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As time runs out, Washington ready to help with jihadist repatriation

Washington - The United States is ready to help countries repatriate Islamic State jihadists detained in Syria but time is of the essence and Washington insists that ultimately it is up to their home governments to come up with solutions.

French guns on Iraq border aim to pin down IS diehards inside Syria

Sulaymaniyah - French howitzer-guns deployed in the Euphrates Valley desert just inside Iraq stand ready to pour fury on Islamic State group diehards in their last holdout across the border in Syria.

Deal with Syria regime 'inevitable': Kurdish commander

Oguz - A deal between Damascus and Syria's Kurds over their autonomous region in the country's north is "inevitable", a senior Kurdish military official said on Saturday, insisting that Kurdish forces should remain in the area.

French defence minister in Jordan to visit troops fighting IS

Apo - France's defence minister arrived in Jordan on Monday to visit troops battling the Islamic State group, showing Paris's determination to continue the fight after a shock US decision to withdraw from Syria.

US defense chief quits as Trump pulls from Syria, Afghanistan

Washington - US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned Thursday, leading a chorus of protests at home and abroad after President Donald Trump who ordered a complete troop pullout from Syria and a significant withdrawal from Afghanistan.

War on jihadists won't end unless West tackles root causes: experts

Washington - Western powers fighting Islamist groups around the globe are condemned to a never-ending battle if they only tackle the symptoms and not the underlying causes of jihadist insurgency, experts say.

UN authorizes Syria aid deliveries for another year

New York - The UN Security Council on Thursday approved a one-year extension of humanitarian aid deliveries across war-scarred Syria.The move came despite reluctance from Russia, which called to amend the period to six months.

Islamic State not defeated, just transforming: experts

Washington - Even as the last pockets of resistance in eastern Syria hold their ground, the Islamic State group is shapeshifting into a new, but no less dangerous, underground form, experts warn.

Mass graves found near ex-IS stronghold: Syria state media

Damascus - Seven mass graves containing hundreds of unidentified bodies have been unearthed near the former Islamic State group stronghold of Albu Kamal in eastern Syria, official news agency SANA said.

Syrian refugee volunteer accused of helping migrants freed on bail: lawyer

Atenas - A Greek court has agreed to release Syrian refugee Sarah Mardini, once lauded for helping to save people in a sinking dinghy at sea, who was detained in August accused of helping illicit migrant networks, her lawyer said Tuesday.

US sanctions Iran for shipping oil to Syria

Washington - The US slapped fresh sanctions on Iran Tuesday, accusing it of creating a complex web of Russian cut-out companies and Syrian intermediaries to ship oil to Damascus, which in turn bankrolled Hezbollah and Hamas.

UN humanitarian chief seeks extension of aid to civilians in Syria

New York - The United Nation's top humanitarian affairs official appealed to the Security Council Monday for continued aid deliveries to Syria's civilian population across borders and through front lines, despite Russia's growing opposition.

Canada to resettle group of Syrian White Helmets

Ottawa - Canada is preparing to welcome a group of Syrian White Helmets rescuers, officials said on Friday, without specifying when they will be resettled.

Israel air force chief in Moscow for plane downing meeting

Moscow - Israel's air force commander held a "transparent discussion" with Russian officials in Moscow on Thursday, the Israeli army said, after a Russian warplane was downed by Syria earlier in the week following Israeli air strikes.

Iraq hosts military chiefs from Iran, Russia and Syria

Baghdad - Senior Iraqi military commanders hosted their Russian, Iranian and Syrian counterparts in Baghdad on Saturday to discuss security cooperation and information-sharing in the Middle East, where the Islamic State group continues to carry out attacks.

US warnings ring hollow as it braces for Assad victory, say experts

Washington - The United States appears resigned to the likelihood of a final military victory by Syrian government forces, even as it warns Bashar al-Assad and Moscow against launching a major offensive in the rebel-held northwest, analysts say.

Exiled Syrian actress who took on Assad buried in France

Dourdan - May Skaf, a prominent Syrian actress and activist who emerged as a fiercely outspoken critic of President Bashar al-Assad's regime after the uprising began in 2011, was buried Friday in France, where she had fled after being freed from prison.

Transgender Syrian Katia finds refuge in Berlin

Berlin - Gay Pride in Berlin welcomed thousands of people on Saturday, among them a Syrian transgender refugee, Katia, who now calls the famously open-minded city a safe haven.

Aid arrives in Syria as Putin, Macron discuss relief mission to Ghouta

Ch - Humanitarian aid sent by France and Russia arrived in Syria on Saturday as the two countries' leaders discussed a joint mission to distribute much-needed relief supplies in a ravaged former rebel enclave.

Greek asylum official blames EU tensions for migrant family separations

Atenas - A top Greek asylum official blamed tensions over the EU's migrant policy on Thursday for separating young migrants from their parents in other European countries, as an NGO revealed around 2,500 unaccompanied migrant children in Greece are in a "perilo...

UN seeks humanitarian access to southwest Syria

New York - Several members of the UN Security Council on Thursday were putting pressure on Russia to obtain humanitarian access to southwest Syria which is facing heavy bombardment by the Moscow-backed regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

Protests as Syria takes chair of world disarmament body

Geneva - The United States led protests Monday as Syria took over the rotating presidency of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) at a time when Damascus is widely accused of using chemical weapons.

Syria and IS reach truce after south Damascus battles

Beirut - Pro-government forces and the Islamic State group observed a brief ceasefire in southern Damascus Saturday, a monitor said, after weeks of deadly fighting in the jihadists' last stronghold in the Syrian capital.

IS leader travels in east Syria with tight-knit group: Iraqi official

Baghdad - Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is hiding in eastern Syria and moves around with only a small group of followers, including one of his sons, an Iraqi intelligence official said Wednesday.

'We should never go back', Macron, May say on chemical weapons

Paris - French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday urged the world to keep up the fight against chemical weapons on the anniversary of an international convention banning their use.

Israel Defense Minister: Russia is 'very pragmatic' actor in Syria

Washington - Israel is not concerned by Russia's military presence in neighboring Syria because Moscow is a "pragmatic actor" with whom deals can be struck, Israel's Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said during a visit to Washington on Friday.

Macron clarifies Syria comments, says US and France united

Paris - President Emmanuel Macron sought to clarify his comments on French and US miliary operations in Syria on Monday, saying both countries were committed to finishing the battle against the Islamic State group and helping the peace process there.

US flags burned as Iraqis protest Syria strikes

Baghdad - Thousands of Iraqis took to the streets in several cities on Sunday to protest against US-led strikes on Syria, following a call by influential Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr.

Ghouta evacuation stalls over differences among Syria rebels

- Evacuations of rebels and civilians from the last opposition pocket in Syria's Eastern Ghouta stalled on Thursday as divisions continued within the Islamist faction that holds the area, state media said.

Rebels leave behind labyrinth of tunnels under Syria's Ghouta

Damascus - Tunnels stretch into the darkness, some wide enough to drive a car through. In Eastern Ghouta, Syrian rebels left behind an underground labyrinth, fitted with hospitals and military headquarters.
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