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Turkey to step up offensive against Islamic State, 300 commandos enter Syria

Updated : Dec 09, 2016

By : AFP

Category : World

Turkey to step up offensive against Islamic State, 300 commandos enter Syria

Turkey is sending hundreds of commandos to reinforce its military campaign inside Syria, where the Turkish army has suffered increasing casualties in its fight to capture a key town from Islamic State jihadists. #World #Syria #NewsTracker #Turkey #Bashar al-Assad #Iraq #islamic-state #ISIS
US-led coalition killed at least 50,000 Islamic State jihadists in Iraq, Syria

Updated : Dec 09, 2016

By : AFP

Category : World

US-led coalition killed at least 50,000 Islamic State jihadists in Iraq, Syria

At least 50,000 Islamic State jihadists have been killed by the US-led coalition since it began operations in Iraq and Syria in late 2014, a senior US military official has said #Syria #NewsTracker #US Army #Bashar al-Assad #Iraq #Mosul #islamic-state #IS #Raqa #US coalition against Islamic State #Daesh
U.S., Russia to extend talks on ceasefire for Aleppo - State Department | Reuters

Updated : Dec 09, 2016

By : Reuters

Category : World

U.S., Russia to extend talks on ceasefire for Aleppo - State Department | Reuters

WASHINGTON U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke by phone on Thursday about the situation in Aleppo and agreed to keep discussing a ceasefire to allow aid delivery and the departure of anyone who wants to leave the embattled city, the State Department said.The phone call was in addition to a brief meeting the two men had on Thursday on the sidelines of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe conference in Hamburg, Germany, and a meeting on Wednesday evening also in Hamburg."They agreed to continue discussions about establishing a framework for a ceasefire that will allow the delivery of aid, desperately needed humanitarian aid, as well as the safe departure of those who wish to leave the city," State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau told a briefing. She said Lavrov had announced technical discussions in Geneva on Saturday, but the specific nature of those talks was still being worked out #United States #India #Business #Syria #Middle East #crisis #lifestyle
U.S. estimates 50,000 Islamic State fighters killed so far - U.S. official | Reuters

Updated : Dec 09, 2016

By : Reuters

Category : World

U.S. estimates 50,000 Islamic State fighters killed so far - U.S. official | Reuters

WASHINGTON The U.S. military believes that some 50,000 Islamic State fighters have been killed since the United States started battling the group more than two years ago, a senior U.S. military official said on Thursday, calling it a "conservative estimate."The official, who spoke to Pentagon reporters on condition of anonymity, said the figure showed how the United States was effectively combating the group with U.S.-led coalition airpower and limited U.S #United States #Economy #Syria #Argentina #crisis #Entertainment #article
Iraqi troops retreat after Mosul hospital battle | Reuters

Updated : Dec 08, 2016

By : Reuters

Category : World

Iraqi troops retreat after Mosul hospital battle | Reuters

By Ahmed Rasheed and Saif Hameed | BAGHDAD BAGHDAD Iraqi troops who seized a hospital deep inside Mosul believed to be used as an Islamic State military base have retreated after a fierce counter-attack, giving up some of their biggest gains in a hard-fought seven-week campaign to recapture the city.The soldiers seized Salam hospital, less than a mile (1.5 km) from the Tigris river running through central Mosul, on Tuesday but pulled back the next day after they were hit by six suicide car bombs and "heavy enemy fire", according to a statement by the U.S.-led coalition supporting Iraqi forces.Coalition warplanes, at Iraq's request, also struck a building inside the hospital complex from which the militants were firing machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades, it said.Tuesday's rapid advance into the Wahda neighbourhood where the hospital is located marked a change of tactics after a month of gruelling fighting in east Mosul, in which the army has sought to capture and clear neighbourhoods block by block.The soldiers are part of a U.S.-backed 100,000-strong coalition of Iraqi forces including the army, federal police, Kurdish peshmerga fighters and mainly Shi'ite Popular Mobilisation forces battling to crush Islamic State in Mosul.Defeating the militants in their Iraq stronghold would mark a major step in rolling back the caliphate declared by the jihadists in parts of Syria and Iraq when they took over Mosul in mid-2014.But with two years to dig themselves into northern Iraq's largest city, retreating fighters have waged a lethal defence, deploying hundreds of suicide car bombers, mortar barrages and snipers against the advancing soldiers and exploiting a network of tunnels to ambush them in residential areas."GATES OF HELL" Soldiers from the army's Ninth Armoured division were left exposed on Tuesday after punching into the Wahda neighbourhood. #United States #Syria #Army #Iran #Turkey #crisis #lifestyle
Syrian army's Aleppo advance slows but victory in sight | Reuters

Updated : Dec 08, 2016

By : Reuters

Category : World

Syrian army's Aleppo advance slows but victory in sight | Reuters

By Laila Bassam and John Davison | ALEPPO, Syria/BEIRUT ALEPPO, Syria/BEIRUT The Syrian army's advance in Aleppo slowed on Thursday but a victory was still firmly in sight after President Bashar al-Assad vowed that retaking the nation's second city would change the course of the six-year civil war in his favour.Lightning gains in recent days in which government forces and their allies recaptured Aleppo's historic Old City lost some momentum in the face of stiff rebel resistance but the Syrian leadership was confident.Assad has long sought to seize divided Aleppo which would put him in control of Syria's major cities, the south, central spine and western flank bordering the Mediterranean, dealing a devastating blow to rebels who have fought to unseat him.Outside of Aleppo, the government and its allies are also putting severe pressure on remaining rebel redoubts. Assad said in an interview with a Syrian newspaper that victory in Aleppo would be a landmark, but not the end of the war.The rebels on Wednesday called for an immediate five-day ceasefire and the evacuation of civilians and wounded, but gave no indication they were ready to withdraw, as demanded by Damascus and its ally Moscow."In the past several days an intensive document exchange on the situation in Aleppo has taken place," the Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying."We are close to reaching an understanding, but I want to warn against high expectations," he said.U.S. #India #Business #Syria #Europe #markets #Argentina
Aleppo displaced hide out in last rebel districts as army closes in | Reuters

