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Belgium's first bombing raid in Iraq
2014.10.07 01:20:52

An F-16 fighter jet has carried out Belgium's first bombing raid in Iraq in the fight against the Islamist State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, the defense ministry said.

Belgium has contributed six F-16 bombers to the US-led air campaign against fighters, backing up Iraqi and Kurdish troops on the ground.

Two of the Belgian jets were flying their first reconnaissance missions over Iraqi territory on Sunday when they were called to action.

"After the positive identification of a terrorist element attacking Iraqi security forces... The Belgian aircraft intervened with a GPS-guided bomb, resulting in the immediate neutralization of the enemy threat," the ministry said in a statement.

[AFP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Belgium

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Injuries as mortar lands in Turkey
2014.10.06 03:11:25

A mortar that crashed into a house on Turkish territory just a few kilometers from a border area inside Syria where Kurdish fighters are battling ISIL has wounded five people, medical sources told Reuters.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Turkey

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Joe Biden has apologized to Recep Erdogan
2014.10.05 02:52:59

Joe Biden has apologized to Recep Erdogan for saying the Turkish leader had conceded that his country mistakenly assisted foreign fighters, including ISIL, in seeking to depose the Syrian regime.

The White House said Biden spoke to Erdogan on Saturday "to clarify comments" he made on Thursday at Harvard University.

The White House says Biden apologized "for any implication'' that Turkey or other allies had intentionally supplied or helped in the growth of ISIL or other groups in Syria.

Biden on Thursday said Erdogan had admitted that Turkey made mistakes by helping armed groups in Syria.

Erdogan denied saying that and countered that Biden would become "history to me" over the comments.

- AP



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Turkey | Joe Biden

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American citizen Jordan Matson
2014.10.05 02:45:33

Rohani TV, a Kurdish television channel, interviews an American citizen, Jordan Matson, who says he has joined Kurdish YPG fighters battling ISIL in northern Syria. He's been in the country for two weeks and was injured in battle, he says. A curious interview.

"I got sick of watching so many innocent people be killed. I got sick of everybody saying how bad it was and doing nothing about it. So I made up my own mind to come over here and do something about it."



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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Turkey criticized comments by the US vice-president
2014.10.05 02:26:07

Turkey has today criticized comments by the US vice-president, Joe Biden, that the US's allies were "the biggest problem" in Syria and that Turkey had let too many people slip into Syria to fight.

Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey has never allowed foreign fighters through to Syria or supported ISIL.

Erdogan said: "Biden is history to me if he really used those words on this subject... we have never provided any support to ISIL nor any terror group during that period when I was prime minister. No one can prove that we did".

Biden, known his counter-intuitive statements, made his speech on October 2 at the Kennedy Forum at Harvard University. Here's the speech, but be warned: it's long. For wonks only.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Turkey | Joe Biden

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ISIL fighters pressed further towards Kobane
2014.10.05 02:15:46

ISIL fighters are reported to have pressed further towards Kobane, the Syrian border town near Turkey.

Our correspondent on the Turkish side of the border reports heavy shelling and gunfire today.Our sister channel AJ Arabic says that four US-led air attacks on ISIL stopped the group pushing into the town last night.

Here's our latest story.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State

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Aerial bombardment
2014.10.05 02:07:13

Activists say aerial bombardment with barrel bombs on the town of Saraqeb, in Idlib, targeting mosques, killed one man and caused huge destruction. The video purports to show one of the strikes.



Tags: Syria

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Tear gas on Turkey border
2014.10.05 01:53:00

Turkish military police has just used tear gas to disperse a group of Kurdish protesters who gathered at the Turkey-Syria border chanting slogans in support of Kobane, under attack from ISIL.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Turkey

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#Turkey to do 'everything' for Kobane not to fall
2014.10.04 01:32:54

Turkey will do whatever it can to prevent the Kurdish town of Kobane falling to ISIL, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said after the Turkish parliament gave the green light for military action.

ISIL has now advanced to a few kilometers from Kobane, known as Ain al-Arab in Arabic, which lies just across the Turkish border.

"We do not want Kobane to fall. We opened our arms to our brothers from Kobane," Davutoglu said in an interview with A Haber-ATV television. "We will do do whatever we can so that Kobane does not fall."

[AFP]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Turkey

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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.

[AFP]



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.

[AFP]



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.

[AFP]



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

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