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Nov 7, 2015

Russian plane broke up in mid-air after noise, crash investigators say

CAIRO (Reuters) – A Russian plane which crashed in Egypt last week was flying on auto-pilot and appeared to break up in mid-air after a sudden noise but it is too soon to conclude exactly what brought it down, the lead investigator said on Saturday.

Ayman al-Muqaddam, head of a team of experts looking into one of Egypt’s worst air disasters, said the cockpit voice recording would be analysed to identify the nature of the noise, which Western governments have indicated may have been a bomb.

Oct 15, 2015

Syrian army and Russian jets target rebel towns north of Homs

BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian troops and their allies, backed by Russian jets, attacked rebel-held towns north of the city of Homs on Thursday, targeting a long-held and strategic enclave of opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.

The offensive that began before dawn expands on over a week of ground attacks launched with Russian air support in areas of western Syria that are crucial to Assad’s survival and held by rebel groups other than Islamic State.

Oct 15, 2015

Islamic State battles insurgents as Syria army prepares assault

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State militants battled rival insurgent groups on Wednesday north of the city of Aleppo, where officials say the Syrian army is preparing an offensive of its own backed by Iranian soldiers and Russian jets.

A rebel fighter and a group monitoring the war said Islamic State fighters took control of parts of the towns of Ahras and Tel Jabin, about 12 km (8 miles) north of Aleppo, before being pushed back.

Oct 14, 2015

Islamic State battles insurgents near Aleppo as army prepares assault

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State militants battled rival insurgent groups on Wednesday north of the city of Aleppo, where officials say the Syrian army is preparing an offensive of its own backed by Iranian soldiers and Russian jets.

A rebel fighter and a group monitoring the war said Islamic State fighters took control of part of the towns of Ahras and Tel Jabin, about 12 km (8 miles) north of Aleppo, before being pushed back.

Oct 10, 2015

Islamic State closes in on Syrian city of Aleppo; U.S. abandons rebel training effort

BEIRUT/ANKARA (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters have seized villages close to the northern city of Aleppo from rival insurgents, a monitoring group said on Friday, despite an intensifying Russian air-and-sea campaign that Moscow says has targeted the militant group.

News of the advance came as the United States announced it was largely abandoning its failed program to train moderate rebels fighting Islamic State and would instead provide arms and equipment directly to rebel leaders and their units on the battlefield.

Oct 9, 2015

Islamic State advances on Aleppo in Syria fighting

BEIRUT/ANKARA (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters have seized villages close to the northern Syrian city of Aleppo from rival insurgents, a monitoring group said on Friday, despite a Russian air-and-sea campaign that Moscow says has targeted the militant group.

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps said separately one of its generals had been killed late on Thursday near Aleppo, once Syria’s most populous city. Iran, like Russia an ally of President Bashar al-Assad, says it has advisers in the country.

Oct 9, 2015

Islamic State makes closest advance to Aleppo, Iranian killed

BEIRUT/ANKARA (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters have seized Syrian villages on the outskirts of Aleppo from rival insurgent fighters, a monitoring group said on Friday, despite Russian air strikes that Moscow says have targeted the militant group.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps said separately one of its senior commanders had been killed this week near Aleppo, Syria’s main northern city. Iran, an ally of the Syrian government, says it has advisory missions in the country but no military forces.

Oct 7, 2015

Russia backs Syrian forces in major assault on insurgents

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Russia and Syria carried out what appeared to be the first major coordinated assaults on Syrian insurgents on Wednesday, targeting rebels in the west rather than Islamic State militants, a monitor said.

The combined assault hit towns close to the main north-south highway that runs through major cities in the mainly government-held west of Syria, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based group which tracks the conflict via a network of sources within the country.

Oct 4, 2015

Assad says Russian air campaign vital to save Middle East

BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – President Bashar al-Assad said the success of a military campaign by Russia, Syria and its allies was vital to save the Middle East from destruction, a day after Moscow said it would step up air strikes against Islamic State targets across Syria.

A year-long air campaign by Western and Arab air forces in Syria and Iraq had been counterproductive, Assad said, helping terrorism spread and win new recruits, but a coalition of Syria, Russia, Iran and Iraq could achieve real results.

Jul 16, 2015

Noose tightens around thousands caught in Iraq’s Anbar offensive

BAGHDAD/ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) – As Iraqi forces prepare to try to recapture the city of Falluja, tens of thousands of civilians find themselves trapped between Islamic State militants ready to use them as human shields and a government suspicious of their loyalties.

With the jihadists coercing them to stay, and a government blockade and shelling closing exit routes and cutting off supplies, there is “a vice, a noose around the neck of the population”, Lise Grande, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Iraq, told Reuters.

    • About Dominic

      "I run Reuters news operations in Beirut, Damascus and Amman. I have reported from across the Middle East since 1992, mainly in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Dubai. I have also edited political and general news from Europe/MiddleEast/Africa and was parliamentary correspondent in London."
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