Syria

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Syria: Nusra Front Commander Killed

Blast hits meeting of al-Qaeda affiliate's leaders

(Newser) - The military commander of al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate was killed yesterday in an explosion targeting a meeting of senior militants which also killed and wounded a number of other fighters, according to a state-run Syrian news agency. SANA says Abu Hommam al-Shami was killed in a military operation carried out... More »

'Jihadi John' Identified

ISIS' masked man is Mohammed Emwazi from London

(Newser) - Jihadi John has a real name, and the BBC and the Washington Post report that name is Mohammed Emwazi. The masked executioner in several ISIS beheading videos—including the first one of James Foley —was born in Kuwait, raised comfortably in West London, and has a degree in computer... More »

What's Driving British Teen Girls to Join ISIS?

Aqsa Mahmood went from 'Harry Potter' fan to radical 'poster girl'

(Newser) - Three missing London teenagers appear to have traveled to Syria to join ISIS, despite their parents' impassioned pleas—and one catalyst in the decision may have been a like-minded young woman from Scotland. Aqsa Mahmood, who at 20 is just a few years older than the trio, was once a... More »

ISIS Kidnaps 70 Christians

Syria fighters overrun several Assyrian villages

(Newser) - ISIS has abducted at least 70 Assyrian Christians, including women and children, after overrunning a string of villages in northeastern Syria, according to two activist groups. The extremist fighters swept through the villages nestled along the banks of Khabur River near the town of Tal Tamr in Hassakeh province around... More »

Turkish Troops Enter Syria to Evacuate Tomb

Operation shifted ancient remains of Ottoman leader

(Newser) - Hundreds of Turkish troops backed by tanks took part in an overnight operation into neighboring Syria to evacuate dozens of besieged soldiers guarding an Ottoman tomb and remove the remains amid fears the shrine was threatened by ISIS militants. The mission to the tomb of the grandfather of the founder... More »

Cops Fear 3 UK Schoolgirls Are on Their Way to Syria

British police hope they can intercept girls in Turkey before they find ISIS

(Newser) - Three London teens on their winter break are believed to have skipped town and headed to Syria to join up with ISIS, British police said today, per the BBC . Shamima Begum, 15, and two classmates—Kadiza Sultana, 16, and a 15-year-old friend whose parents asked for anonymity—reportedly got on... More »

Kayla Mueller's Boyfriend: She Wouldn't Lie to Save Herself

Omar Alkhani said he was her husband, but Mueller didn't go for the story

(Newser) - Kayla Mueller's Syrian photographer boyfriend says he went back in 2013 to the detention cell in Syria where he had once been held with Mueller to plead for her release. For a few seconds, Omar Alkhani even saw her face when captors removed her covering to prove it was... More »

Report: US Sat on Info About Hostages' Location

Daily Beast says US waited a month to act on British intelligence

(Newser) - A few weeks after the US staged a failed rescue mission last July to retrieve ISIS hostages Kayla Mueller , James Foley , and Steven Sotloff , the Muslim insurgents started sending out a gruesome chain of beheading videos. Now US and UK officials are saying that the hostages had been moved just... More »

Assad: Syria's in the Loop on Anti-ISIS Airstrikes

But there's no dialogue with the US, Syrian president says

(Newser) - Bashar al-Assad says his government is receiving messages from the US-led coalition about airstrikes against ISIS taking place in his country. In a BBC interview today, the Syrian president admits that there hasn't been direct cooperation, and the messages are coming from third parties—including Iraq—not the US... More »

ISIS: US Hostage Died in Jordan Airstrikes

Group claims American woman died when Syrian building collapsed during bombing

(Newser) - An incensed Jordan has been making good on its word to dole out "earth-shaking revenge" against ISIS, conducting airstrikes on militant outposts in Syria since a video was released earlier this week showing pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned alive in a cage. Now ISIS is claiming that a... More »

