Middle East

Islamic State crisis: UN aims to stop jihadist recruits

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Media captionBarack Obama: IS "must be degraded and then ultimately destroyed"

The UN Security Council has adopted a binding resolution compelling states to prevent their nationals joining jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

US President Barack Obama chaired the session and said nations must prevent the recruitment and financing of foreign fighters.

Meanwhile US and Arab jets bombed Islamic State (IS) targets in Syria for a third night, the US said.

Mr Obama urged global efforts to dismantle the IS "network of death".

The US-drafted resolution was adopted unanimously. It requires signatories to "prevent and suppress recruiting, organising, transporting, and equipping" of foreign fighters.

The latest air strikes targeted small-scale oil refineries controlled by IS, and which generate as much as $2m a day in revenue, the US military said late on Wednesday.

It said an initial assessment showed they had been successful.

The US launched air raids against IS militants in Iraq last month and on Monday expanded the strikes into Syria, with the participation of Gulf Arab allies.

Call to action

Speaking at the UN, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the UK was ready to "play its part" in fighting Islamic State, which he called an "evil against which the whole world must unite".

Image copyright YouTube
Image caption A new IS video purportedly shows new recruits
Image caption Note: figures do not take into account for those who may have left the region or died during fighting

He told the UN council session that the Iraq and Syria conflicts were attracting young recruits from prosperous countries.

The UK Parliament will be recalled on Friday to discuss Britain's possible role in air strikes on IS targets.

Mr Obama said "the words spoken here today must be matched and translated into action... within nations and between them, not just in the days ahead but for years to come".

In his earlier speech to the UN General Assembly he condemned IS, saying "there can be no reasoning - no negotiation - with this brand of evil".

More than 40 countries had offered to join the anti-IS coalition, he said.

IS aims to set up a hardline caliphate. The well-armed Sunni Muslim militants have seized a huge swathe of Syria and Iraq, forcing whole communities to flee in terror. They have beheaded Western hostages and have persecuted Christians, Yazidis and Shia Muslims, whom they treat as heretics.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption IS fighters have seized large areas in Iraq and Syria and declared a caliphate
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Oilfields in northern Syria used to be a major source of income for the government

Meanwhile, more than 120 Islamic scholars signed an open letter to IS, condemning its ideology.

Muzammil Siddiqi, one of signatories and chairman of the Fiqh Council of North America, which interprets Islamic religious law, said: "It is forbidden in Islam to kill the innocent."

"It is forbidden in Islam to kill emissaries, ambassadors and diplomats. Hence, it is forbidden to kill the journalists and aid workers."

At the UN, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the international community of not doing enough to help his country stem the flow of foreign fighters into Syria.

He told the Security Council said the fighters' home countries should co-operate better with Turkey to stop them getting through.

Image copyright AP
Image caption The advance of IS militants has forced whole communities to flee
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Buildings in Raqqa were damaged by the US-led air strikes in Syria

The IS advance has created a refugee crisis in Turkey. Aid agencies said some 130,000 Kurdish refugees, most of them from Kobane, crossed into Turkey at the weekend.

The US has launched nearly 200 air strikes against IS in Iraq since August.

The US said Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain and Qatar had all "participated in or supported" the strikes on IS in Syria this week.

The strikes on Tuesday also targeted Khorasan, a shadowy group of al-Qaeda fighters in Syria's Aleppo province. The US military says it is investigating whether the attack killed Khorasan's leader Mohsin al-Fadhli.

The Dutch government says it will deploy six F-16 fighter jets to join the US-led air campaign. The Netherlands will also send about 130 military trainers to Iraq.


Who are Islamic State (IS)?

  • Formed out of al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) in 2013, IS first captured Raqqa in eastern Syria
  • It captured broad swathes of Iraq in June, including Mosul, and declared a "caliphate" in areas it controls in Syria and Iraq
  • Pursuing an extreme form of Sunni Islam, IS has persecuted non-Muslims such as Yazidis and Christians, as well as Shia Muslims, whom it regards as heretics
  • Known for its brutal tactics, including beheadings of soldiers, Western journalists and aid workers
  • The CIA says the group could have as many as 31,000 fighters in Iraq and Syria
  • The US has been launching air strikes on IS targets in north-eastern Iraq since mid-August

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