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More air strikes reported
2014.10.04 01:07:48

Activists report coalition strikes targeting ISIL-held areas overnight that resulted in causalities in al-Mayadeen in Deir ez-Zour, Manbij and Jarablus in northeastern Aleppo, and Tal Abyad in Raqqa, near the Turkish border.

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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Rights groups call for lawyer's release
2014.10.04 00:54:37

More than two dozen rights groups have called for the release of Syrian human rights lawyer Khalil Maatouq, two years after his "enforced disappearance" in Damascus.

The appeal was co-signed by 26 human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders and several regional watchdogs.

Maatouq, executive director of the Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Research, and his assistant Mohammad Zaza disappeared two years ago as they were heading to their office in the Syrian capital.

"It is believed that they were arrested at a government security checkpoint solely due to his legitimate and peaceful work in human rights," said the joint statement.

"Multiple reports have confirmed that the two men are being held by the Syrian authorities, who appear to move them among various detention facilities in Damascus, including the 'Palestine Branch', a detention center run by military intelligence," it added.


Tags: Syria

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Opposition officials sacked over vaccination deaths
2014.10.03 02:06:14

The Syrian National Coalition has issued a statement apologizing to the Syrian people for the Measles vaccination campaign that killed at least 15 children in the Idlib town of Jarjanaz in September.

Several officials were sacked, including Dr Adnan Hazuri, health minister in the interim government for opposition-held territory and Suhair Atassi, who headed a coalition body distributing international funding involved in the vaccination campaign.

Tags: Syria

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PKK leader warns that ISIL victory would end Turkey peace process
2014.10.03 01:39:19

The jailed leader of Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a 30-year insurgency for self-rule, has warned that the peace process could collapse if ISIL seizes Kobane.

"The siege of Kobane is far from being just an ordinary siege," PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan said in a message relayed by supporters from his prison on the island of Imrali.

"It does not only target the democratic gains of the Kurdish people but would lead Turkey to a new era of coups.

"If this attempt at a massacre succeeds, it will not only end the peace process, but will also pave the way for a new and long-lasting coup," he said, according to the pro-Kurdish Firat news agency.


Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Turkey | PKK

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Clashes near Kobane
2014.10.03 00:57:57

Last night clashes between Kurdish YPG fighters and ISIL reached closer than 1km to Kobane, according to YPG activists in the town..

The YPG command said they managed to repel the ISIL attack and pushed the group back.

YPG say they have set up strong defenses in Kobane, including trenches around the town, planting booby traps at the entrances and inside the town, and deploying snipers on the southern hills.

The activists also say one civilian was killed and other injured as a result of ISIL artillery shelling on Kobane yesterday.

Tags: Syria | Islamic State

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US rebel training could 'take years'
2014.10.03 00:44:18

Retired US general John Allen, who is leading the international effort against ISIL, has said that the training of Syrian rebels would be a slow process.

"It is going to take a while, it could take years, actually," Allen said in an interview with CNN. "We have to manage our expectations."

The US Congress has approved the training and equipping of moderate Syrian rebel units as part of an international plan to defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria.

Allen said the training of Syrian rebels was already under way.

"The process of getting that unfolded is occurring right now with the idea of locating training camps and beginning to accumulate the Syrian elements that will go into those training camps," he said.


Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Iraq

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White House-Civilian protection policy
2014.10.03 00:25:22

White House: Civilian protection policy doesn't apply to Syria strikes

Officials say US policy requiring 'near certainty' civilians won't be hit does not apply to current mission against ISIL.

Al Jazeera America

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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Turkey's president promised to fight ISIL
2014.10.02 03:22:44

Turkey's president promised to fight ISIL and "other terrorist organizations", in his clearest remarks yet that Turkish forces could join a US-led coalition battling the group in Iraq and Syria.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan's speech on Wednesday comes a day before parliament votes on motions that may grant the government authority to do send forces into both neighboring countries.

For more on the story, click here.

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Turkey | Iraq

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IS fighters near Turkish border, despite US air strikes
2014.10.02 02:38:32

Islamic State fighters were closing in Wednesday on a key Syrian town near the Turkish border, despite multiple US air strikes, as the Pentagon cautioned it "cannot bomb the militants into obscurity".

US warplanes launched multiple strikes against Islamic State jihadists in both Syria and Iraq Tuesday, as Britain carried out its first air raids against the group.

IS fighters closing in on a key town near the Turkish border were among the targets of nearly a dozen US air raids in Syria, the Pentagon said.

US warplanes also bombed IS in neighboring Iraq as Kurdish forces launched attacks on three fronts in a bid to recapture ground lost to the group last month.

