Western women who join Islamic State militants are driven by the same ideological passion as many male recruits and should be seen as potentially dangerous cheerleaders, not victims, experts said Wednesday.
The Islamic State group has suffered "devastating" blows in Syria's Kobane and on several Iraqi fronts, but analysts warn such victories in the fight against the jihadists cannot be replicated everywhere.
Pulverised buildings, heavily armed fighters roaming otherwise deserted rubble-strewn streets: the ferocious battle for Kobane has left the Syrian border town in ruins, according to a team of AFP journalists who arrived there Wednesday.
Jordan offered Wednesday to exchange a female jihadist for a Jordanian pilot held by the Islamic State group, whose deadline for executing the airman and a Japanese journalist is thought to have passed.
Syrian opposition figures and representatives of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad began talks in Moscow Wednesday but there was little hope that they would make a breakthrough in ending the country's brutal war.
Israeli warplanes struck Syrian army targets on the Golan Heights early Wednesday hours after rockets hit the Israeli-held sector, in what the Jewish state said was "a clear message" to Damascus.
An Israeli rights group Wednesday criticised the government for what it called a deliberate policy of launching air strikes on homes that killed hundreds of civilians during last year's Gaza war.
The parents of a Japanese journalist and a Jordanian airman held by Islamic State militants made last-ditch pleas for their lives as a deadline for an exchange with a jihadi bomber neared Wednesday.
At least two rockets fired from Syria hit the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on Tuesday prompting Israeli forces to return fire, the army said.There were no immediate reports of casualties on the Israeli side.
Canadian special forces have twice exchanged gunfire with Islamic State fighters in Iraq since the first confirmed ground battle between Western troops and IS earlier this month, a senior officer said Monday.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday branded the murder of a Japanese hostage by Islamic State militants as "outrageous and unforgivable" and demanded the immediate release of a second captive, amid a tide of global revulsion.
Japan on Saturday vowed to "never give up" its struggle to save two Japanese hostages held captive by Islamic State militants after the deadline to pay their ransom passed in agonising silence.
The deadline set by Islamist militants threatening to kill two Japanese men unless they were given $200 million passed Friday, after one captive's mother made a desperate plea to save her son's life.
Top officials from the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group met in London on Thursday for the first talks since the Paris attacks with the threat posed by homegrown jihadists high on the agenda.