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From the BBC
2014.09.28 03:06:42

As at least 160,000 people have fled to Turkey from the Kurdish border town of Kobane, some fear a a repeat of the atrocities against the Yazidi community in northern Iraq. Correspondent Paul Wood has entered the town and sent a report from the frontline

Watch the report on bbc.com



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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US-led coalition hit ISIL targets in Homs
2014.09.28 03:05:27

The US-led coalition has hit ISIL targets in Homs for the first time Saturday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.

The coalition also targeted ISIL in the town of Minbej, east of Aleppo, for the first time, as well as multiple targets in the province of Raqqa, the monitoring group said.

Its director Rami Abdelrahman said the targets hit in Homs province were far away from the frontline with forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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Strikes on Raqqa
2014.09.28 02:21:14

Activists in Raqqa report that multiple coalition attacks in the province have targeted ISIL positions and that dozens of fighters were killed.

Several attacks targeted Tabqa air base, which ISL captured from the regime last month. An ISIL training camp was also hit, as well as an ISIL checkpoint.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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Clashes between Kurdish fighters and ISIL are ongoing
2014.09.28 02:20:21

An activist from the Kurdish YPG group says that the US-led coalition launched four air strikes on ISIL locations in the eastern suburbs of Kobane, near the Turkish border, early this morning. The activist said one of the targets was the village of Alishera, where ISIL has a strong presence.

Clashes between Kurdish fighters and ISIL are ongoing around Kobane. Our correspondent Stefanie Dekker tweets from the Turkish side of the border.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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Russia's Lavrov questions legality of US strikes on Syria
2014.09.28 02:07:54

Russia questioned on Friday the legality of US and Arab air strikes in Syria to target ISIL because the action was taken without the approval and cooperation of Moscow's ally Damascus.

"We believe that any action taken globally, including use of force, to overcome terrorist threats should be done in accordance with international law," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told reporters on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

Lavrov said that approval was also needed of the country where the action was to take place.

"It's very important that such cooperation with Syrian authorities is established, even now that it's an accomplished fact," Lavrov said.

"Excluding Syrian authorities from the struggle that is taking place on their territory not only goes against international law but undermines the efficiency of the effort." [Reuters]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Russia

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US government condemns execution of Iraqi human rights lawyer
2014.09.28 01:58:52

The United States government has condemned the killing of an Iraqi human rights lawyer.

The White House issued the following statement:

"The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms the torture and murder of Iraqi human rights lawyer Samira Salih al-Nuaimi by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). We extend our heartfelt condolences to her family and friends and to the people of Iraq, whose future she was trying to make brighter.

"Ms. al-Nuaimi and other women and girls in Iraq and Syria have been killed for refusing to abide by ISIL’s draconian efforts to strip them of their rights.  ISIL’s gruesome tactics, particularly its oppression of women, once again reveal that this cruel and barbaric terrorist organization seeks to inflict violence and fear through its distortion of faith.

"After ISIL attacked Mosul, Ms. al-Nuaimi courageously continued her legal and humanitarian work there – despite the serious risks to her safety – because she believed in exposing injustice and helping those in need.  As we mourn her tragic loss, the international community must carry on her legacy by speaking with a strong, united voice to condemn and counter ISIL’s lies and to combat its tormented and divisive ideology in the same brave way as Samira Salih al-Nuaimi."



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States | Syria

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New wave of US air strikes in Syria
2014.09.28 01:47:35

US aircraft have launched a fresh wave of bombing raids against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Syria, in the fifth consecutive day of air strikes in the country, a defense official told AFP.

"I can confirm US air operations are ongoing in Syria," said the senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The mission is now similar to US-led air raids undertaken in Iraq, with "near continuous" combat flight operations over Syria, the official said.

The US military's Central Command, which leads American forces in the Middle East, did not issue any details of the latest air strikes.

Earlier, Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel told reporters that US and Arab coalition warplanes have carried out more than 40 bombing strikes this week against ISIL, including attacks on the organization's oil refineries.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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12,000 to 15,000 required to retake areas of eastern Syria
2014.09.27 03:12:17

A Western-backed opposition force of around 12,000 to 15,000 would be required to retake areas of eastern Syria now controlled by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the top US military officer said on Friday.

"Five thousand has never been the end state ... Twelve to 15,000 is what we believe they would need to recapture lost territory in eastern Syria," General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Last week, Congress gave temporary approval to a plan for the United States to train members of Syria's moderate opposition to combat ISIL, which is seeking to expand its hardline rule from a base in eastern Syria. The initial number of opposition fighters to be trained by the United States is expected to be around 5,000.

