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Iraq

New Warning As Yemen Warring Parties Face Internal Strife

Voice of America - 2 hours 30 min ago
Internal strains afflicting both sides in Yemen's conflict have deepened, as the U.N. warned that the failure of the country's political elites to settle their differences has prolonged the suffering of millions already beset by famine and disease. In a briefing on Sunday, U.N. envoy to Yemen Ould Cheikh Ahmed said the intractable two-year-old conflict was exposing ordinary people to death and hardship. "Yemen today continues to traverse a critical and agonizing period as...
Categories: Iraq

Turkish Political Refugees Flock to Germany, Seeking Safety

Voice of America - 3 hours 8 min ago
The Turkish judge sits in a busy cafe in a big German city. Thirteen months ago, he was a respected public servant in his homeland. Now he is heartbroken and angry over the nightmarish turn of events that brought him here.   The day after a 2016 coup attempt shook Turkey, he was blacklisted along with thousands of other judges and prosecutors. The judge smiles, sadly, as he recounts hiding at a friend's home, hugging his crying son goodbye and paying smugglers to get him to...
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Iran Parliament Approves Majority of Rouhani Cabinet Picks

Voice of America - 3 hours 41 min ago
Iranian lawmakers on Sunday approved 16 Cabinet members nominated by recently re-elected President Hassan Rouhani, including the first defense minister unaffiliated with the elite, hard-line Revolutionary Guard in 25 years.   Parliament speaker Ali Larijani said lawmakers approved 16 of 17 proposed ministers, among them Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif with 236 votes, and Oil Minister Began Zingano with 230 out of 288 members of parliament who voted. The chamber has 290...
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Syria's Assad Says War Still Not Won But West's Plots Foiled

Voice of America - 4 hours 57 min ago
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Sunday that while his country had foiled Western designs to topple him, his army had not defeated insurgents and the fight was continuing. In a televised address, Assad said that even though there were signs of victory after six-and-a-half years of civil war, the "battle continues, and where we go later and it becomes possible to talk about victory...that's a different matter". He did not elaborate.
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Iraqi Forces Start Offensive to Retake Tal Afar From ISIS

NY Times Iraq - 5 hours 11 min ago
Tal Afar is one of the last big cities in Iraq still under control of extremists.
Categories: Iraq

Smugglers Target Ethiopian, Somali Teens for Deadly Trip to Yemen

Voice of America - 6 hours 22 min ago
Despite being seven months pregnant, Mesno Taha left her home in Harerge, Ethiopia to find peace and a better future. She trekked to the Somali zone of Ethiopia, crossed the border into Somalia and paid to board a boat bound for Yemen. After traveling 18 hours at sea, she ended up near the shore of the war-torn country. Taha said that she and over 100 other migrants aboard were told that they had arrived at their destination, despite still being at sea. Armed smugglers forced Taha to...
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Iraq Starts Offensive to Take Back Tal Afar From Islamic State

Voice of America - Sun, 08/20/2017 - 06:01
Iraqi security forces launched on Sunday an offensive to take back the city of Tal Afar, their next objective in the U.S.-backed campaign to defeat Islamic State militants, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said. "You either surrender, or die," Abadi said in a televised speech announcing the offensive, addressing the militants. A longtime stronghold of hardline Sunni insurgents, Tal Afar, 50 miles (80 km) west of Mosul, was cut off from the rest of the Islamic State-held...
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'Recruiting for Jihad' Examines Islamic Extremist Groups in Europe

Voice of America - Sat, 08/19/2017 - 20:32
Recruiting for Jihad is a Norwegian expose on the practices extremist Jihadists follow to recruit young men to fight for ISIS. During filming, Adel Khan Farooq, one of the two filmmakers, had unprecedented access to a radicalized network of Islamists in Europe. He met them through Norwegian-born Ubaydullah Hussain, a notorious recruiter, currently serving a nine-year sentence in a Norwegian prison.   "In the beginning, he was very charming," Farooq told VOA, describing...
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'Recruiting for Jihad,' an Expose on Islamic Extremist Groups in Europe

Voice of America - Sat, 08/19/2017 - 18:43
'Recruiting for Jihad' is a Norwegian expose on the practices extremist Jihadists follow to recruit young men to fight for ISIS.  During filming, Adel Khan Farook, one of the two filmmakers, had unprecedented access to a radicalized network of Islamists in Europe. Farrook and his partner Ulrick Rolfsen spoke to VOA’S Penelope Poulou on the growth of Islamist organizations in Europe.
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UN: Stop Deliberate Targeting of Civilians, Aid Workers Around Globe

Voice of America - Sat, 08/19/2017 - 13:47
On World Humanitarian Day, Saturday, the United Nations called for a stop to the deliberate targeting of civilians and humanitarians who risk their lives to help desperate men, women and children caught in war.   To mark this year’s observance, the U.N. is focusing on violence against health care workers and facilities, and its implications for the population.   In kicking off the day’s event, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said “The health of humanitarian workers...
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US: Iraqi Forces Ready for Next Battle Against IS

