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Iraq, 2014

The majority of the British public now supports some form of military intervention in Syria to fight the Islamic State, according to a new poll. Britain already has some military presence in Iraq, but intervening in Syria has until recently been seen as a step too far. Last year, representing the British people, MPs rejected military action against President Bashar al-Assad, but this latest survey suggests that public opinion is on the turn. VoR's Tim Walklate reports.

The Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has blamed Western powers for the rise of Islamic State (IS) insurgents in Iraq and Syria and said they had no business tampering with the region's geopolitics.

Talks are ongoing which could lead to the declaration of a self-governing Kurdish region within Syria. Kurdish leaders have been holding talks over establishing an autonomous Kurdish region in the country. But Turkey vehemently opposes any such move which could lead to a re-drawing of the map of the Middle East as VoR’s Brendan Cole reports.

Turkey has announced it will allow Iraqi Kurdish fighters to pass through its territory to assist the defence of Kobane from Islamic State. It is seen by many as a move by Turkey to placate its NATO allies and to be seen to be taking action in the fight against Islamic State. VoR's Carmen Cracknell has more.

Three years after the capture and killing of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi at the end of the country’s eight-month civil war, the peace that western leaders said would ensue after their military intervention has not materialised. Just on Sunday, fighting in the eastern city of Benghazi between pro-government forces and Islamist militias left 65 people dead. The Libyan prime minister has called for further help from the international community whose attention is now firmly on Islamist militants in Syria and Iraq, as VoR's Brendan Cole reports.

Moscow is continuing to aid Syria and Iraq in the fight against terrorism, including large-scale deliveries of weapons, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday. He said the world is going through a major period of change and that the liberal capitalist development model is 'not universal'.

Islamic State (IS) insurgents have demanded a ransom of $100,000 after a large amount of school manuals were stolen, according to an Iraqi teacher.

In his address to the United Nations president Obama said of the United States of America: “We are heirs to a proud legacy of freedom, and we are prepared to do what is necessary to secure that legacy for generations to come. Join us in this common mission, for today’s children and tomorrow’s…” So, what sort of claim does America have to global domination? VoR’s Dmitry Linnik hosts a discussion.

A "specialist team" of 12 UK soldiers is training Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq, the Ministry of Defence has said.

Islamic State forces have taken control of the headquarters of the Kurdish forces defending the town of Kobane is northern Syria, according to monitoring groups in the country. These developments are a blow to the Kurdish forces and the US-led coalition, with the town of Kobane experiencing heavy fighting over the past few days.

European Union commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom and Italian interior minister Angelino Alfano hosted a private dinner this week for online technical giants and government officials. The topic of conversation was how to challenge the threats posed by terrorists operating online. VoR's Juliet Spare reports.

US Secretary of State John Kerry suggested today that preventing the fall of the Syrian town of Kobane to Islamic State (IS) fighters was not a strategic US objective. At the same time the leader of the Syrian Kurds said in an interview with news agency Rossiya Segodnya that Syrian Kurds would be against a US-led land operation in Syria, but expect the international community to help them in the fight against IS.

Several hundred people marched in central London today to protest Britain's involvement in US-led air strikes against Islamic State (IS, or ISIS) group targets in Iraq.

 

Any Turkish action in Syria will be seen as aggression by Damascus, the country's foreign ministry said on Friday. "Damascus will interpret any action on the part of Turkey on its [Syria's] territory as aggression," the ministry said. VoR's Tim Walklate spoke to Fadi Hakura, a specialist on Turkey at the London-based think tank, Chatham House.

US president Barack Obama says he wants to obliterate Islamic State (IS) without the help of Iran or Assad, and he doesn't want to offend the region's Sunnis. This is a tall order. VoR’s Peter Lavelle hosts a discussion on whether there are other ways of dealing with IS.

Two British RAF Tornado jets attacked Islamic State targets in Iraq in the second combat mission undertaken by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in the country. This comes as Russia criticised the US and European Union for failing to condemn the actions of Syrian jihadists at a recent UN Human Rights session.

Turkey's government said Monday it was likely to submit motions to parliament within 24 hours requesting extended mandates for military action in Iraq and Syria, so Ankara can join the coalition against Islamic State militants. "The motions have not yet been sent to parliament. They may come tomorrow," parliamentary speaker Cemil Cicek was quoted as saying by NTV television.

Syria, Turkey, Iraq, News, Ankara, Erdogan, US, ISIS, Air strikes, Turkish parliament

President Barack Obama admitted Sunday that the US underestimated the threat posed by Islamic State fighters in Syria, as US-led coalition warplanes pounded the oil sites that fund the jihadist group. Late on Sunday coalition planes hit the entrance to the country's main gas plant, in an apparent warning to IS militants to abandon the premises under their control, a monitor said.

Two of Britain's most senior defence chiefs have slammed the British plan to tackle Islamic State by using air power in Iraq only and for stepping back from bombing targets in Syria. General Lord Richards said boots needed to be put on the ground, while ex-SAS commander Richard Williams said bombing would "create propaganda" for IS.

Two British RAF armed jets have taken off on their first mission to Iraq, following yesterday’s decision in Parliament to authorise air strikes against Islamic State targets.

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