ISIS’ First Bombing of Syrian Kurds – A Turning Point in War on Islamic Terror

Syria’s Kurds have been given their first taste of dire Islamic State punishment in two years. On July 27, twin suicide bombers slew 44 people and injured scores on the western outskirts of Qamishli in northern Syria.
They first detonated a truck loaded with explosives against a crowd, following up a few minutes later by blowing up an explosives-packed motorcycle. The damage caused was extensive. Rescue teams are still working to rescue survivors from the rubble.
Qamishli, near the Turkish border, is mainly populated by Kurds, but Syrian government forces are also present and control the town’s airport.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. It is unclear why ISIS has largely abstained from terror attacks on Kurds in Syria and Iraq since their last suicide attack on the Syrian minority in 2014.
Military agencies tracking the war in Syria and Iraq have told DEBKA Weekly’s intelligence sources that the Kurds bought their immunity by making themselves the jihadists’ primary suppliers of weapons and ammunition, defying all American efforts to stop the trafficking.
The traffickers are also out of the control of the security authorities of the autonomous Kurdish Republic of Iraq (KRG) or the Kurdish PYD-YPG militia forces of Qamishli and Hasake, the two main Kurdish centers in Syria.
Furthermore, most of the oil ISIS pirates from captured Syrian and Iraqi fields is transported to its destination by tanker convoys that transit Kurdish land and are driven by Kurdish drivers.
Five months ago, both the US and Russia quietly discontinued air strikes against these convoys after the heads of the Kurdish forces fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq warned them that the bombing raids were also hitting the homes of their troops and officers, who are spearheading the ground war on ISIS, and they were threatening to mutiny and lay down arms.
Kurdish involvement also led to the suspension of the US raids that were conducted against ISIS financial managers and assets in the first four months of 2016. ISIS learned its lesson and transferred its financial management and cash reserves to Kurdish businessmen, who are not targeted by the Americans.
The vehicles used by ISIS, mostly 4X4, to transport troops between combat arenas, are likewise supplied by Kurdish car dealers who deliver them at preassigned spots in Syria and Iraq.
These Kurdish arms and money traders, haulage companies and car dealers are therefore in possession of detailed data on the types and quantities of arms, money, vehicles and oil procured and used by ISIS. All this could yield priceless strategic intelligence – except that these Kurdish businessmen refuse to part with the information, maintaining they can’t bite the hand that feeds them.
So what impelled ISIS to unleash its suicide bombers against the Kurds in Syria this week?
DEBKA Weekly’s military sources offer two possible answers:
1. The Islamic State may have found replacements for the Kurds in other parts of the Syrian or Iraqi populations for performing the same logistic services.
2. ISIS is giving the Kurds of Syria and Iraq due warning to stay out of the offensives which the US plans to launch on its centers in Mosul and Raqqa, lest suicide bombers are sent out to devastate the main Kurdish towns of Kirkuk and Irbil in Iraq and Qamishli and Hasake in Syria.
The US and the Iraqi army are concentrating 20,000 Kurdish Peshmerga soldiers near Mosul for the forthcoming assault. In Syria, Kurdish YPG forces have advanced on Suluk, some 70km north of Raqqa.
It remains to be seen how their leaders react to the deadly ISIS warning.

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