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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

[Reuters]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Valerie Amos

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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

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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
encircled.

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

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Two car bombs have exploded in al-Hurriya neighborhood
2014.10.01 02:34:15

According to the state-run Iraqiya TV, two car bombs have exploded in al-Hurriya neighborhood in northwestern Baghdad, killing and injuring a number of Iraqi civilians. No numbers yet.



Tags: Iraq

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The wife of a British aid worker made a televised plea
2014.10.01 02:32:24

The wife of a British aid worker held hostage in Syria by the Islamic State group made a televised plea Tuesday asking her husband's captors to free him.

Alan Henning, a 47-year-old former taxi driver, was kidnapped in December after crossing from Turkey into Syria in an aid convoy. His wife Barbara Henning asked the militants: ``Please release him. We need him back home.''

In recent weeks, the militants have released online videos showing the beheading of two American journalists and a British aid worker, and threatened to kill Henning next. Henning's captivity, and that of other Western hostages, was kept secret for months out of concerns publicity would endanger their security.  [AP]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United Kingdom | Alan Henning

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RAF Tornado jets have carried out first their air strikes
2014.10.01 02:30:28

The UK's ministry of defense says that RAF Tornado jets have carried out first their air strikes in support of the Iraqi government.

In the first, an ISIL heavy weapons post was destroyed by a Paveway IV bomb as ISIL fighters attacked Kurdish troops in Iraq.

In the second, a vehicle-mounted machine gun was destroyed by a Brimstone missile.

Both attacks were assessed as successful, the ministry said.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Britain

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Kurdish school children released by ISIL
2014.10.01 02:10:30

The ISIL released on Tuesday more than 70 Kurdish school children its fighters kidnapped in northern Syria in May, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The UK-based group said parents had reported the release of the children, who are believed to be aged between 13 and 15.

The group of 70 were among 153 school children, most of them boys, abducted on May 29 in the northern province of Aleppo. They were intercepted and taken hostage en route to their hometown of Ain  al-Arab after sitting school exams. [AFP]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State

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1.8 million people displaced by violence in Iraq
2014.10.01 02:08:41

United Nations agencies are running out of funding to help the 1.8 million people displaced by violence in Iraq, UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos said recently. [AFP]



Tags: Iraq

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Netanyahu warns the United Nations
2014.10.01 01:57:09

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned the United Nations that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose a far greater threat than the armed group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which he compared to the Palestinian group Hamas.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Iraq | Iran | Israel | Benjamin Netanyahu | Hamas

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Wallid Muallem, in speech to UN General Assembly
2014.09.30 03:19:31

The Syrian Arab Republic reiterates that it stands with any international effort aimed at fighting and combating terrorism, and stresses that this must be done in full respect of the lives of innocent civilians and within the frame of full respect of national sovereignty, and in conformity with international conventions.



Tags: Syria

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US central command
2014.09.30 02:35:27

The US central command has just sent the world its latest report on attacks on ISIL.





Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Iraq

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Regime air strikes in Raqqa
2014.09.29 03:30:46

The Local Coordination Committees activist network are now reporting that "[Assad] warplanes launched an air strike on al-Rashid secondary school's playground in Raqqa".

ISIL uses the building as one of its many headquarters. According to local activists, these offices were evacuated prior to the start of the US-led coalition air strikes.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State

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Clashes around Kobane
2014.09.29 03:12:31

Activists from the Kurdish YPG movement in Kobane (Ain al-Arab in Arabic) say heavy clashes with ISIL fighters are ongoing in villages outside the town. They say no side is advancing.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State

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'Oil refineries destroyed'
2014.09.29 02:46:28

The US-led coalition destroyed three makeshift oil refineries in rebel-held territory early on Sunday, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The coalition strikes hit close by the Turkish frontier, near the town of Tal Abyad.

The makeshift facilities where crude oil is refined with basic equipment are generally mobile and manned by local people, not ISIL fighters. The oil trade does however involve ISIL and the US says the group was earning as much as $3m a day from oil revenues before air strikes were launched.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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Human Rights Watch demands probe of civilian deaths
2014.09.29 02:35:45

Human Rights Watch says apparent US missile strikes on Idlib that killed at least seven civilians should be investigated for possible violations of the laws of war.

In a statement, the group cited residents giving their accounts of the September 23 attack on Kafr Deryan. It said video footage corroborates witness accounts that civilians were killed by Tomahawk cruise missiles, which are in the US arsenal.

"The residents, who spoke via Skype to Human Rights Watch, said that at approximately 3:30am, a series of missiles struck a compound of the militant group Jabhat al-Nusra, including a weapons depot, about one kilometer from the village. Two of the residents said that shortly thereafter other missiles struck two homes in Kafr Deryan itself, killing at least five children, two women, and two men, all of whom they identified by name. While two of the residents said the men were civilians, the third said they were members of Jabhat al-Nusra."



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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Russia accuses the US and its Western allies
2014.09.29 02:33:29

Russia has accused the US and its Western allies of bossing the world around, saying that they were attempting to dictate to everyone "what is good and evil."

The speech by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the UN General Assembly on Saturday to to the 193-nation assembly was the latest example of the deteriorating relations between Moscow and Western powers, which have imposed sanctions on Russia over the conflict in neighboring Ukraine.

"The US-led Western alliance that portrays itself as a champion of democracy, rule of law and human rights within individual countries ... (is) rejecting the democratic principle of sovereign equality of states enshrined in the U.N. Charter and trying to decide for everyone what is good or evil," he said.

"Washington has openly declared its right to unilateral use of force anywhere to uphold its own interests," Lavrov added.

"Military interference has become a norm - even despite the dismal outcome of all power operations that the US has carried out over the recent years."

Lavrov cited the 1999 NATO bombing of Yugoslavia during the Kosovo war, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the war in Afghanistan, and the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya that led to the toppling and death of longtime Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi as examples of US failures.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | United States | NATO

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