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Kerry released a statement expressing his gratitude
2014.08.25 03:46:50

US Secretary of State, John Kerry, just released a statement expressing his gratitude after knowing American journalist, Peter Theo Curtis has been released on Sunday and is going home.

"Particularly after a week marked by unspeakable tragedy, we are all relieved and grateful knowing that Theo Curtis is coming home after so much time held in the clutches of Jabhat Al-Nusrah."

The US had reached out to several countries to help secure his release, Kerry said.

"Over these last two years, the United States reached out to more than two dozen countries asking for urgent help from anyone who might have tools, influence, or leverage to help secure Theo's release and the release of any Americans held hostage in Syria."



Tags: Syria | United States | John Kerry

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Israeli air strike kills two men on motorcycle in Gaza
2014.08.25 03:30:39

An Israeli air strike killed two Palestinians on a motorcycle in Gaza City early on Sunday, medical officials said. [Reuters]



Tags: Gaza | Israel

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Iranian involvement in Iraq
2014.08.25 03:29:43

Phyllis Bennis, an expert in foreign policy at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, said the Iranian involvement in Iraq "is nothing new".

In an interview, Bennis said Iran's reported joint operations with Kurdish forces against the Islamic State group, is a "slight broadening" of its military involvement.

"The Iranians have been involved in Iraq for a very long time since the end of the Iran-Iraq War, and particularly since the US invasion and occupation."



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Iran

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Syrian troops killed 32 rebels in an ambush
2014.08.25 03:28:03

Syrian troops killed 32 rebels in an ambush in the southern province of Deraa early on Sunday, a monitoring group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based NGO, said another 26 rebels were wounded in the ambush and 12 more were missing.

Both the Observatory and state media said the attack took place between the towns of Hara and Zamreen in western Deraa. Hara is under regime control, but Zamreen is under rebel control. Both areas have witnessed recurring clashes in recent weeks.

[AFP]



Tags: Syria

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Five rockets fired from Syria into Israeli-held Golan
2014.08.25 03:16:38

Rocket fire from Syria slammed into the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights on Sunday but there were no reports of casualties.

"At least five rockets fired from Syria hit different locations across the Golan Heights," the Israeli army said in a statement. [AFP]



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Syria

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Joint operations against the Islamic State
2014.08.25 03:14:14

Amid reports that hundreds of Iranian soldiers have taken part in joint operations against the Islamic State, MWC has learned that Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has gone to Iraq to meet with Iraq's newly-appointed Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Iran

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Joint operations against the Islamic State
2014.08.25 03:13:38

Amid reports that hundreds of Iranian soldiers have taken part in joint operations against the Islamic State, MWC has learned that Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has gone to Iraq to meet with Iraq's newly-appointed Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Iran

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Jeddah host a meeting of Arab foreign ministers
2014.08.25 03:08:31

Jeddah will host on Sunday a meeting of Arab foreign ministers from the International Contact Group on Syria, namely from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, UAE and Qatar.

An official source from Saudi Foreign Ministry told Saudi Press Agency Saturday that the meeting is scheduled to discuss the overall situation in the region, including the latest developments in Syria.

[Qatar News Agency]



Tags: Syria | Saudi Arabia | Egypt | Jordan | UAE | Qatar

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Abbas met with senior officials of the Arab League
2014.08.25 02:56:08

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met for talks with senior officials of the Arab League on Saturday night in Cairo.

The meeting was aimed at discussing ways to resume the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas which collapsed earlier this week, bringing the Egyptian-brokered talks to a halt.

Earlier that day, Abbas stressed his willingness to achieve a long-term ceasefire between the two enemies.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry on Saturday urged Israel and Hamas to resume indirect talks and agree to an open-ended cease-fire.

[AP]



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Mahmoud Abbas | Arab League | Hamas

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Ukrainian government forces killed fighting rebels rises to 722
2014.08.25 02:54:23

The number of Ukrainian government forces who have been killed fighting separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine has reached 722, the national defense and security council said on Sunday.

This marked a jump from August 11 when the figure was at 568 meaning that more than 150 troops, interior forces and border guards have been killed in less than two weeks.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Video by the US defense department
2014.08.25 02:53:24

Video released by the US defense department shows one of the nearly 90 US military air strikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States

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Young Syrians are gravitating towards IS
2014.08.25 02:51:17

Young Syrians are gravitating towards the Islamic State group due to a lack of prospects and the lure of financial support more than "ideological conviction", the pope's Syria envoy said.

In an interview with Radio Vatican, Mario Zenari -- who has remained in Syria throughout the bloody conflict - said he believed that young men rushing to join their ranks did not as a rule do so out of "ideological conviction".

"They are frustrated to see that ideals of democracy and freedom are not progressing, that the situation is deadlocked," he said.

