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Czechs to train Iraqi helicopter pilots
2014.09.18 02:00:50

The Czech Defense Ministry said it has signed a deal with Iraq to provide training to 31 helicopter pilots from the Iraqi air force.

The ministry said the training in the Czech city of Pardubice will take 12 months and is scheduled to start early next year.

The ministry has already agreed to sell to Iraq 15 Czech-made L-159 light combat planes, and the Czech government has approved a plan to provide the Kurdish military with 500 metric tons of ammunition to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant armed group.

The delivery of the ammunition begins Thursday. [AP]



Tags: Iraq

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Clashes in Ukraine protest over corruption bill
2014.09.18 01:59:52

Ukrainian riot police fired tear gas on a group of about 200 demonstrators protesting outside parliament to demand the adoption of a so-called lustration law.

At least one activist from the Right Sector nationalist group was injured in the brief clashes, which saw protesters - some masked - set tyres ablaze in Kiev.

Lawmakers agreed - after several failed attempts - to adopt a law aimed at purging government officials accused of corruption or links to the old pro-Kremlin regime.

[AFP]



Tags: Ukraine

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Al-Abbadi has say that foreign ground troops are 'not necessary'
2014.09.18 01:48:43

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abbadi has said that foreign ground troops are "not necessary" in fight against the armed group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Abbadi also said that Iran's absence from Paris meeting on fighting ISIL is "puzzling."



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Iran

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US businessman illegally export chemical warfare detection devices to Syria
2014.09.18 01:37:05

A US businessman has acknowledged conspiring to illegally export chemical warfare detection devices and lab equipment to Syria.

Harold Rinko, of Hallstead, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Scranton. He faces up to five years in prison.

Sanctions imposed by the US in 2004 banned all exports to Syria, except food and medicine. But authorities allege Rinko and two foreign citizens shipped goods to Syria through other countries for nine years.

Prosecutors say Rinko used his company as a front to acquire instruments that detect and classify chemical weapons.

The three men were charged in 2012. The status of the other two defendants was not immediately clear.

Investigators don't know who ultimately used the equipment in Syria, which is now engulfed in a civil war.

[AP]



Tags: Syria | United States

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German Muslims invite all faiths to pray against ISIL
2014.09.17 03:50:10

More than 2,000 German mosques have invited Germans of all religions to join their Friday prayers to present a united front against ISIL to try to dissuade young Muslims from traveling to fight in Syria and Iraq.

Germany's four main Muslim groups announced their plan on Tuesday in response to concerns that German Muslims are joining ISIL and returning home with radical ideas and combat experience, posing a domestic security threat.

"We want to make clear terrorists and criminals do not speak in the name of Islam, they have trampled on the commandments of our religion, and that murderers and criminals have no place in our ranks, in our religion," the head of the Central Council of Muslims, Aiman Mazyek, said.

The groups are also organising peace rallies across Germany on the same day which senior officials, including Interior Minister de Maiziere and Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit, are expected to attend.

[Reuters]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Germany | Iraq

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Kurdish peshmerga forces recaptured Christian villages
2014.09.17 02:50:30

Kurdish peshmerga forces recaptured seven Christian villages in northern Iraq in clashes with ISIL group, an officer and a cleric said.

Tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians, most of them Chaldeans, fled their homes when ISIL fighters launched a renewed drive in the north in early August.

[Source: AFP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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Decisive action against ISIL fighters
2014.09.17 02:49:27

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday urged countries that are capable to take decisive action against ISIL fighters, who have taken over large swaths of Iraq and Syria.

"I ... urge the international community, and those with the means, to act decisively and after sober reflection," Ban told reporters on the subject of Islamic State. "It is critical to keep at the forefront the protection of civilians."

[Source: Reuters]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Ban Ki-moon | Syria

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Iraq's national security adviser meets with Syrian President
2014.09.17 02:47:57

Iraq's national security adviser Faleh al-Fayad meets with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to talk about the threat of ISIL, Syrian State TV reports.

[Source: RTV]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Syria

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The parliamentary vote
2014.09.17 02:46:48

Reports say that the parliamentary vote on Prime Minister Haider al-Abaddi's nominees for defense and interior ministers has been postponed until Thursday.

It was reported earlier that Abaddi had nominated Sunni politician Jaber al-Jabberi as defense minister, and Riyad Ghareeb, a Shia member of parliament, as interior minister.

However, sources say that due to "lack of consensus" on the nominees, the vote was postponed.



