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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

Hits: 2789 |

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

Hits: 2704 |

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]

Tags: Ukraine | Russia

Hits: 4070 |

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.


Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States | Belgium

Hits: 2797 |

Fresh US-led strikes reported
2014.09.27 02:19:32

Apparent strikes by US-led forces have again targeted oil facilities held by ISIL, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports.

It said attacks overnight hit the al-Tanak oilfield area and the al-Quriyah area in Deir ez-Zour province. Other strikes hit an area in Hasakah, where the target was not immediately clear, the group said.

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

Hits: 2616 |

Ukraine energy minister: No deal yet with Russia on gas price
2014.09.27 02:18:42

Ukraine Energy Minister Yuri Prodan said after gas talks with Russia and the European Commission in Berlin that the two countries had not reached a final agreement on the price of gas.

There were differences with Russia over payment of old debts, he said, but added Ukraine was prepared to compromise and he expected open questions over the proposed deal to be settled by next Tuesday.

[Source: AFP]

Tags: Ukraine | Russia

Hits: 4305 |

52 ISIL fighters killed near Iraq-Syria border
2014.09.27 02:15:50

The local police chief in the town of al-Qaim, on the Iraqi side of the border, says that US and French air strikes hit a university compound used as a hideout for ISIL fighters near the border crossing. He says 52 fighters were killed.

The al-Qaim crossing has been shut since 2012 but used by ISIL fighters to get from Iraq to Syria and vice versa.

Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Syria

Hits: 2873 |

Footage of a strike on the Mayadeen modular oil refinery
2014.09.27 01:55:11

The US Central Command has released this footage of a strike on the Mayadeen modular oil refinery on Wednesday.

Modular refineries are prefabricated and constructed off-site so they can be transported and made operational quickly.

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

Hits: 2887 |

'Most dangerous' part of Ukraine
2014.09.27 01:53:29

President Petro Poroshenko has proclaimed an end to the "most dangerous" part of Ukraine's pro-Russian uprising and the start of a post-war recovery that would lead to an EU membership bid in 2020.

The pro-Western leader told the first press conference since his June inauguration that he would never allow a resurgent Kremlin and gunmen entrenched in Ukraine's eastern rust belt to halt Kiev's ambition to break out of Russia's embrace.

The five-month conflict has killed more than 3,200 people and driven 650,000 from their homes across a bomb-scarred region that once served as the country's economic driving engine.


Tags: Ukraine | Russia

Hits: 4331 |

British parliament to vote on air strikes
2014.09.27 01:52:20

British legislators will vote today on whether to bomb ISIL in Iraq, though not in Syria.

Prime Minister David Cameron addressed a UN summit in New York before flying home for the vote:

"We are facing an evil against which the whole world must unite. And, as ever in the cause of freedom, democracy and justice, Britain will play its part."

Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Britain

Hits: 2812 |

The masked fighter in the videos
2014.09.27 01:37:52

The masked fighter in the videos depicting the beheading of two Americans has been identified, FBI Director James Comey said, but he did not give the person's name or nationality.

Comey, speaking to a small group of reporters on Thursday, declined to give further details about the suspect. He said roughly one dozen Americans were known to be fighting with the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant group in Syria, and that many who fought there had already returned to the US.


Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

Hits: 2708 |

Refugee influx to West surges
2014.09.27 01:36:42

Wars in Syria and Iraq, and instability in other hotspots are driving ever more people to seek asylum in wealthy nations, with requests on track to hit a 20-year high in 2014, the UNHCR says.

About 330,700 people sought refugee status in 44 industrialized countries in the first half of the year, an almost 24 per cent rise on the same period in 2013, it said.

If the trend continues, the number of new asylum claims could reach 700,000 in 2014, "the highest total for industrialized countries in 20 years and a level not seen since the 1990s conflict in former Yugoslavia," it said in a report.

More than two-thirds of all asylum claims in the first six months of this year were lodged in just six countries, in order: Germany, the US, France, Sweden, Turkey and Italy, according to the UNHCR.

More than one in seven claims - 48,400 - were from Syrians, twice as many as in the same period last year.

Tags: Iraq | Syria

Hits: 2683 |

Ukrainian PM accused Russia of attempting to freeze Ukraine
2014.09.27 01:34:15

The Ukrainian prime minister has accused Russia of attempting to freeze Ukraine in the coming winter by using natural gas as a weapon to subjugate the former Soviet Republic.

