentrate in a few easily-defined areas. Then we'll show them, again, that "first world army" is not the same level of capability as "fanatics with guns".

          Gather together, boys. Once you turn this into a battle as opposed to a police operation, you're going to get your Allah-praising asses handed to you.


          • #6
            I'm loving the irony that this was posted by Infidel.


            Official Lounge sponsor of Chris Pronger & Alex Pietrangelo