The Islamic State has released media after its conquest of the city of Palmyra. The jihadist group also seized Syria’s last border crossing with Iraq and is estimated to control half the country by SOHR. At least 65 civilians were executed by the Islamic State in northern Syria; 56 of them were Kurds. Al Nusrah and its allies took a hospital from regime forces in Jisr al-Shughour.
Malian government officials will sign a proposed peace deal without the cooperation of the main Tuareg-led rebel alliance. Pro-rebel demonstrators marched against the proposed peace deal in Kidal; fighting between the military, pro-governmet militias, and rebels has killed about 55 people in the past two weeks. The jihadist Al Mourabitoune group has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State.
The Interior Ministry announced that a special counter-terrorism unit arrested six individuals in possession of weapons and ammunition in Monastir. The Tunisian Foreign Minister “stressed … the importance of bolstering cooperation with Turkey, particularly with regards to military and security.” Tunisian forces increased security for an annual Jewish pilgrimage in Djerba in the wake of the terrorist attack in Bardo; the event passed without incident.
A new round of UN-backed peace talks has started in Geneva. The French president admitted to supplying Syrian rebels with weapons in 2012. At least two civilians were killed and dozens wounded when mortar rounds were fired into a neighborhood by “foreign-sponsored militants” in Aleppo. The Islamic State assaulted Kurdish forces in Hasakeh, killing at least 16, according to SOHR. Assad announced that he would send reinforcements to help troops besieged by Al Nusrah near Jisr al-Shughour in Idlib province. The US-led coalition has conducted one airstrike in Syria, near Al Hasakeh, since May 4.
Some of the women and girls recently rescued from Boko Haram by the Nigerian military say the jihadist group began brutally murdering captives as rescue forces neared. Local leaders in Plateau state accused the Nigerian military of murdering civilians and torching homes in revenge for the deaths of six soldiers killed by tribesmen. The military arrested a man accused of supplying food and fuel to Boko Haram in northeastern Nigeria.
The Tripoli-based Islamist faction rejected the UN’s peace proposal that included recognizing the rival internationally-recognized parliament as “the only legislative authority in the country.” The bodies of five Libyan journalists kidnapped eight months ago have been found near the city of Al Bayda, close to the site of their disappearance.
The Nigerian Army claimed that it rescued hundreds of kidnapped women and girls in the Sambisa Forest, a known Boko Haram stronghold. According to a spokesman, none of the girls were those kidnapped from Chibok over a year ago.
The US-led coalition conducted seven airstrikes in Syria between Apr. 21-22, one near Hasakah and six near Kobani. SOHR estimates that the US-led air campaign has killed 2,079 people, including 66 civilians, since its inception in September. A report claims that Al Nusrah’s Khorasan Group has regenerated after taking significant losses early in the Western air campaign. Fighting between Islamist rebels and the Islamic State north of Damascus left over 40 dead, with estimates of 30 rebels and 12 jihadists killed. Russia is arming both the Syrian regime and Iraq in the conflict with the Islamic State. The Islamic State has banned Nike clothing in Iraq and Syria and issued a list of forbidden words, including “‘bitch,’ ‘whore’ and ‘hussy’ as well as religious terms such as ‘vicar’ and ‘cross.'”
A driver was killed during an ambush on a UN peacekeeping supply convoy near Gao in northern Mali, marking the third attack on the UN mission in a week. Al Mourabitoun claimed responsibility for one of the previous attacks, a suicide bombing of a barracks in Ansongo that killed two civilians and wounded nine Nigerien peacekeepers on Apr. 15.
Fighting broke out in Tripoli between Libya Dawn and local forces, including one of the Islamist group’s factions, after accusations of support for the Libyan National Army. Pro-government forces conducted air strikes near Tripoli; a “security source” claimed that a missile battery was hit. A new round of peace talks backed by the UN began in Morocco. Russia has pledged to supply weapons to the Libyan government if a UN embargo is lifted.
A former Australian model who joined the Islamic State was reportedly killed fighting in Syria. Some Palestinian rebels are siding with the Assad regime to combat the Islamic State. A group of insurgents in southern Syria announced that they would not cooperate with the Al Nusrah Front. Human Rights Watch claims the Assad regime used chemical weapons in March. The US-led coalition conducted three airstrikes near Kobani, targeting “two ISIL tactical units … four ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle.”
Jihadists tied to the Islamic State claimed responsibility for a bomb attack at the gate of the Moroccan Embassy and an assault on South Korea’s mission in Tripoli, both on Apr. 13. New Libyan peace talks kicked off in neighboring Algeria. Jordan’s King Abdullah II met with Libyan General Khalifa Haftar and pledged his country’s support in confrontation with “terrorist organizations.” Ten individuals have been killed during a new round of fighting between pro-government forces and Islamist militias in Benghazi.
An interior ministry press release stated that one of the leaders of the “Katibat Abu Mariem” terrorist cell was arrested on Apr. 12, joining twenty of the group’s jihadists captured on Feb. 11. US ambassador in Tunis Jacob Walles said the US is planning to double military aid to Tunisia in order to support the country’s fight against terrorism.
Two Malian soldiers were killed and others wounded when their vehicle struck a landline near the town of Diabaly in central Mali. Norway, the Netherlands, Bahrain, Croatia, Mauritius, Andorra and Switzerland have pledged $3 million of the $11 million required to rebuild UNESCO World Heritage sites destroyed by jihadists in Timbuktu between March 2012 and January 2013.
Fourteen Palestinian factions support a joint military operation with the Assad regime to retake the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus from the Islamic State. The jihadist group is holding 50 civilians hostage after an attack on the village of Mabujeh on Mar. 31. Islamic State fighters killed 17 pro-regime personnel during attacks on checkpoints in Homs province. The jihadist group released images purportedly showing the brutal execution of a gay man in Homs. Peace talks in Moscow ended, failing to reach an agreement. The US-led coalition conducted seven airstrikes in Syria from Apr. 8-9; “Forces hit ISIS vehicles, a garrison, and fighting positions near Al Hasakah, Ar Raqqah and Kobani.”
The government placed a bounty on the heads of 11 members of Shabaab. A reward of $250,000 has been offered for the group’s leader, Ahmed Diriye.
A number of former military officers are reportedly joining Islamist insurgent groups. Mortar fire killed 11 civilians in North Sinai. The Islamist group Ajnad Misr confirmed the death of its leader in a firefight with security forces in Cairo. The US State Department approved the sale of Hellfire II air-to-ground missiles to Egypt.
Human Rights Watch criticized Tunisia’s new counterterrorism bill, stating it would “permit extended incommunicado detention, weaken due process guarantees for people charged with terrorism offenses, and allow the death penalty.” A fifth Tunisian soldier has died after an ambush near Kasserine on Apr. 7; the Ajnad al-Khilafa Bil Kairouan group claimed responsibility for the attack on social media.
Libya’s ambassador to the United States said that Libya would like US assistance in containing the Islamic State in Libya, but rejected the idea of a US-led bombing campaign. Interim prime minister al Thinni declared Egypt a strategic partner in the fight against terrorism. A suicide car bomb targeting a checkpoint into the city of Misrata killed six people and wounded 21.
International donors pledged $3.8 billion in aid at a conference in Kuwait; the figure is less than half of what the UN said is required to meet the country’s needs. The Islamic State killed more than 40 people, predominantly civilians, when it attacked the village of Mabuja in central Syria on Mar. 31. Canada’s House of Commons approved the country’s participation in air strikes on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Forty-six people were killed by two car bombs as crowds gathered for Kurdish Spring celebrations in the northeastern city of al-Hasakah.