[Reuters]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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US-led coalition has launched 43 strikes on Syria
2014.09.27 03:10:15

The pentagon spokesperson says the US-led coalition has launched 43 strikes on Syria since the operation against ISIL there began on Tuesday overnight.



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Protests against US-led air strikes
2014.09.27 03:09:25

Protests marches against the strikes on ISIL and the Nusra Front have been held in several parts of Syria today.

In Kafr Daryan, a village in Idlib that was targeted by coalition strikes, protesters held banners that read "Stop shelling civilians" and "Nusra Front represents me".



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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No for war against rebels
2014.09.27 03:07:48

In Taqad village, in Aleppo province, people chanted for the Nusra Front, "No for war against rebels, the biggest criminal is Assad".



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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Barrel bombs dropped on Aleppo
2014.09.27 03:06:00

Activists say seven people have been killed after a government helicopter dropped barrel bombs at al-Sakhur district in a rebel-held part of Aleppo city.



Tags: Syria

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New recruits join ISIL
2014.09.27 02:50:37

More than 200 fighters have joined ISIL in Aleppo province since President Obama said the US would strike the group in Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.

At least 162 people joined the group in northeast and eastern Aleppo in the week after Obama's speech on September 10, the Observatory said.

An additional 73 men had joined the group on September 23 and 24 in the northeast Aleppo countryside since the start of the strikes, the Observatory said.

Rami Abdelrahman who runs the Observatory said most of the new men came from the Nusra Front and were mostly Syrian, and the men who joined in the week after Obama's speech  included 15 nationalities.

[Reuters]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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Opposition groups say they'll join forces to fight ISIL
2014.09.27 02:49:27

The Free Syrian Army, Christian opposition fighters and some Kurdish armed groups have signed an agreement, coordinated by US officials who have been meeting with opposition representatives in Turkey for two days.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State

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Shelling of Jobar, Damascus
2014.09.27 02:48:21

Activists are reporting that ground-to-ground missiles have been fired on Jobar, in eastern Damascus, for the first time since the beginning of the war. They also say regime fighter jets are shelling the district.



Tags: Syria

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Warplanes attack on rebel-held areas
2014.09.27 02:47:12

Activists say regime warplanes have attacked rebel-held areas in Idlib province, including Saraqeb, Khan Sheikoun and Kafr Nabl. The video is said to show Khan Sheikhoun.



Tags: Syria

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Red Cross appeal to spare civilians
2014.09.27 02:45:09

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) appealed on Friday to all parties in the widening conflicts in Syria and Iraq to spare civilians and let in aid.

The proliferation of armed groups and recent international air strikes in Iraq and Syria have "compounded the humanitarian consequences of the conflicts in both countries", the aid agency said in a statement.

"Under international humanitarian law, every party to these conflicts must refrain from harming civilians, must protect medical personnel and facilities, and must allow humanitarian workers to bring help," said Dominik Stillhart, ICRC director of operations.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Syria | Red Cross

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Lebanese border town hit by Syrian planes
2014.09.27 02:36:10

According to the municipality of Arsal, five air strikes by Syrian warplanes hit Rahwah on Arsal's outskirts. There are no reports of casualties as of yet. The strikes were said to target rebels in the mountainous terrain.



Tags: Syria | Lebanon

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Russia and Ukraine agree on interim gas deal
2014.09.27 02:35:04

Russia is ready to resume gas deliveries to Ukraine if Kiev pays its energy giant Gazprom back debts worth $3.1bn by late December, European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said.

According to the interim agreement, which has to be approved by the governments in Moscow and Kiev, Gazprom is ready to deliver at least five billion cubic metres of gas in the coming months, Oettinger said after he met with both energy ministers in Berlin.

Gazprom will also want advance payments for the new gas at $385 per 1,000 cubic metres - less than the $485 that Gazprom had earlier demanded but  more than the price of around $268 it had charged before the change of government in Ukraine.

[Source: AFP]



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Belgium joined the US-led coalition
2014.09.27 02:33:16

Belgium has joined the US-led coalition to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant group in Iraq and will send six F-16 fighter planes to take part in the operation.

Belgian participation for one month was authorized by the country's Chamber of Representatives Friday afternoon after more than three hours of debate.

Further involvement will be subject to parliamentary evaluation and review.

The Belgian military contingent should number 120, including eight pilots. Defense Minister Pieter De Crem said the F-16 multirole fighters, to be based in Jordan, took off for a night stopover in Greece before the lawmakers voted so they would be ready to go into action as early as Saturday.

[AP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States | Belgium

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