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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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Marine Corps to create Middle East crisis respons
2014.10.02 02:20:16

Report: Marine Corps to create Middle East crisis response unit in 2015

The Marine Corps will create a new land-based unit in the Middle East during fiscal 2015, designed to respond to crises in the region, including emergencies at embassies, the Marine Corps Times reported Thursday.

Stars and Stripes



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | United States

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Fighting around Kobane
2014.10.02 02:17:45

Activists in the the border town of Ain al-Arab said two shells landed there and 3 outside the town also known as Kobane, and there were no reports of casualties. Heavy clashes have been on in the western and southern suburb of Kobane.

Video released by YPG media office shows fighting around Kobane. The video was published today, but we can't specify the date of fighting.



Tags: Syria | Islamic State

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The US central command
2014.10.02 02:05:58

The US central command - which covers operations in the Middle East - says it has "stood up" a force of 2,300 marines to act as a crisis response force in its area of responsibility. It says that the plans for such a force began in 2013 and are not related to the campaign against ISIL.





Tags: Syria | Islamic State | United States | Iraq

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Army mistakenly dropped supplies to ISIL
2014.10.02 01:30:52

An Iraqi MP tonight said the government was investigating reports that its army had mistakenly dropped supplies of food, water and ammunition to ISIL troops in Anbar province.

The NBC network reported that the supplies were supposed to help besieged Iraqi troops in Shaqlawah and the village of al-Sijar.

It quoted Hakim al–Zamili, an Iraqi Shia MP, as saying: “Some pilots, instead of dropping these supplies over the area of the Iraqi army, threw it over the area that is controlled by ISIL fighters.

"Those soldiers were in deadly need of these supplies, but because of the wrong plans of the commanders in the Iraqi army and lack of experience of the pilots, we in a way or another helped ISIL fighters kill our soldiers,” al-Zamili said.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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