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On the pretext of fighting terrorism
2014.09.14 03:21:17

The secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council accused the United States on Saturday of violating the sovereignty of nations on the "pretext of fighting terrorism" in Iraq and Syria.

"On the pretext of fighting terrorism, the United States want to pursue their unilateral policies and violate the sovereignty of states," Ali Shamkhani said, quoted by the official IRNA news agency.

On the other hand, the speaker of parliament, Ali Larijani, warned the US that launching strikes against Iran's ally Syria as part of its campaign against the fighters of the Islamic State group would be "playing with fire".

[AFP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States | Syria | Iran

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Syrian troops pound central village amid offensive
2014.09.14 03:06:36

Syrian jets and helicopter gunships have reportedly struck several targets in war-torn Hama in what appears to be preparations for a ground offensive on the rebel stronghold.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said Syrian fighter jets conducted at least eight airstrikes on the town of Kfar Zeita in Hama province. It had no word on casualties.

A Hama-based activist who goes by the name of Yazan Shahdawi said that by the afternoon there had been about 20 strikes, as well as artillery shelling.

Saturday's bombardment of the central town came two days after government forces captured the nearby town of Halfaya.

[Associated Press]



Tags: Syria

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Kerry held talks in Egypt
2014.09.14 03:04:50

Secretary of State John Kerry held talks in Egypt on Saturday on the latest leg of a regional tour aimed at forging a coalition for a US-led war on jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

Egypt's formidable army is unlikely to take part in military action against the Islamic State fighters, but it has closely cooperated with the United States on counter-terrorism.

[AFP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States | Syria | John Kerry | Egypt

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Gunmen kidnap Lebanese civilian near Syria border
2014.09.14 02:50:51

Gunmen have kidnapped a Lebanese civilian in Arsal, a month after jihadists from Syria clashed with the Lebanese army in the restive border town, a security source said.

The abduction comes weeks after another civilian was kidnapped and later killed by jihadists, who accused him of "collaborating" with Hezbollah, which has deployed thousands of troops in Syria alongside President Bashar al-Assad's troops.

The clashes and kidnappings in Arsal have sent tensions in Lebanon soaring, with a series of tit-for-tat cases of hostage-taking occurring last week in the eastern Bekaa valley.

[AFP]



Tags: Syria | Lebanon

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Iraq PM orders halt to shelling of civilian areas
2014.09.14 02:49:49

Iraq's prime minister has ordered the army to stop shelling populated areas held by Islamic State (IS) fighters in order to spare the lives of "innocent victims" as the armed forces struggle to retake cities and towns seized by the Islamic State extremist group this summer.

"I issued this order two days ago because we do not want to see more innocent victims falling in the places and provinces controlled by Daesh," Haider al-Abbadi told a news conference in Baghdad on Saturday, referring to the Islamic State group by its Arabic acronym.

He accused IS of using civilians as a human shield to stop the advance of Iraqi security forces. But he vowed to continue military operations against the al-Qaeda breakaway group, which seized large territories in the north and west in an unprecedented June offensive.

"We will continue to chase them (IS fighters) and we know that they are hiding behind the civilians," he added.

[Associated Press]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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Kerry says #Iran has no place
2014.09.14 02:37:56

US Secretary of State John Kerry says Iran has no place in its coalition to fight the Islamic State group, a day after Barack Obama said the US would strike the fighters in Syria.

Read our full report here.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | John Kerry | Iran

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US House of Representatives
2014.09.14 02:36:02

The Republican leader of the US House of Representatives on Friday promised Iraq's prime minister that the House will provide the new government in Baghdad the assistance necessary U.S. to defeat Islamic fighters

[AP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States

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The family of journalist, James Foley
2014.09.14 02:28:33

The family of journalist, James Foley, who was murdered by the Islamic State group say US authorities threatened them with terror charges if they paid a ransom to his kidnappers to secure his release.

Read more here.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | James Foley

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US action in Iraq
2014.09.14 02:25:47

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Friday US action in Iraq, where Islamic State fighters have seized swathes of territory, was necessary but would not be enough on its own to bring about political stability.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States | Turkey

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Two bombs went off in Baghdad's districts of Karrada
2014.09.13 03:29:05

14 people were killed and injured on Friday when two bombs went off in Baghdad's districts of Karrada and Zafaraniya.

Meanwhile Haider Abadi , general commander of the Iraqi armed forces, announced the arrest of a criminal network responsible for the recent bombing in the capital and a number of provinces, stressing on activating the intelligence to eliminate terrorism.



