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US-led coalition says Syria withdrawal has begun

BEIRUT: The US-led military coalition in Syria has begun pulling out troops, a spokesman said on Friday without elaborating on locations or timetables. "Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) has begun the process of our deliberate withdrawal from Syria," spokesman Colonel Sean Ryan told AFP in a statement, referring to the US-led force in Syria. "Out of concern for operational security, we will not discuss specific timelines, locations or troops movements," he said. The Syrian Observatory…

52 pro-regime troops killed in Syria bombing raid

BEIRUT, Lebanon: The death toll in an overnight bombing raid on pro-regime forces in eastern Syria has risen to 52 loyalist fighters, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday. "Among them are at least 30 Iraqi fighters and 16 Syrians, including soldiers and members of loyalist militias," the monitor's chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP, adding that the remaining six fighters were not immediately identifiable. Syrian state media blamed the strike on the US-led coalition, which denied involvement.…

US-led coalition air strikes kill 23 civilians in Syria: monitor

BEIRUT: Air strikes by a US-led coalition killed 23 civilians Wednesday in a village held by the Islamic State group in Syria‚Äôs eastern Deir Ezzor province, a monitor said. "At least 23 civilians, among them eight children and six women, were killed Wednesday before dawn by air strikes carried out by the US-led coalition, targeting a village controlled by Daesh (Islamic State) on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River," the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The observatory, which gathers…

Iraqi forces, Kurdish Peshmerga agree on ceasefire, US-led coalition says

BAGHDAD: Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters reached an agreement on Friday to stop fighting in northern Iraq, the media office of the US-led anti-Islamic State coalition said. A spokesman for the coalition in Baghdad told Reuters the ceasefire agreement covered all fronts. Iraqi government forces and the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilisation launched a surprise offensive on Oct 16 in retaliation to a Sept 25 referendum on independence organized by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in northern Iraq. Read…

Iraqi forces ‘ahead of schedule’ in Mosul: Pentagon

WASHINGTON, UNITED STATES: Iraqi security forces were "ahead of schedule" after the first day of an offensive for the Islamic State-held city of Mosul, a Pentagon official said Monday. A US-led coalition has for months been helping train Iraqi forces for the fight for Mosul - the last IS stronghold in Iraq - and the military offensive finally got underway early Monday. "Early indications are that Iraqi forces have met their objectives so far, and that they are ahead of schedule for this first day," Pentagon press secretary…

Iraq forces retake central Fallujah from IS

BAGHDAD, IRAQ: Iraqi forces raised the national flag over the government compound in Fallujah on Friday, top commanders said, a breakthrough in the nearly four-week-old offensive against the Islamic State group's bastion.