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State Department Boasts of 'Bringing Peace' to Syria

Blog post also praises United States for 'winning fight against violent extremists'

(Newser) - Everyone's entitled to a bit of boasting now and again, but a year-in-review State Department blog post appears to have veered into overstatement territory on Syria, Politico reports. Authored by spokesman John Kirby, the DipNote post , entitled "Pivotal Foreign Policy Moments of 2015," combines the recently trending... More »

Man's 'Pro-ISIS' Christmas Lights Weren't That at All

Look up, folks

(Newser) - Residents of Limerick, Maine, were disturbed when they saw "ISIS" spelled out in Christmas lights on a local's home, and one of them contacted the York County Sheriff's Office to report a possible terrorist sympathizer. Deputies went to investigate and found that the holiday decor did, in... More »

US, Russian Defense Chiefs Have Rare Direct Talks

They discuss Syria, the first time they've spoken in more than a year

(Newser) - Defense Secretary Ash Carter called his Russian counterpart today, the first step in direct military talks proposed by Russia about Moscow's military buildup to support the Syrian government against ISIS. The 50-minute conversation marked the first time that American and Russian defense chiefs have spoken in more than a... More »

ISIS Images Show Destroyed Ancient Temple

It appears the 2K-year-old temple of Baalshamin is no more

(Newser) - ISIS released propaganda images today that purport to show militants laying explosives in and then blowing up the 2,000-year-old temple of Baalshamin in Syria's ancient caravan city of Palmyra. The images, posted on social media by supporters of the group, showed militants carrying barrels of explosives, and laying... More »

Jordan Interior Minister: We Will 'Wipe Out' ISIS

Airstrikes continue for 3rd consecutive day

(Newser) - Jordan is going after ISIS militants wherever they are and plans to "wipe them out completely," Jordan's interior minister said, as Jordanian fighter jets struck the group's positions for the third consecutive day today. It was the latest in a series of warnings of harsh retaliation... More »

Family of Hostage ISIS Says Is Dead: We're Still Hopeful

Kayla Mueller's family releases statement

(Newser) - The parents of a 26-year-old woman who ISIS extremists say has been killed in an airstrike in northern Syria have said in a statement addressed to group leaders that the claim of their daughter's death concerned them but they were still hopeful she was alive. ISIS said yesterday that... More »

Feds to US Troops: ISIS May Use Social Media to Find You

Service members urged to rid their accounts of military ties

(Newser) - Members of the US military who don their uniforms in Facebook photos may be putting their lives at risk, according to a new warning from federal authorities. The FBI and Homeland Security have warned current and former service members to rid their social media accounts of any military connections, reports... More »

ISIS Leader Calls for 'Volcanoes of Jihad'

US hasn't yet verified recording purportedly by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

(Newser) - A newly released audiotape suggests that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is OK after recent reports that he'd been injured in a US airstrike. In the 17-minute recording posted on a jihadi website, a man purported to be al-Baghdadi urges his followers to “erupt volcanoes of jihad everywhere"... More »

Denver Dad: Teens Trying to Join ISIS 'Stupid Little Girls'

He says they didn't truly know what they were doing

(Newser) - One of three suburban Denver girls who authorities say tried to join Islamic State militants in Syria was confused about what her role would be if she had actually made it there, the girl's father said today. "She told me they were going to get there and somebody... More »

Why the Fight for Kobani Matters

Battle over Syrian town emerges as test of US policy: 'New York Times'

(Newser) - It's a safe bet that most Americans had never heard of the town of Kobani , Syria, a few weeks ago. Now, however, a common school of thought seems to be, "As Kobani goes, so goes the war on ISIS." In an editorial today, the New York Times... More »

Father of ISIS Hostage Dies

Paul Cantlie had made appeal for release of son John

(Newser) - Paul Cantlie made an impassioned plea from his hospital bed for his son's life earlier this month, but he died not knowing whether it worked. The 80-year-old is dead from complications of pneumonia, reports the BBC . His son, John Cantlie, is a British journalist who has been held captive... More »

FBI: 3 Teen Girls From Denver Tried to Join ISIS

Girls ages 15 and 16 were caught in Germany, returned home

(Newser) - Three teenage girls from Denver flew overseas in a bid to join ISIS in Syria before being stopped, reports the Denver Post . The girls, ages 15 and 16, apparently were lured by a "slick" online campaign to join militants with the Islamic State, an FBI official tells ABC News... More »

ISIS Fighters May Be Learning How to Fly

Syrian group says Iraqi pilots are teaching them

(Newser) - A group that monitors the Syrian war has some seriously unwelcome news in the fight against ISIS: The militants are learning how to fly fighter jets, reports Reuters . According to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, former Iraqi officers who served under Saddam Hussein have been training ISIS pilots.... More »

Turkey Will Let US Use Its Bases to Fight ISIS

As fighting continues in Kobani

(Newser) - Turkey will let US and coalition forces use its bases, including a key installation within 100 miles of the Syrian border, for operations against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq, American defense officials said yesterday. But progress in negotiations with Turkey—including Ankara's agreement to train several thousand... More »

Ill. Teen Charged With Trying to Join ISIS

Mohammed Hamza Khan, 19, was detained Saturday on way to Turkey

(Newser) - A Chicago-area teen who federal agents say was trying to travel overseas to join ISIS was arrested at O'Hare International Airport on Saturday evening, reports the Chicago Tribune . Nineteen-year-old Mohammed Hamza Khan, who CNN notes was flying to Turkey, is charged with attempting to provide material support to a... More »

American Held by ISIS Is Former Army Ranger Turned Volunteer

Peter Kassig founded relief organization; parents ask for his release in video

(Newser) - In its latest execution video, ISIS threatened that its next victim would be an American aid worker named Peter Kassig. The 26-year-old is a former Army Ranger from Indiana who served in Iraq in 2007 before being honorably discharged for medical reasons, reports CNN . He enrolled at Butler University upon... More »

ISIS Beheads British Hostage, Threatens American

Alan Henning is the latest victim; US citizen Peter Kassig may be next

(Newser) - ISIS today released another video showing the beheading of a hostage, this time British citizen Alan Henning, reports AP . The video follows the same pattern as the previous three, in which an Islamic State fighter rants against the West. At the end of the video, the militant threatens an American... More »

Britain Joins US Coalition Against ISIS

Denmark and Belgium, too

(Newser) - Britain, Belgium, and Denmark today joined the US-led coalition of nations launching airstrikes on the Islamic State group in Iraq. All three are committing warplanes to the cause. European lawmakers flatly described the moves as critical to security on home soil, arguing that facing down terrorists has become a matter... More »

Iraqi PM: ISIS Plans Subway Attack in US

American officials downplay threat

(Newser) - While speaking to reporters at the UN today, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Ibadi made some news that seemed to catch everybody off guard: He said he had "credible" evidence that ISIS was planning subway attacks in the US and Paris, reports Reuters . US security officials quoted on and off... More »

Obama Makes Serious Mistake on Syria Airstrikes

New York Times says it's a major escalation that needs debate in Congress

(Newser) - The New York Times editorial board thinks President Obama has the US blundering into a new war with the expanded airstrikes in Syria . Before the US gets any deeper into the operation, the president should open this up for a full debate in Congress, says the editorial. It's also... More »

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