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Raids in Arsal confirmed
2014.09.26 01:07:35

According to the head of military intelligence in Lebanon's Bekaa, the army has carried out several raids inside Arsal. He confirms the raid on an informal refugee settlement reported further down on this blog and the detention of less than 100 Syrian men suspected of involvement in attacks against the Lebanese army.

He says skirmishes broke out among Syrians after the raid - related to some men's involvement in attacks and the consequences for other Syrians now feeling persecuted.



Tags: Syria | Lebanon

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French fighter jets struck targets in Iraq
2014.09.26 01:06:34

French fighter jets struck targets in Iraq this morning, government spokesman Stephane Le Foll says. The strikes were the first by French jets since September 19 when Paris joined the US military action against ISIL.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | France

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Update from the Turkish-Syrian border
2014.09.26 01:00:41

About 150,000 Kurds have fled to Turkey since fighting around Kobane (Ain al-Arab in Arabic) began last week. Some of the men have returned to fight against ISIL and around 400 people. mostly men, are now waiting on the Turkish side to cross back to Kobani. About 300 others are waiting on the Syrian side to cross into Turkey.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Turkey

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Sanctions against Russia
2014.09.26 00:59:22

Ukraine's prime minister has urged countries not to lift sanctions against Russia until his country regains control over its entire territory, including Crimea.

Ending a day of intense discussions over the growing global threat of extremist groups, Arseniy Yatsenyuk told the annual UN General Assembly of world leaders that "we know what terrorism means".

He demanded that Russia pull back its forces from eastern Ukraine, "stop the supply of Russian-led terrorists'' and start "real talks, peace talks."'

The months-long fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian forces has been another major theme of speeches at the global assembly this week.

[AP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | Crimea

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Car bombs in Mahmoudiyah
2014.09.26 00:58:02

A police source says that 13 people were killed after two consecutive car bombs blew up this morning in the mixed city of Mahmoudiyah, south of Baghdad.

The first bomb targeted the city council building, killing seven and injuring other 13. The second one blew up near Mahmoudiyah hospital, killing six and injuring nine.



Tags: Iraq

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Clashes continue around Kobane
2014.09.26 00:38:48

Activists from the Kurdish PYD party in Kobane say the town is in danger as ISIL fighters are around 2km away and clashes are ongoing.

ISIL now controls 75 percent of the Kobane region and PYD only controls Kobane town, the smaller town of Shera and around 15 villages.

The activists say Kurdish YPG fighters, collaborating with some Free Syrian Army groups, are pushing ISIL back on the eastern side of the town while other groups of YPG in Hasakah province are attacking the ISIL-held border town of Tal Abyad in an attempt to link Kobane to the Kurdish-majority region.

However, the lack of heavy weaponry prevents the YPG and allied forces from advancing or repelling ISIL.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State

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Interpol set up a new program
2014.09.26 00:37:37

Interpol has set up a new program to improve its sharing of information about foreign fighters who have traveled to fight in Iraq and Syria, US authorities has said.

The program is aimed at better monitoring and limiting the international movement of such fighters, the US Department of Justice said.

[Reuters]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States

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Ukraine's sovereign dollar bonds bounced
2014.09.26 00:35:45

Ukraine's sovereign dollar bonds bounced by about two cents across the curve after NATO said a "significant" withdrawal of Russian forces from inside Ukraine had been observed.

The bonds had fallen sharply as Ukraine's dire economic position prompted investors to start pricing in restructuring of the debt.

But markets were heartened by news of the troop withdrawal and by a finance ministry announcement that it planned to repay a maturing bond from state energy firm Naftogaz in full.

[Reuters]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia | NATO

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Arsal refugee settlement raided
2014.09.26 00:24:49

Lebanese army raided an informal camp for Syrian refugees inside Arsal this morning on suspicion that rebels were residing in camp, a security source says. A shootout between army and fighters resulted in the burning of a part of the camp which women and children reside in.

One Syrian fighter was killed and several others wounded. They were suspected of involvement in recent attacks on the army, according to the source.

Several Syrians were arrested.

The Nusra Front and ISIL-affiliated rebels are holding 22 Lebanese soldier and officers. One of the groups' demands to release the troops is the protection of Syrian refugees.



Tags: Syria | Lebanon | Islamic State

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ISIL fighters killed
2014.09.26 00:16:14

At least 14 ISIL fighters were killed in air strikes by US-led forces overnight in northeast Syria, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The strikes also killed at least five civilians, said Observatory director Rami Abdulrahman.

[Reuters]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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#Qatar urged the international community to confront the Syrian regime
2014.09.26 00:06:19

Qatar urged the international community to confront the Syrian regime, highlighting pressure by some of Washington's Gulf Arab allies to widen its campaign against the self-declared jihadist Islamic State in Iraq and Levant (ISIL) group.

Qatar is among five Arab nations including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Bahrain that joined in or supported US-led airstrikes against ISIL targets in Syria beginning late on Monday. US officials said Qatar's role consisted mostly of logistical support.

