The Islamic State is bragging that a young boy has died fighting for its cause.
Islamic State militants and sympathisers are triumphantly circulating images of a 10-year-old boy they claim has been ‘martyred’ while fighting alongside his father in Syria.
Describing the child as ISIS’ youngest jihadist, chilling photographs taken before his alleged death show him smiling at the camera, wearing military fatigues and brandishing a huge assault rifle.
ISIS sympathisers took to social media to identify the ‘cub fighter’ by his alleged nom de guerre Abu Ubaidah, adding that both he and his father were killed during clashes in Syria in recent weeks, but not specifying exactly where they died or who they had been fighting against.
Several images, which have not been independently verified, emerged on social media this week after a video reporting the deaths of the boy and his father was uploaded to YouTube in September.
The original video – distributed by the pro-Isis media group Al-A’amaq – is understood to have since been removed, but a number of photographs of the boy have since been widely shared by ISIS militants and their sympathisers on social media.
Kobane, Syria has yet to fall. A handful of allied airstrikes over the past couple of days have helped keep the city out of ISIS hands, according to reporter Jenan Moussa, who is tweeting from about 4 kilometers inside Turkey, near Kobane.
She spends nearly as much of her time debunking her fellow reporters as she spend reporting on the battle.
Sorry I have to say this again. Weird those journalists who wear flak jackets just to go on air then take it off moment they are done.
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) October 9, 2014
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) October 9, 2014
Turkey has placed tanks in its territory near Kobane, but so far it has not engaged in the battle. That is frustrating US leaders.
Islamic State fighters were battling outgunned Kurdish fighters in the heart of Kobane on Thursday as the Pentagon warned that U.S. airstrikes alone will not save the Syrian border town from being overrun by the militants.
The fresh push came amid rising tensions between the Obama administration and Turkey, a NATO ally, over who should take responsibility for helping to save the town.
The Islamic State made gains overnight despite stepped-up American airstrikes over the past three days, and senior senior administration officials expressed growing exasperation with Turkey’s refusal to intervene, either with its own military or with direct assistance to Syrian Kurdish fighters battling the militants.
“Of course they could do more,” a senior official said. “They want the U.S. to come in and take care of the problem.” The administration would also like Turkey to be more zealous in preventing foreigners from transiting its territory to join the Syrian militants.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu countered on Thursday that a unilateral ground operation by Turkish troops also would not be enough to halt the militants’ advance.
It also may not be welcomed by Kurds on the ground around Kobane.
A: Kurds I spoke to in border area dont want Turkish army in #Kobane. Kurdish official told me: “Turkish boots on the ground is occupation”
— Jenan Moussa (@jenanmoussa) October 8, 2014
As the battle rages on, President Obama is showing that brand of leadership that fails to reassure anyone.
“Our strikes continue alongside our partners. It remains a difficult mission,” Obama said. “As I’ve indicated from the start, this is not something that is going to be solved overnight.”
Obama said the good news was “that there is a broad-based consensus not just in the region but among nations of the world that ISIL (another acronym for ISIS) is a threat to world peace, security and order, that their barbaric behavior has to be dealt with.”
He just refuses to be the one to deal with it decisively.
President Obama has held up Yemen as a successful cast of counterterrorism, when describing what he believes ought to be done about ISIS.
SAN’A, Yemen—Two suicide bombers struck in Yemen on Thursday—one targeting a gathering of Shiite rebels in the country’s capital and the other hitting a military outpost in the south—in attacks that killed nearly 70 people, officials said.
The bombings underscored Yemen’s highly volatile situation following last month’s takeover of the capital, San’a, by the Shiite Houthi rebels, whose blitz surprised the impoverished Arab nation on the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. The Houthis’ push into San’a also prompted threats of retaliation from their Sunni militant foes in al Qaeda’s Yemen branch.
If Yemen is the model for successful counterterrorism, then the Islamic State is here to stay.