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A woman holds a baby as she stands next to female fighters from Syrian Democratic Forces near Baghouz [Rodi Said-Reuters]

US-backed force expects ‘decisive battle’ against ISIS on Sunday

A US-backed Syrian force closing in on ISIL's last territorial bastion near the Iraqi border expects a "decisive battle" on Sunday after advancing slowly, a spokesperson said.

Islamic State faces final territorial defeat in Syria battle

Islamic State faced final territorial defeat on Saturday as the U.S.-backed Syrian force battling the jihadists said it was closing in on their last bastion near the Iraqi border.
Kurdish-led forces battled jihadists defending their last village on Saturday as the operation to flush out the Islamic State group from eastern Syria resumed after days of humanitarian evacuations.

Syria force battles into last jihadist pocket

Kurdish-led forces battled jihadists defending their last village on Saturday as the operation to flush out the Islamic State group from eastern Syria resumed after days of humanitarian evacuations.

Guns and milk: What ISIS women carried from fallen caliphate

Guns, laptops, gold coins and baby formula: when Syrian fighters search women emerging from the ruins of the jihadist “caliphate”, what they find is not the contents of your average handbag.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel poses for a photograph after the recording of her annual New Year's speech at the Chancellery in Berlin. JOHN MACDOUGALL-AFP

Angela Merkel: US pullout from Syria risks boosting Russia, Iran influence

German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned Saturday that Washington’s plan to swiftly pull its soldiers out of Syria risks allowing Russia and Iran to boost their role in the region.

Election: US, UK, EU have hidden agenda – Abba Kyari

The Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, says the utterances made by officials of the United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union, show that there is a hidden agenda ahead of Saturday’s elections.
US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were locked in fierce fighting as they pressed the battle against the last shred of the Islamic State group’s “caliphate” in eastern Syria on Sunday, a war monitor said.

US backed SDF bombards IS in Syria in final push

US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) were locked in fierce fighting as they pressed the battle against the last shred of the Islamic State group’s “caliphate” in eastern Syria on Sunday, a war monitor said.
Iraqi President Barham Salih has said US President Donald Trump did not ask Iraq's permission US troops stationed there to watch Iran.

Donald Trump did not ask Iraq’s permission to ‘watch Iran’ – president

Iraqi President Barham Salih has said US President Donald Trump did not ask Iraq's permission US troops stationed there to "watch Iran."

Four police dead in back-to-back bomb blasts in Iraq

Four Iraqi policemen were killed Sunday in two back-to-back bomb blasts at one of their positions north of the capital, near a former jihadist bastion, local officials and officers said.
A convoy of U.S. military vehicles near Syria's northern city of Manbij on Dec. 30, 2018. (Delil Souleiman-AFP-Getty Images)

US begins withdrawing gear from Syria, but not troops

The US military has begun moving non-essential gear out of Syria but is not withdrawing troops for now, defense officials said amid uncertainty over America’s planned exit from the war-battered nation.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (L) meets with Iraq’s President Barham Saleh in Baghdad, during a Middle East tour, on January 9, 2019. – The eight-day tour comes weeks after the US President announced that the United States would quickly pull its 2,000 soldiers out of Syria, declaring that IS — also known as ISIS — had been defeated. (Photo by Andrew CABALLERO-REYNOLDS / POOL / AFP)

US top envoy Mike Pompeo meets Iraq officials on unannounced Baghdad visit

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Iraqi officials, including the speaker, on an unannounced visit to Baghdad on Wednesday, a statement from parliament said.
Shaima al-Hayali

Minister resigns over videos linking brother to Islamic State

Iraq’s newly appointed education minister has said she tendered her resignation over online accusations her brother was a member of the jihadist Islamic State group.
US President Donald Trump disembarks from Air Force One upon arrival in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on November 29, 2018, as he travels to attend the G20 summit. - US President Donald Trump jets into Argentina on Thursday for a G20 summit, keen to do battle with China on trade and sharpening his rhetoric against Russia over Ukraine. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)

Trump claims victory over ISIS in Syria, orders US troops home

US President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday a stunning order to pull American ground forces from the war-ravaged Syria, claiming the Islamic State group has been “beaten”.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis

US may withdraw troops from Syria

The United States is considering a total withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.
A hairdresser styles the hair of a customer at a beauty salon in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on October 30, 2018. – For three years, Mosul’s women were covered in black from head to toe and its men had to keep their beards long. Salons were shut, and plastic surgery considered a crime. Today, Mosul’s plastic surgeons and beauticians are at service. (Photo by Zaid AL-OBEIDI / AFP)

After shedding Islamic State, Mosul embraces makeovers

For three years, Mosul’s women were covered in black from head to toe and its men had to keep their beards long. Salons were shut, and plastic surgery considered a crime.
George H.W. Bush

Week of solemn tributes for the late George Bush

Flags flew at half-staff across the United States on Saturday as Americans prepared for a week of solemn tributes to George H.W. Bush, in his home state of Texas and in the US Capitol, a day after the former president died aged 94.

Ex-US President George HW Bush passes on at 94

George H.W. Bush was the definition of establishment success: Yale graduate. Prosperous business career. Forty-first president of the United States.
earth . quake . tremors

State media: Iran quake injures 600, no death reported

A 6.3 magnitude earthquake on Iran’s western border with Iraq injured more than 600 people, most suffering minor wounds, state television said on Monday, but no fatalities had been reported.

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Nobel Peace Prize-winner Malala Yousafzai Friday urged Japan and its fellow Group of 20 nations to pledge new funding for educating girls at June's G20 summit, hosted by the Japanese.

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