Updated : Dec 08, 2016

By : Reuters

Category : World

Aleppo displaced hide out in last rebel districts as army closes in | Reuters

By John Davison | BEIRUT BEIRUT Years of siege conditions mean the citizens living in rebel-held parts of Aleppo are accustomed to danger, fear and tragedy. But as the Syrian army close in on the ruined streets of the Old City, they face some unbearable choices."I feel this is the end," Reem, a mother of two children, said via patchy internet connection from a rebel held district of the historic city centre. Cold and a lack of water had made her children ill and the family was surviving on one meal a day."We've long accepted that if we die we die, from barrel bombs and so on, but now we're scared that the army will come in and take my husband."The options facing Reem and others caught up in the rapid government advance are bleak: men of fighting age could be arrested whether they stay put or head to government-held districts. #United States #India #Syria #Middle East #Russia #United Kingdom #graphics
Syrians leaving east Aleppo in bus loads - U.N. | Reuters

Updated : Dec 07, 2016

By : Reuters

Category : World

Syrians leaving east Aleppo in bus loads - U.N. | Reuters

GENEVA More Syrians have fled eastern Aleppo, with reports of about 800 arriving in the past 24 hours at a disused cotton factory in the Jibreen district of west Aleppo and 1,260 in Hanano district, retaken by government forces, a U.N. official said on Wednesday.Bus loads of civilians continue to arrive in government-controlled areas of the city and leave for other sites or to lodge with family members, the U.N. #Syria #Middle East #Europe #markets #crisis #Foreign policy
Rebels seek ceasefire with Syrian army closer to retaking Aleppo | Reuters

Updated : Dec 07, 2016

By : Reuters

Category : World

Rebels seek ceasefire with Syrian army closer to retaking Aleppo | Reuters

By Lisa Barrington and Tom Perry | BEIRUT BEIRUT Syrian rebels in besieged eastern Aleppo called on Wednesday for an immediate five-day ceasefire and the evacuation of civilians and wounded, but gave no indication they were ready to withdraw as demanded by Damascus and Moscow.The Syrian army and allied forces have made rapid gains against insurgents in the past two weeks and look closer than ever to restoring full control over Aleppo, Syria's most populous city before the war, and achieving their most important victory of the conflict now in its sixth year.In a statement, the rebels called for talks about the future of the city once the humanitarian situation has been improved, but made no mention of evacuating fighters who are defending an ever shrinking area of eastern Aleppo. Syria and Russia, which supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, have said they want rebels to leave Aleppo and will not consider a ceasefire unless that happens."It's been a tragedy here for a long time, but I've never seen this kind of pressure on the city - you can't rest for even five minutes, the bombardment is constant," a resident said."Any movement in the streets and there is bombardment (on that area) immediately," said the east Aleppo resident contacted by Reuters, who declined to be identifiedRetaking Aleppo would also be a success for President Vladimir Putin who intervened to save Moscow's ally in September 2015 with air strikes, and for Shi'ite Iran, whose elite Islamic Republic Guard Corps has suffered casualties fighting for Assad.The government now appears closer to victory than at any point since 2012, the year after rebels took up arms to overthrow Assad in a war that has killed hundreds of thousands of people, made more than half of Syrians homeless and created the world's worst refugee crisis.Outside of Aleppo, the government and its allies are also putting severe pressure on remaining rebel redoubts. #Syria #France #Europe #Iran #Iraq #crisis
Austria to fine or jail migrants who lie to authorities | Reuters

Updated : Dec 06, 2016

By : Reuters

Category : World

Austria to fine or jail migrants who lie to authorities | Reuters

VIENNA Austria plans to jail or fine asylum seekers who lie to the authorities, a move aimed partly at dissuading migrants from trying to settle, it said on Tuesday.The cabinet agreed on a draft law that would allow the authorities to punish asylum applicants who lie about their identities - for example by pretending to be Syrian so their claims have a better chance of being accepted - with a fine of up to 5,000 euros ($5,373) or three weeks in jail.Those who stay in Austria despite being ordered to leave face fines of between 5,000 and 15,000 euros or six weeks in jail, said the conservative People's Party (OVP), which is in coalition with the Social Democrats (SPO).The centrist government has this year tightened migration laws. The anti-immigrant Freedom Party (FPO), whose candidate Norbert Hofer made it to Sunday's presidential election run-off, has been leading opinion polls with around 33 percent for months."Certainly these (measures) have in part a signalling effect," OVP junior economy minister, Harald Mahrer, said when asked if the law was designed to scare off migrants. "What kind of rule of law would we have in the republic if we said we do not punish these things?"The bill needs the approval of parliament #Syria #Afghanistan #Europe #markets #Crime #Sweden #Austria