• A Syrian opposition figure who says he controls 3,000 Arab fighters has said they are training with U.S.-led coalition forces in preparation to help drive ISIS from its de facto capital in the city of Raqqa. Ahmad Jarba commands the Syrian Elite Forces, described by the U.S. military as a significant component of the coalition assembled against ISIS.
  • Turkish warplanes killed 51 ISIS fighters in operations over the last 24 hours, the military said in a statement on Thursday. Warplanes destroyed 85 ISIS targets in the areas of al-Bab, Tadif, Kabbasin and Bzagah, including buildings and vehicles.
  • A 36-year-old Tunisian asylum-seeker arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of planning an Islamist attack in Germany is also wanted in his homeland over a deadly 2015 assault on a Tunis museum favored by Western tourists, German officials said. The Tunisian is suspected of recruiting for Islamic State in Germany since August 2015 and building up a network of supporters with the aim of carrying out a terrorist attack, the Frankfurt prosecutor's office said in a statement.
  • U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has directed the Pentagon to seek an increase in overall spending to address shortfalls and "new requirements" needed to accelerate the campaign against ISIS, according to a memo released on Wednesday.
  • Air strikes hit Syrian Red Crescent offices in the northwestern city of Idlib after midnight on Wednesday, injuring several staff and causing extensive damage, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. It was not clear which air force the jets belonged to or whether they had taken off from inside Syria or crossed its borders. Russian and Syrian warplanes have been carrying out raids against Syrian insurgents in Idlib province, a rebel stronghold, but since the new year U.S. air strikes have also targeted terrorists in Idlib affiliated to al Qaeda.
  • The Afghan government “has lost territory to the insurgency” and “district control continues to decline,” the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) said in its most recent quarterly report to United States Congress. An estimated 15 percent of Afghanistan’s districts have slipped from the government’s control over that time period. . According to SIGAR, the Afghan government controls or influences just 52 percent of the nation’s districts today compared to 72 percent in Nov. 2015 and, the insurgency, which is overwhelmingly made up of the Taliban, now controls nine districts and influences another 32, while 133 districts are “contested.”
  • ISIS fighters killed at least 14 Syrian soldiers in a fierce attack on a military airport northeast of Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported on Monday. The British-based Observatory said the ultra-hardline group had launched the assault on Sunday near the al-Seen airport some 44 miles from the capital, taking over several positions in the area held by the Syrian army.