Southeast Asia Bureau Chief
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Sep 12, 2014

Kerry plays down hopes of imminent anti-Islamic State coalition

ANKARA (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday played down chances of an imminent broad coalition against Islamic State militants, illustrating the difficulty Washington faces winning commitment for a military campaign in the heart of the Middle East.

Kerry met Turkish leaders to try to secure support for U.S.-led action against Islamic State, but Ankara’s reluctance to play a frontline role highlighted the challenges of building a willing coalition to wage what will likely be a tough offensive.

Sep 12, 2014

Kerry says comfortable U.S. will form broad anti-ISIL coalition

ANKARA (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday he was comfortable that the United States would form a broad-based coalition to fight Islamic State militants but said it would not be appropriate for Iran to be involved in the efforts.

Kerry has been touring the Middle East to build support for President Barack Obama’s plan, announced on Wednesday, to strike both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi frontier to defeat Islamic State Sunni fighters that control swathes of both countries.

Sep 12, 2014

Turkish reluctance shows difficulty building U.S. alliance against Islamic State

ANKARA (Reuters) – Secretary of State John Kerry met Turkish leaders on Friday to try to win support for U.S.-led military action against Islamic State, but Ankara’s reluctance to play a frontline role showed the difficulty of building a coalition for a regional war.

Kerry has been touring the Middle East to build support for President Barack Obama’s plan, announced on Wednesday, to strike both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi frontier to defeat Islamic State Sunni fighters that control swathes of both countries.

Sep 12, 2014

U.S. wins Arab support for Syria/Iraq military campaign

JEDDAH (Reuters) – The United States signed up Arab allies on Thursday to a “coordinated military campaign” against Islamic State fighters, a major step in building regional support for President Barack Obama’s plan to strike both sides of the Syrian-Iraqi frontier.

After talks in Saudi Arabia’s summer capital Jeddah, Secretary of State John Kerry won backing from 10 Arab countries – Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and six Gulf states including rich rivals Saudi Arabia and Qatar – for a coalition to fight the Sunni militants that have seized swathes of Iraq and Syria.

Sep 11, 2014

Kerry to press Arabs to back campaign against Islamic State

AMMAN, Sept 11 (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John
Kerry will press Arab leaders on Thursday to support President
Barack Obama’s plans for a new military campaign against Islamic
State militants.

In a strong measure of support, Saudi Arabia has agreed to
host training camps for moderate Syrian rebels who are part of
Obama’s broad strategy to combat the militants, who have taken
over a third of both Syria and Iraq, U.S. officials said.

Sep 11, 2014

Kerry calls new Baghdad government ‘heart’ of fight against Islamic State

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday endorsed Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s plans to mend Baghdad’s relations with Sunnis and Kurds, and said Iraq’s new government was “the heart and backbone” of the fight against Islamic State.

Kerry, on a tour of the Middle East to build military, political and financial support to defeat the militants controlling parts of Iraq and Syria, said: “We all have an interest in supporting the new government of Iraq.”

Sep 11, 2014

Kerry in Iraq backs government, says Baghdad a partner against Islamic State

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday endorsed Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s plans to mend Baghdad’s relations with Sunnis and Kurds, and said Iraq was a partner in the fight against Islamic State militants.

Kerry, on a tour of the Middle East to build military, political and financial support to defeat the militants controlling parts of Iraq and Syria, said: “We all have an interest in supporting the new government of Iraq.”

Sep 10, 2014

Kerry in Iraq to back government, build support against Islamic State

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Baghdad on Wednesday as he began a tour of the Middle East to build military, political and financial support to defeat Islamic State militants controlling parts of Iraq and Syria.

    Kerry on Monday had hailed the formation of a new, more inclusive, Iraqi government under Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi as a “major milestone”, and Washington had said it was vital before there could be further U.S. action to help push back the militants, who took over large parts of northern Iraq this year.

Sep 8, 2014

U.S. courts skeptical Arab allies in Islamic State fight

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After threatening to destroy and degrade Islamic State militants, the United States will court skeptical Gulf Arab allies this week and consider expanding training and arming of moderate Syrian rebels to lead the fight against the jihadists.

As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry heads to the region on Tuesday, a meeting between the White House and top lawmakers in Congress is expected to discuss a slow-moving $500 million initiative, announced in June, to strengthen a loosely organized group of rebels who have struggled in their fight against the Syrian government and Islamic State.

Aug 23, 2014

U.S. hostage rescuers dropped from night sky: Syria activist

BEIRUT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – It was just after midnight on July 4 when at least two dozen U.S. Delta Force commandos arrived on heavily armed Black Hawk helicopters in Akrishi, a small town near the eastern Syrian city of Raqqa on the bank of the Euphrates River.

Before they landed to search for American hostages including journalist James Foley, they destroyed a crucial target: anti-aircraft weapons at a jihadist base about 3 miles (5 km) southeast of the city, a stronghold of Islamic State militants seeking to build a monolithic Islamic state.

    • About Jason

      "As Southeast Asia Bureau Chief, Jason Szep manages text, pictures and television news operations across 10 countries for Reuters. He has been a Reuters correspondent, bureau chief and editor since 1990 and won the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi award in 2007. He is a Boston native and has had postings with Reuters in Toronto, Sydney, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo, Boston and Bangkok. His assignments have ranged from Kabul and Islamabad to the U.S. presidential campaign trail during the 2008 election."
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