Tags: Iraq | Haider al-Abbadi

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Obama's plan to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels
2014.09.17 02:34:24

The US House of Representatives have begun debating legislation to authorize President Obama's plan to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels to fight ISIL, and lawmakers said the measure would likely pass the full Congress by the end of this week.

[Reuters]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Barack Obama

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Al-Abaddi has completed his Cabinet
2014.09.17 02:33:06

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abaddi has completed his Cabinet and named his defense and interior ministers, as he tries to consolidate his authority amid continuing threat from the the armed group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Sources from Abaddi's government said on Tuesday that the prime minister will nominate Sunni politician Jaber al-Jabberi as defense minister, and Riyad Ghareeb, a Shia member of parliament, as interior minister.



Tags: Iraq | Haider al-Abbadi

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Poisoning due to measles vaccination
2014.09.17 02:18:38

In the Idlib countryside, at least five children have died and 50 are suffering from poisoning due to measles vaccination, according to the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights.



Tags: Syria

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Iraqi parliament debate
2014.09.17 02:15:57

The Iraqi parliament is due to debate who should fill two of the top jobs in the government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abbadi.

The posts of defense and interior ministers are crucial in bringing about political stability in Iraq - and with it the unity needed for reconciliation after years of exclusionary policies.

Abbadi is trying to overcome the distrust many Sunnis feel for the Shia-led central government in Baghdad.



Tags: Iraq

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Landmark agreement with the EU
2014.09.17 02:14:56

Members of the Ukrainian parliament has ratified a landmark agreement with the EU, pivoting their country towards the West over half a year after its pro-Russian leader was overthrown from power as a result of mass anti-government protests.

The development comes as a ceasefire agreement with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine, signed earlier this month in the Belarusian capital Minsk, has been riddled with violations from the start.

[Agencies]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | European Union

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Turkey mulls buffer zone along its border with Syria, Iraq
2014.09.17 02:02:58

Turkey's military is mulling the prospect of establishing a buffer zone along its border with Syria and Iraq amid an escalating threat posed by Islamic State fighters, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

"The TSK (Turkish Armed Forces) are working on plans and will present them to us and we will decide if it is necessary," Erdogan was quoted as saying by the Hurriyet newspaper and other media, when asked about the possibility of a buffer zone being established.

A government official confirmed that Turkey was devising plans for a buffer zone along the volatile border.

"The general staff is carrying out inspections whether a buffer zone could be viable but there is nothing concrete yet," the official told AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.[AFP]



Tags: Syria | Iraq | Turkey

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Shia cleric threatens to attack US forces if they return to Iraq
2014.09.17 01:58:40

Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr has threatened to target US forces if they return to Iraq.

In a statement written in Arabic and posted on his website, Sadr said:

"The black house has decided to attack our Iraqi holy lands -- this decision is apparently based upon its regret to pull out superficially from Iraq in the first place.

"I say to you (Americans) if you came back, we will come back to you and the victory will be for us."

Sadr also warned the Iraqi government not to seek help from the US saying, "seeking the help from the oppressors, over the oppressed is forbidden. "



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States | Moqtada al-Sadr

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Renewed shelling in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk
2014.09.17 01:56:38

Three civilians has been killed in renewed shelling in the Ukrainian rebel-held city of Donetsk on Monday despite a ceasefire, the local authority has said.

Another five people were injured, city hall said in a statement, without giving further details. Another six civilians were killed in heavy fighting in Donetsk on Sunday.

[AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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IS shoots down Syria warplane over Raqqa
2014.09.17 01:41:57

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group says Islamic State fighters have shot down a Syrian government warplane in eastern Raqqa.

Eight people were killed when the plane wreckage hit a residential building on Tuesday, the Britain-based group said.

"IS fighters fired on a military aircraft which crashed."It is the first aircraft shot down since the regime launched air strikes against the jihadists in July following their declaration of a caliphate in late June."

Raqqa is the sole provincial capital entirely out of government control.

Meanwhile, government warplanes launched several attacks targeting Raqqa that resulted in several people being killed and injured, the Syrian Observatory said

The activist video below purportedly shows the government warplane over Raqqa.

MWC cannot independently verify the video.  [AFP]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State

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US state department document
2014.09.17 01:31:02

The US state department has released a document updating the situation within the coalition. We thought we'd share it. The yellow bits are highlighted by the department as additions to the list as of Sept 12.





Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States

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16 civilians were killed by barrel bombs
2014.09.16 02:51:10

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 16 civilians were killed as government forces dropped barrel bombs on the town of Talbisa in Homs province.

Meanwhile the Observatory also said 6 people were killed in Ghouta outside of Damascus.



Tags: Syria

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