Britain said its jets had destroyed an IS heavy weapons post and a machine gun-mounted vehicle in the country's first air strikes against the group in Iraq. [AFP]

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Turkey

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Bombs in Baghdad have killed 21 people
2014.10.02 02:37:27

Two bombs in Baghdad have killed 21 people and injured 59 in an attack on a busy marketplace in Jediydah, a Shia area in the south of city. The first blast was an IED. The second was a bomb inside a parked vehicle. The explosions happened about 15 minutes ago.

Tags: Iraq

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Tensions are high along Syria's border with Turkey
2014.10.02 02:33:13

Tensions are high along Syria's border with Turkey. It's an area where ISIL continues to make gains.

ISIL Fighters are getting closer to the Syrian city of Kobane.

Coalition air strikes have been targeting the group to try and help Kurdish fighters in the region.

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Turkey

Hits: 4494 |

Marine Corps to create Middle East crisis respons
2014.10.02 02:20:16

Report: Marine Corps to create Middle East crisis response unit in 2015

The Marine Corps will create a new land-based unit in the Middle East during fiscal 2015, designed to respond to crises in the region, including emergencies at embassies, the Marine Corps Times reported Thursday.

Stars and Stripes

Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States

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Fighting around Kobane
2014.10.02 02:17:45

Activists in the the border town of Ain al-Arab said two shells landed there and 3 outside the town also known as Kobane, and there were no reports of casualties. Heavy clashes have been on in the western and southern suburb of Kobane.

Video released by YPG media office shows fighting around Kobane. The video was published today, but we can't specify the date of fighting.

Tags: Syria | Islamic State

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The US central command
2014.10.02 02:05:58

The US central command - which covers operations in the Middle East - says it has "stood up" a force of 2,300 marines to act as a crisis response force in its area of responsibility. It says that the plans for such a force began in 2013 and are not related to the campaign against ISIL.

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Iraq

Hits: 4741 |

Army mistakenly dropped supplies to ISIL
2014.10.02 01:30:52

An Iraqi MP tonight said the government was investigating reports that its army had mistakenly dropped supplies of food, water and ammunition to ISIL troops in Anbar province.

The NBC network reported that the supplies were supposed to help besieged Iraqi troops in Shaqlawah and the village of al-Sijar.

It quoted Hakim al–Zamili, an Iraqi Shia MP, as saying: “Some pilots, instead of dropping these supplies over the area of the Iraqi army, threw it over the area that is controlled by ISIL fighters.

"Those soldiers were in deadly need of these supplies, but because of the wrong plans of the commanders in the Iraqi army and lack of experience of the pilots, we in a way or another helped ISIL fighters kill our soldiers,” al-Zamili said.

Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

Hits: 4657 |

On the bombings in Baghdad
2014.10.02 01:20:09

Two parked car-bombs blew up in the Shia area of Hurriyah, northwest Baghdad, killing 21 and injuring 44.

Mortar bombs hit the Shia areas of Shullah, Hurriyah and Saba and el-Bour, northwest Baghdad, killing six and injuring 12.

Tags: Iraq

Hits: 4603 |

Kurdish fighters in Syria
2014.10.01 02:43:59

Lots of media organizations are putting together reports about Kurdish fighters in Syria cobbling together armored vehicles from tractors, cars and buses to face their heavily armed ISIL enemy.

Pictures of these vehicles first started to appear at the turn of this month. Here's a youtube video showing some of the Kurds' efforts.

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Iraq

Hits: 4820 |

Thousands more people could be forced out of Syria
2014.10.01 02:41:21

UN aid chief Valerie Amos told the United Nations Security Council that recent advances by ISIL in northern Aleppo had forced more than 160,000 people, mostly women and children, to escape across the border into Turkey in just a few days.

She said the group's advances will likely drive more Syrians to flee the violence. "There is a possibility that tens of thousands more people could be forced out of Syria if ISIL forces continue to gain ground," she said.


Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Valerie Amos

Hits: 3946 |

Blasts in Baghdad have killed at least 25 people
2014.10.01 02:36:13

Reuters reports that the blasts in Baghdad have killed at least 25 people, mostly in Shia areas of the city. We'll have more soon.

Tags: Iraq

Hits: 5125 |

ISIL fighters advance
2014.10.01 02:35:18

Turkey on Tuesday said ISIL fighters were advancing on a tiny enclave considered Turkish territory in northern Syria, but insisted it was still in control of the land despite reports its guards there were

The tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire Osman I, on the Euphrates river, is Turkish territory under a 1920s treaty and still guarded by a few dozen Turkish troops.

The pro-government Yeni Safak daily had reported earlier that the 36 Turkish soldiers guarding the tomb had been overwhelmed by a group of some 1,100 ISIL fighters. [AFP]

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Turkey

Hits: 3880 |

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