"The war of genocide being waged and the deliberate displacement carried out by the regime remain the major crime," Qatar's ruler, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, told the UN General Assembly in New York.

The US has said its military campaign will not target the Syrian government and instead will focus on the ISIL, which has seized a third of both Iraq and Syria and seeks to establish a caliphate in the Middle East.

[Reuters]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | Qatar

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Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm John Kirby
2014.09.25 04:53:11

US Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm John Kirby has just said:

I can confirm that U.S. military and Arab partner forces are undertaking additional strikes today against ISIL terrorists in Syria. These operations are ongoing, so we will not provide additional details at this time. We will do so later as operationally appropriate.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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Foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria
2014.09.25 04:42:08

Members of the UN Security Council have unanimously approved a binding resolution on stemming the flow of foreign fighters to Iraq and Syria.

The US-drafted resolution adopted on Wednesday requires all countries to adopt laws that would make it a serious crime for their nationals to join self-declared jihadist groups such as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front.

The resolution is under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which makes it legally binding for the 193 UN member states and

gives the Security Council authority to enforce decisions with economic sanctions or force.

It generally targets fighters traveling to conflicts anywhere in the world. It does not mandate military force to tackle the foreign fighter issue.



Tags: Iraq | Syria | Islamic State

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#Pentagon says it is still investigating if #Khorasan leader was killed in #Syria
2014.09.25 04:36:07

The Pentagon said it was still investigating whether US strikes in Syria on Tuesday killed a leader of the al Qaeda-linked Khorasan group, adding that it could take time to determine.

"We just don't have a confirmation to make at this point," said Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren.

"We don't have personnel on the ground to verify, so we're continuing to assess."

The Reuters news agency quoted a US official earlier on Wednesday saying the United States believed one of those killed in the strike against the group was Mohsin al-Fadhli, who the US government has identified as a al-Qaeda financier close to al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.  

[Reuters]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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#Syria army 'hits Islamic State in country's north'
2014.09.25 04:34:41

The Syrian army destroyed Islamic State positions northeast of the northern city of Aleppo, state media said, after US-led forces carried out air strikes against the group for a second day.

Syrian state television said the military hit Islamic State fighter between the towns of al-Bab and al-Qabasein and had "eliminated a number of terrorists".

After the US-led coalition began its strikes on Tuesday, the Syrian government said it would continue to confront Islamic State and other fighters.

[Reuters]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State

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Obama called on the world to join the US-led coalition
2014.09.25 04:33:03

President Barack Obama called on the world to join the US-led coalition to defeat the fighters in Iraq and Syria.

Obama told the UN General Assembly:

The United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death. Today I ask the world to join in this effort.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Iraq

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US strike in Syria has killed Mohsin al-Fadhli
2014.09.25 04:31:41

The United States believes that a US strike in Syria has killed Mohsin al-Fadhli, the leader of a group of al-Qaeda group known as Khorasan, a US official told the Reuters news agency on Wednesday.

"We believe he is dead," the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

US officials have said the al-Qaeda-linked group posed an immediate threat to the West and had been nearing the execution of a plot against US or European targets.

[Reuters]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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ISIL had responded to the US-led air strikes
2014.09.25 04:30:44

Syrian Kurds said Islamic State (ISIL) had responded to the US-led air strikes by sending more tanks and fighters into an assault near the Turkish border in the north, where nearly 140,000 civilians have fled in recent days in the fastest exodus yet.

The advance on the town of Kobani is a reminder of the difficulty Washington is likely to face in defeating fighters in Syria, where it lacks strong military allies on the ground.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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US-led air strikes against militants are going in the 'right direction'
2014.09.25 04:29:33

A Syrian government minister said US-led air strikes against militants are going in the "right direction" because the government had been informed before they started and they were not hitting civilians or Syrian military targets.

Syria is still watching all developments with caution, Ali Haidar, minister for national reconciliation, told Reuters on Wednesday after US warplanes pounded Islamic State positions in a second day of attacks.

"As for the raids in Syria, I say that what has happened so far is proceeding in the right direction in terms of informing the Syrian government and by not targeting Syrian military installations and not targeting civilians," he said.

"Notification of the Syrian government happened," he said.

"Confirmation that they would not target Syrian military installations, and confirmation they would not target civilians happened."

[Reuters]



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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Statement from the US military
2014.09.25 04:28:16

"US military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Iraq and Syria, using a mix of attack, bomber and fighter aircraft to conduct five air strikes Tuesday and today.

Two air strikes west of Baghdad destroyed two ISIL armed vehicles and a weapons cache. Two air strikes southeast of Irbil destroyed ISIL fighting positions. A fifth air strike damaged eight ISIL vehicles in Syria northwest of Al-Qa'im. All aircraft exited the strike areas safely.

The strikes were conducted as part of the president's comprehensive strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL.

To date, US Central Command has conducted 198 air strikes across Iraq against ISIL. Along with partner nations, US Central Command has also conducted 20 air strikes across Syria against ISIL."



Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States

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