Voice of America - Sat, 08/19/2017 - 10:45
Senior U.S. military leaders said Friday that Iraqi forces are largely set for their next major campaign against Islamic State extremists after closing out the wrenching nine-month battle to retake the city of Mosul.   Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the top U.S. commander in Iraq, said he sees the Iraqi assault on the IS-held area of Tal Afar “unfolding relatively soon.” The upcoming fight follows weeks of Iraq regrouping troops and repairing equipment and weapons after recapturing Mosul...
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Hezbollah, Syria, Lebanon Hit IS Along Border

Voice of America - Sat, 08/19/2017 - 07:09
Lebanon’s U.S.-backed army Saturday announced the start of a long-awaited military campaign to clear Islamic State militants from a remote corner near the frontier with Syria, an offensive that seeks to end a years-old threat to neighboring towns and villages. The Lebanese Hezbollah group and the Syrian army announced a simultaneous offensive to clear IS militants from the Syrian side of the border, in the western Qalamoun mountain range. The campaign will involve cooperation between...
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Researchers Blame Saudi-Led Coalition for 'Worst Cholera Outbreak in the World' in Yemen

Voice of America - Sat, 08/19/2017 - 04:39
The majority of deaths from Yemen's cholera outbreak have occurred in rebel-controlled areas cut off from supplies due to airstrikes and blockades by a Saudi-led military coalition, according to research published on Friday. The study by London's Queen Mary University found eight out of 10 cholera deaths took place in regions controlled by Iran-backed Houthi rebels who have fought a two-year war against Saudi-aligned forces backing Yemen's government. Yemen is battling...
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US Defense Chief to Visit Jordan, Turkey, Ukraine

Voice of America - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 22:10
U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis will travel to Jordan, Turkey and Ukraine next week for talks with the leaders of all three nations. Pentagon officials said Friday that Mattis aims to reaffirm Washington's commitments to each of the countries. Mattis will begin his trip by meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah as well as top defense officials. Jordan has been a key partner in the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State terror group. From Jordan, Mattis will head to...
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Lebanon Palestinians Wary of Promises to Improve Their Plight

Voice of America - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 17:21
With the first ever full census of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon underway, and a groundbreaking plan to strengthen their rights, Palestinians are hoping to see an improvement in their conditions. But a top priority for the Lebanese government continues to be security in the Palestinian camps, leading some to question whether anything will really change for the refugees.
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East Libyan Forces Report Arrest of Commander Sought by ICC

Voice of America - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 05:07
Security forces in eastern Libya said Thursday that they had arrested the commander of an elite forces unit who was being sought by the International Criminal Court for allegedly executing dozens of prisoners. The general command of the Libyan National Army (LNA), the force that controls most of eastern Libya, said the commander, Mahmoud al-Werfalli, was being investigated by a military prosecutor. "We inform you that the defendant in your judicial case, Mahmoud al-Werfalli, is...
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US Helping Clear 'Historic' Amount of Explosives in Mosul

Voice of America - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 04:14
The wires protruding from the small, misshapen stuffed animal revealed the deadly booby trap tucked inside. For the people of Mosul, the sophisticated bomb was a reminder of how difficult it will be to return to homes littered with explosives hidden by Islamic State militants and dotted with the remnants of undetonated bombs dropped by the U.S.-led coalition that still could blow up. Washington at least is trying to ease a bit of the massive cleanup burden. On Thursday, the top U.S....
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Civilian Deaths Surge in Raqqa as IS Tactics Slow US-backed Advances

Voice of America - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 03:30
As U.S.-backed forces continue to make slow progress in their offensive to oust Islamic State (IS) from its self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa, thousands of civilians who are trapped in the city face an increasing danger of getting caught in crossfire, rights organizations and local activists warn. Officials from the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) say their battle against IS has entered a fierce and grueling phase in the densely populated neighborhoods of the city, as the...
Categories: Iraq

Security Forces Abused Civilians in Mosul Campaign, Iraq Admits

Voice of America - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 02:39
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's office said Thursday that a unit of the security forces committed "abuses" against civilians during the offensive to oust Islamic State insurgents from Mosul. His government began an investigation in May into a report by German news magazine Der Spiegel that included images of apparent torture taken by a freelance photographer embedded with the Interior Ministry's elite Emergency Response Division (ERD). "The committee has...
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University: Iran Denies Appeal of Jailed Princeton Student

Voice of America - Fri, 08/18/2017 - 02:03
Iranian authorities have denied the appeal of a Princeton University student who had been convicted on espionage charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison, the university and his wife said Thursday. Xiyue Wang, a history doctoral student and U.S. citizen who was conducting dissertation research in Iran in 2016 when he was detained by Iranian authorities, was accused by Iran of "spying under the cover of research," a claim his family and university deny. "Iranian...
Categories: Iraq