Tags: Iraq

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General John Allen to coordinate international efforts to fight Islamic State
2014.09.13 03:07:23

President Barack Obama has chosen retired Marine Corps General John Allen, who served as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to coordinate international efforts to fight Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, a US official said on Friday.

The official said he would be named as the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition against ISIL, the acronym the administration used for the Sunni Islamist movement.



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

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France has delivered four arms shipments to Iraq
2014.09.13 03:05:41

President Hollande said that France has delivered four arms shipments and 66 tons of humanitarian aid to Iraq.



Tags: Iraq | France

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Fighters who fought with rebel groups returned to France
2014.09.13 02:50:59

Around 100 fighters who fought with rebel groups in Syria and Iraq have returned to France, requiring "massive" resources for surveillance and other security measures to prevent attacks, a French lawmaker said on Friday.

Some of them are in jail, others are under judicial surveillance, we have material evidence showing that a number of those who have returned from Syria could potentially have gone ahead to commit attacks."

-Socialist lawmaker Sebastien Pietrasanta



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Syria | France

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Valerie Amos arrived in Erbil
2014.09.13 02:48:50

Valerie Amos, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, arrived in Erbil on a Four day visit to discuss the situation of Iraqi displaced people.



Tags: Iraq

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Ahrar Al-Sham pledging allegiance
2014.09.13 02:47:36

This video uploaded to YouTube shows fighters from Ahrar Al-Sham pledging allegiance to their new leader, Abu Jaber.

MWC cannot independently verify the content of the video.



Tags: Syria | Ahrar al-Sham

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France had agreed to join airstrikes against Islamic State
2014.09.13 02:32:32

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Friday that France had agreed to join airstrikes against Islamic State insurgents at a meeting held during a visit to the country by President Francois Hollande.

President Francois Hollande also said that France is ready to step up military assistance for Iraq, as global efforts intensified to defeat Islamic State fighters.

[Reuters]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | France

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Syrian troops capture strategic town in Hama
2014.09.13 02:31:31

The Syrian army says it has captured a strategic town from the Nusra Front, dealing a blow to the al-Qaeda-linked group that has been trying to open new fronts after losing ground to Islamic State.

The military said it retook the town of Halfaya in Hama province, driving back an offensive that had threatened several loyalist towns, populated mostly by minority Christians and Alawites.

In a statement, the army said it had taken complete control of Halfaya and surrounding areas after soldiers, "eliminated large numbers of terrorists... and destroyed a large number of their vehicles and weapons".

The army said it had also taken control of Khattab and other areas close to Hama military airport.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which tracks the war, said dozens of fighters on both sides had been killed since government forces and allied fighters launched their counter offensive.

Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Observatory, said the Nusra Front fighters had staged a sudden withdrawal from Halfaya.

"In the last week they called in other fighters because they couldn't continue," he said by telephone.

The gains help shore up government control in a key corridor of territory stretching north from Damascus to the coast including the heartlands of the minority Alawite sect which forms President Bashar al-Assad's power base.

[Reuters]



Tags: Syria

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Germany to send 40 military trainers to Iraq
2014.09.13 02:29:07

Germany to send 40 military trainers to Iraq to instruct Kurds in weapons use. [AP]



Tags: Iraq | Germany

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Kerry announced on Friday nearly $500 million in humanitarian aid
2014.09.13 02:28:02

US Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Friday nearly $500 million in humanitarian aid for people and countries hit by Syria's civil war.

The aid package includes more than $250 million "to assist refugees and host communities in the neighboring countries affected by the crisis," Kerry said in a statement.

Some 3 million Syrian refugees have registered in neighboring countries, according to the United Nations, but many remain trapped by the advance of Islamist militants or are having difficulty reaching open border crossings.

The UN refugee agency said two weeks ago that almost half of all Syrians had now been forced to leave their homes by the conflict, with 6.5 million thought to be displaced within Syria.



Tags: Syria | United States | John Kerry

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Turkey refused to join its Arab neighbors against IS group
2014.09.13 02:12:40

Turkey has refused to join its Arab neighbors in their public pledge to unite against IS group via  a coordinated military campaign.

Despite attending the talks, Turkey was not mentioned in the communique, an omission attributed by a senior Turkish official to sensitivities about 46 Turkish hostages held by the fighters.

Countries wiling to cooperate in the agreement to fight against IS are Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, as are Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Syria | Turkey

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