"They want us to freeze. This is the aim and this is another trump card in Russian hands. So, except military offense, except military operation against Ukraine, they have another trump card, which is energy," Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said in an interview on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

"The ultimate goal of Russia is to organize, to orchestrate another frozen conflict in Ukraine."

Russia's state-controlled energy company Gazprom cut off gas supplies to Ukraine in June because of a row over Kiev's unpaid gas bill, raising concerns that the country may not be able to cover the peak-demand winter season.


Tags: Ukraine | Russia

Hits: 4130 |

France joining airstrikes in Syria
2014.09.27 01:22:43

France has opened the door to possibly joining airstrikes in Syria in the coming days just hours after an Algerian group beheaded a French tourist in retaliation for Paris' action against the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) group in Iraq.

France has repeatedly ruled out taking part in air action in Syria where the ISIL has its power base.

However, the death of French tourist Herve Gourdel, who was beheaded in Algeria just 24 hours after an ultimatum was given to France to halt attacks in Iraq, appeared to toughen Paris' resolve.

"The opportunity is not there today. We already have an important task in Iraq and we will see in the coming days how the situation evolves," Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio.

Pressed further on whether it was a possibility in the future, Le Drian, who is taking part in a war cabinet meeting on Thursday, said: "The question is on the table".


Tags: Syria | Islamic State | France

Hits: 2573 |

UN Human Rights Council vote
2014.09.27 01:08:57

The UN Human Rights Council has voted overwhelmingly to share its evidence of Syrian atrocities in hopes it will be forwarded to the world's war crimes tribunal.

By a vote of 32-5, with 10 abstentions, the 47-nation council adopted the resolution on Thursday strongly condemning lack of cooperation by President Bashar al-Assad's government with a UN commission investigating alleged rights violations since March 2011 in Syria, whether by the government or the opposition or the Islamic State group that controls broad areas along the Syria-Iraq border.

The resolution emphasizes that The Hague-based International Criminal Court can play an "important role" if the United Nations agrees to send it the commission's findings on war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly being committed in Syria.


Tags: Syria

Hits: 2563 |

Oil refineries held by the ISIL
2014.09.26 01:49:10

Jets from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates played the leading role in the latest round of air strikes in Syria against fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, the Pentagon said.

Ten warplanes from the two Arab states flew with six US aircraft in Wednesday's raids on oil refineries held by the ISIL group and 80 percent of the bomb tonnage delivered by the Saudi and UAE planes, spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters.


Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Saudi Arabia | UAE

Hits: 2759 |

Civilians killed in US-led air strikes
2014.09.26 01:47:45

The Pentagon said it will investigate reports that civilians were killed in US-led air strikes in Syria this week but insisted the raids were carried out with precision.

The US military said its bombing raids this week were carefully calibrated to avoid civilian casualties and touted the role of coalition partners from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in the latest strikes carried out on Wednesday.

"We don't have credible operational reports" that civilians were killed in three days of air strikes, spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters. But "we are taking a look at that," Kirby said, describing the media reports and video as "allegations."


Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

Hits: 2829 |

Bombings in Syria and Iraq
2014.09.26 01:39:55

The Pentagon says it is too early to say that the US-led coalition was "winning" against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, pointing to the group's continued access to financing, volunteers and weapons even after bombings in Syria and Iraq.

"Your question gets at ... How do you know you're winning? And what I'm telling you is, it's going to take us a while to be able to say that," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters.

"Even after the hits they've taken and they have been hit they still have financing at their fingertips. They still have plenty of volunteers. They still have plenty of weapons and vehicles and the ability to move around," he said.


Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Iraq

Hits: 2756 |

Air strike by the US-led coalition
2014.09.26 01:38:22

This video purports to show an air strike by the US-led coalition on the town of Albu Kamal on the Iraqi border.

Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Iraq

Hits: 2544 |

Regime drops barrel bombs
2014.09.26 01:36:43

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says Syria's air force has dropped barrel bombs in the countryside north of Homs city. Further north Syrian helicopters used barrel bombs on a village outside Hama and warplanes bombed areas in the northern countryside of Latakia province, the Observatory said.

Tags: Syria

Hits: 2640 |

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