"They go to them because they (the Islamic State fighters) are more efficient and also sometimes because they get bigger economic support from them."

[AFP]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State

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Pro-Russian rebels humiliate Ukrainian captives in Donetsk
2014.08.25 02:37:59

Pro-Russian separatist rebels force-marched dozens of Ukrainian prisoners of war along a main street of the rebel-held Ukrainian town of Donetsk on Sunday.

People shouted "fascists" at the group, who walked with heads bowed. They were largely unshaven and disheveled and dressed either in combat fatigues or civilian clothes.

A voice over a loudspeaker announced their arrival saying, "we are now able to watch passing people who were sent to kill us."

"We are Russians," the voice said.

A Reuters correspondent on the scene said that some people threw projectiles including bottles, while some shouted "Fascists!" and "Get on your knees!"

In a gesture intended to show that the captives were sullied, street cleaning vehicles moved behind them to cleanse where they had walked.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Report says Kurdish forces appealing for more weapons
2014.08.25 02:36:58

Peshmerga forces from the northern Iraqi Kurdish region are struggling to defend themselves against Islamic State militants, and are calling for further international help, British broadcaster Sky News reported.

The peshmerga forces do have heavy weapons but many of these are old, and they are getting little air support, according to Sky News.

"We need weapons, to make the battle equal. We need modern weapons, like those IS has got," said Osman Abdulkaree, Kalar security press manager.

Thousands of peshmerga forces are taking part in a fightback against the well armed IS militants, who have taken towns in the Kurdish region in recent weeks. [AP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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Syrian army launched air strikes
2014.08.25 02:36:00

Activists say the Syrian army launched air strikes on the National Hospital of al-Tabqa, beside al-Tabqa military base, west of Raqqa.  

The air base is a government-controlled airport surrounded by fighters.

Syrian troops reportedly killed 24 Islamic State fighters while defending the base on Saturday.



Tags: Syria

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Israeli airstrike killed Hamas member
2014.08.25 02:24:43

An Israeli airstrike on Saturday killed Hamas member Mahmoud Abbas Abu Alamrin while he was in his car and injured 11 other people in Gaza City.

Alamrin's body was identified by his mother at the morgue in Shifa Hospital.

The attack on Alamrin happened less than an hour after two Israeli rockets collapsed a 12-storey apartment block in central Gaza City.

[AP]



Tags: Gaza | Israel | Hamas

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A Diplomatic Solution for Ukraine
2014.08.25 02:23:31

Seven former Western ambassadors write on "A Diplomatic Solution for Ukraine" for The National Interest.

Read the article here.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Kurds marched in Paris
2014.08.25 02:22:12

Hundreds of ethnic Kurds marched in Paris to demand more international support for civilians in Iraq facing assaults by Islamic State fighters.

Waving flags, chanting and marching behind a banner, the demonstrators pressed for more humanitarian and military aid for thousands of Yazidi refugees in the Sinjar mountains.

Yekbun Eksen, a member of the Federation of Kurdish Associations of France, said the international aid was not yet enough to protect civilians.

The group has led peaceful weekly protests since Islamic State fighters attacked the town of Sinjar earlier this month.

[AP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | France

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Lebanese policemen and a soldier captured
2014.08.25 02:19:47

Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate released a video on Saturday showing Lebanese policemen and a soldier captured by the group earlier this month, during the most serious cross-border attack since Syria's conflict began more than three years ago.

The captives said they will be killed if Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, which backs Syrian President Assad, does not withdraw its fighters from Syria.

The video showed nine bearded men, eight of them in police uniforms and one wearing military fatigues.

Lebanese army commander Jean Kahwaji told An-Nahar newspaper that 20 soldiers remain missing. He defended his command decisions from criticism by local media, saying the soldiers' posts in border areas had been reinforced before the attack.

Other soldiers and policemen are believed to be held by other rebel groups who took part in the August 2 attack on the Lebanese border town of Arsal, which is home to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees.

[AP]



Tags: Syria | Lebanon

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Joint news conference
2014.08.25 02:02:09

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and German Chancellor Angela Merkel gave a joint news conference after meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine on Saturday.

Merkel, who has advocated a measured EU response to Russia's aggressive policies in Ukraine, urged a political solution to the crisis.

Poroshenko will be meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in Minsk on Tuesday in their first encounter since June.

Merkel said she was looking forward to the outcome of those talks and said Europe was "willing to negotiate on this so that there won't be any unnecessary frictions with Russia".

Poroshenko said Ukraine is anxious to bring peace as soon as possible and solve the conflict by talks, but is prevented from doing so by "foreign mercenaries", referring to pro-Russia rebels.

[AP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | Germany

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