20 Jan 17. U.S. Airstrike Kills More Than 100 al-Qaida Fighters in Syria. A precision airstrike conducted yesterday by manned and unmanned U.S. aircraft against a training camp in Syria’s Idlib province killed more than 100 al-Qaida fighters, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said today.
In a statement, Davis said the Shaykh Sulayman training camp had been operational since at least 2013.
“The removal of this training camp disrupts training operations and discourages hardline Islamist and Syrian opposition groups from joining or cooperating with al-Qaida on the battlefield,” he said.
U.S. strikes have killed more than 150 al-Qaida terrorists since Jan. 1, Davis said, including:
— Mohammad Habib Boussadoun al-Tunisi, an external operations leader, killed Jan. 17;
— Abd al-Jalil al-Muslimi, a facilitator associated with a network plotting terror attacks in the west, killed Jan. 12; and
— Abu Hasan al-Taftanaz, an al-Qaida senior leader, killed Jan. 6.
“These strikes, conducted in quick succession, degrade al-Qaida’s capabilities, weaken their resolve, and cause confusion in their ranks,” Davis said. “We will continue to exert unrelenting pressure to defeat violent extremist groups across the globe.”
20 Jan 17. Russia, Syria sign agreement on expanding Tartus naval base. Russia and Syria have signed an agreement on expanding and modernising Russia’s Tartus naval base in Syria, a Russian government document showed. The agreement envisages that 11 Russian warships can be located in the Tartus base at one time, the document showed. (Source: Reuters)
20 Jan 17. ECOWAS forces gear up for Gambia intervention. Forces from at least three of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are preparing to launch a military intervention to oust The Gambia’s former president Yahya Jammeh after he rejected a 19 January ultimatum to stand aside for his democratically elected successor. ECOWAS troops are expected to enter The Gambia on 23 January, unless a last-minute round of negotiations convinces Jammeh to step down peacefully, an African military source told IHS Jane’s. The Senegalese military released a statement on 19 January saying that the ECOWAS Mission in The Gambia (ECOMIG) is under the command of its Major General Francoise Ndiaye and would involve land, air, and naval forces, without specifying what units would be involved. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
19 Jan 17. New Indonesian Air Force Chief of Staff Gives the Go-Ahead for Replacement of F-5E/F Tiger II. The new Indonesian Air Force Chief of Staff, Air Marshal TNI Hadi Tjahjanto, said he will prioritize transparency when purchasing weapons and military equipment to ensure their safe operation.
“The initial step is to have a transparent purchasing program for weapons and other military equipment. I believe that this can ensure safety and help to avoid accidents,” Tjahjanto said on Wednesday.
He added that he will directly monitor the Indonesian Air Force’s purchasing process, and that good management of both military equipment and vehicle operation can minimize the probability of accidents.
Tjahjanto also stated that the country’s air fleet will be upgraded by 2024 in accordance to the national strategic plan. The obsolete F-5E/F Tiger II jet fighter fleet is included in Tjahjanto’s plan and will be replaced with new model of state-of-the-art fighter aircraft.
“According to the strategic plan, we are looking to replace the F-5 Tiger after the jets have been grounded for at least a year. The Air Force is still looking for a potential replacement.”
There are several candidates as the replacement of F-5E/F Tiger II, namely JAS39 Gripen (Sweden), Sukhoi Su-35 (Russia), F-16 Block 60 Viper (US), and Eurofighter Typhoon (Airbus-Europe). It was Saab AB as the manufacturer of JAS39 Gripen who openly and transparently detailed transfer of technology and acquisition scheme from the very beginning.
He also stated the Air Force will incre