Angelina Jolie: We Must Help Syria, Iraq Refugees

We're not doing nearly enough, actress writes

(Newser) - The suffering in the Middle East is the worst since Angelina Jolie first started visiting refugee camps in Iraq in 2007, she writes in a New York Times column today. She tells stories of "displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees are desperately seeking shelter from the fighting that has convulsed... More »

Kurds Rejoice as ISIS Pushed Out of Kobani

US-backed fighters declare victory in key border town

(Newser) - Jubilant Kurdish fighters ousted ISIS militants from the key Syrian border town of Kobani yesterday after a 4-month battle—a significant victory for both the Kurds and the US-led coalition. The Kurds raised their flag on a hill that once flew the group's black banner. On Kobani's war-ravaged... More »

Kerry: We've Killed Half of ISIS' Leaders

Thousands of militants killed, he says after coalition meeting

(Newser) - The US and its allies sought to put a good face on the coalition's deliberate campaign to roll back ISIS yesterday, boasting of having killed thousands of militants while acknowledging that ousting the group from key cities remains a distant aspiration. Speaking to reporters in London alongside the British... More »

US Troops to Train Syrian Rebels for ISIS Takedown

Train-and-equip plan for moderate Syrian opposition designed to derail insurgents

(Newser) - In continuing efforts to thwart Islamic militants in Syria, the US Defense Department confirmed last night that it's sending 400 troops to train moderate Syrian opposition, Army Times reports. Trainers will set up shop in Turkey, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia, with the six- to eight-week training sessions tentatively set... More »

Italian Aid Workers Freed in Syria

Sources say huge ransom was paid to Nusra Front

(Newser) - Two young Italian aid workers kidnapped in Syria last year and seen pleading for their lives in a video recently released by their captors are free and arrived back in their homeland today, Italian authorities say. The country's foreign ministry says Vanessa Marzullo, 21, and Greta Ramelli, 20, who... More »

Turkey: Widow of Paris Gunman Is in Syria

She flew to Turkey on Jan. 2, crossed over Thursday, says foreign minister

(Newser) - The 26-year-old woman sought by French police as the widow and potential accomplice of Paris deli shooter Amedy Coulibaly is in Syria, Turkey's foreign minister confirmed today. The timeline that Mevlut Cavusoglu is offering up indicates that Hayat Boumeddiene crossed over into Syria after Wednesday's slaughter at Charlie ... More »

McCain Tweet-Brags That Syria Whined About Him

Gleefully boasts about Assad regime's annoyance with him

(Newser) - John McCain has put together quite the résumé for himself lately, and it includes the wrath of Vladimir Putin, ISIS, Fidel Castro, and now the regime of Bashar al-Assad. McCain added those latest bragging rights after Bashar Ja'afari, the Syrian ambassador to the UN, yesterday asked the Security... More »

Italian Women Plead for Lives in Syria Video

Aid workers were kidnapped in July

(Newser) - Two young Italian aid workers kidnapped in Syria last summer plead for their lives in a chilling new video released by their captors. Greta Ramelli and Vanessa Marzullo, 20 and 21 years old, are seen wearing Islamic garb in the video, and one holds up a piece of paper with... More »

ISIS Fighter Mistakenly Reveals Location in Tweets

New Zealander is apparently unfamiliar with geotagging

(Newser) - A New Zealander who left home to fight with ISIS in Syria made it pretty easy for authorities to track his movements—he tweeted happily away as "Kiwi Jihadi" with his geotag tracking turned on, reports the Guardian . The mistake by Mark Taylor, also known as Abu Adbul-Rahman, was... More »

Report: ISIS Has Executed 4 Children

Monitor puts execution tally at 1,878 since June

(Newser) - ISIS has killed 1,878 people in Syria—most of them civilians—over the six-month period since it proclaimed a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria in late June, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights . Among the victims: four children, eight women, members of an opposing Sunni... More »

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