According to Reuters, the United Kingdom has authorized “spy planes and armed drones to fly surveillance missions over Syria.” London’s statement that it would send Reaper drones and Rivet Joint surveillance aircraft to the embattled Middle Eastern country came soon after Turkey’s announcement on Monday that it would allow “Iraqi Kurdish fighters to reinforce fellow Kurds in the Syrian town of Kobani.” The Wall Street Journal and McClatchy report that the shift by Ankara came in response “to US pressure” and is “a striking reversal for a country that had considered those fighters its enemy.”
Still, all is not settled. The BBC reports that “fierce fighting” has erupted to the north of Kobani “after two days of relative calm,” driving speculation that ISIS is making a strong push to take the city before the arrival of peshmerga reinforcements. The New York Times has more on the rapidly-evolving situation, and the Washington Post provides several satellite photos of the struggle being waged in and around the city. The United States Central Command released a summary of recent military actions in the area, which include six airstrikes that destroyed ISIS fighting and mortar positions, an ISIS vehicle, and a stray resupply bundle, preventing it from falling into militant hands.
Liz Sly of the Washington Post reports on earlier failed tribal revolts against ISIS, including one that left 700 civilians dead. She argues that Western silence over ISIS’s brutal response may obstruct efforts to persuade those living under Islamic State rule “to join the fight against the jihadist group.”
And just for good measure, Syrian rebels claim Bashar al Assad’s forces are still using chemical weapons to kill civilians. FT has more.
According to the Hill, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said on Monday that “there is no evidence” that ISIS “has acquired warplanes or pilots capable of flying them.”
David Kenner of Foreign Policy analyzes the on-going struggles plaguing moderate Syrian rebel organizations, including a “lack of funds and a crippling distrust among the exiled anti-Assad forces.”
In Iraq, ISIS militants seized two Yazidi villages on Monday as they continued a recent advance towards Mount Sinjar. The resurgence by Islamist forces in the region “strike an embarrassing blow to the international campaign against the" group, especially since President Obama authorized targeted airstrikes in August to “address the plight of thousands of Yazidis” trapped in the area.
The Wall Street Journal reports on the militant group’s alarming rise in popularity among the 27% of the Lebanese population that is Sunni.
At the Huffington Post, Ronald Tiersky analyzes the importance of the Caliphate and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi to the militant group, and poses the question as to whether leadership targeting of ISIS would do critical damage to the group.
The New York Times reports that 40 people were killed in Iraq yesterday after militants set off a quadruple car bombing near two of Baghdad’s holiest shrines for Shiite Islam and a suicide attack inside a mosque. While no group has taken responsibility for the attack, suspicion immediately fell on the Islamic State, which has ramped up car bombs and suicide attacks in recent weeks.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pledged continued support to the Iraqi government yesterday, telling visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al Abadi that Iran has supported Baghdad “from the first day and will remain on that path until the last day.” The statement came during Abadi’s first foreign visit, in which he said that “choosing Iran as my first destination after taking office indicates the depths of ties.” The New York Times has more.
Finally, Mike Brunker of NBC News has published a map of Americans and U.S. residents who have allegedly sought to join Islamist groups in Iraq or Syria: