U.S.-backed force seizes 90% of Syria's Raqa from ISIS

Sep 20, 2017 - 5:54 PM

Under siege in the northern city for 3 months, ISIS is struggling to defend its one-time bastion under a barrage of air strikes by the US-led coalition battling the jihadists in Syria and Iraq

WELCOME. Children flash the victory gesture as a military convoy carrying US-made Oshkosh armored vehicles, bulldozers, and arms headed for Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighting in Raqa, passes through the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli on September 19, 2017. Delil Souleiman/AFP

Russian, U.S.-led strikes kill 35 civilians in Syria's Deir Ezzor – monitor

Sep 12, 2017 - 6:19 PM

UPDATED The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights earlier reported a toll of 28 dead in Russian and US led strikes but raises the figure after new Russian raids on the village of Hawayej Thiab in the west of the province

Cyprus rescues 305 Syrian refugees in two boats

Sep 10, 2017 - 8:00 PM

It is one of the largest waves of migrants to be received by Cypriot authorities in a single day since civil war erupted in Syria in 2011

Anti-terror chiefs want social media help with 'lone wolves'

Sep 08, 2017 - 8:35 AM

Top counter terror chiefs say tough privacy laws and the protections enjoyed by the largely American internet and social media giants are impeding authorities in their ability to ferret out lone wolf threats

EU warns of 'real risk' of new funds for terror attacks

Sep 07, 2017 - 6:09 PM

As we have success against Daesh on the ground in Iraq and Syria they are moving funds out of Iraq and Syria Julian King tells the civil liberties committee in the European Parliament

RISK OF TERROR FUNDING. European Commissioner for Security Union Julian King addresses the media on security issues at the European Commission, in Brussels on September 7, 2017.  Photo by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP

ISIS clashes with Syrian regime kill 150 – monitor

Sep 03, 2017 - 6:55 PM

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 120 ISIS fighters and at least 35 regime troops and loyalist militiamen were killed in clashes in 24 hours

Islamic State chief Baghdadi likely still alive – U.S. general

Sep 01, 2017 - 9:19 AM

We re looking for him every day I don t think he s dead says Lieutenant General Stephen Townsend commander of the counter ISIS coalition in Iraq and Syria

7 in 10 millennials would welcome refugees in their own country – survey

Aug 29, 2017 - 9:21 AM

Some 74 of the 31 000 millennials surveyed says they empathize with the situation of the refugees data from the World Economic Forum’s WEF Global Shapers Annual Survey reveal

SEEKING REFUGE. Rohingya migrants sit in a boat as they're towed closer to land by fishermen, off the coast near the city of Geulumpang in Indonesia's East Aceh district of Aceh province, before being rescued on May 20, 2015. AFP Photo

Lebanon finds suspected remains of troops held by ISIS

Aug 27, 2017 - 2:44 PM

UPDATED Major General Abbas Ibrahim says Islamic State fighters who had surrendered led Lebanese authorities to the remains

Relatives of Lebanese soldiers taken hostage by jihadists in 2014 sit inside a tent as they gather in downtown Beirut on August 27, 2017 awaiting news of their loved ones, after the army announced it would pause its offensive against the Islamic State (IS) group on the country's eastern border with Syria in exchange for more information on the missing troops. Nine troops are believed to still be held by IS after militants overran the Lebanese border town of Arsal in August 2014 and kidnapped 30 soldiers and police. The army has said the missing troops were its "top concern" in its offensive against an estimated 600 IS fighters using the hilly border region as a base.  / AFP PHOTO / ANWAR AMRO

Syria Kurds preparing first vote in 'federal region' – official

Aug 26, 2017 - 10:20 PM

Three rounds of elections will be held starting in September officials say

Iraq recaptures Tal Afar center, citadel from ISIS

Aug 26, 2017 - 8:57 PM

Tal Afar sits on a strategic route between ISIS controlled territories in Syria and Mosul

DISPLACED. A displaced Iraqi woman, who fled the fight between Iraqi forces and the Islamic State group in Tal Afar, sits inside a tent at the Badush camp, 150 kilometres southeast of Tal Afar, on August 25, 2017. Photo by AFP

Civilians in ISIS-held Raqa under fire 'from all sides' – Amnesty

Aug 24, 2017 - 12:35 PM

Residents trapped in the Syrian city of Raqa face the threat of air strikes and intense artillery fire

Members of an Armenian Christian family who fled from Raqa stand near fighters from the Syriac Military Council (SMC), a Christian unit battling alongside the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces to oust the Islamic State from their Syrian stronghold, on August 8, 2017 in Jazra, a western suburb of Raqa. Sawsan Karapetyan and her family lived years of fear as some of the only Christians in the Islamic State group's Syrian stronghold Raqa, and on August 8, she fled clutching her rosary. They were rescued by Christian fighters participating in the battle to oust IS from Raqa, who brought them to the safety of the western Jazra suburb in the back of a truck.  / AFP PHOTO / Delil souleiman / “The erroneous mention appearing in the metadata of this photo by Delil souleiman has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: Inserting correct caption instead of the one sent. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require.

No relations with Syria for countries backing rebels – Assad

Aug 20, 2017 - 8:08 PM

The United States and most European countries shut their embassies in Damascus after the government s bloody crackdown on protests that erupted in March 2011

Deadly rocket fire hits near Damascus trade fair

Aug 20, 2017 - 7:56 PM

UPDATED The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 6 people were killed and around a dozen wounded

Lebanon army advances against ISIS in border battle

Aug 20, 2017 - 3:09 PM

Lebanon s battle against ISIS comes as the jihadist group faces assaults in both neighboring Syria and Iraq

BATTLEGROUND. A general view taken on August 19, 2017, shows artillery being fired from a Lebanese military base in a mountainous area near the eastern town of Ras Baalbek. Stringer/AFP

Enough evidence to convict Syria's Assad of war crimes – prosecutor

Aug 13, 2017 - 7:00 PM

Carla Del Ponte of the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria says justice remains elusive as no international court is tasked with trying the war crimes yet

Anti-ISIS operations enter 4th year

Aug 08, 2017 - 8:03 AM

In the 3 years since the campaign began 70 of the territory ISIS once held in Iraq has been recaptured and 50 in Syria

BATTLE VS ISIS. In this file photo, an Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighter fires at Islamic State (ISIS) militant positions, from his position on the top of Mount Zardak, a strategic point about 25 km east of Mosul on September 9, 2014. JM Lopez/AFP

Syria national basketball team hoops against the odds

Aug 06, 2017 - 5:18 PM

Since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011 the basketball team s ranks have dwindled But for some the game still continues

COURT IS A BATTLEGROUND. Few teams are bigger underdogs coming into the FIBA Asia Cup in Lebanon. But few have overcome more obstacles just to play the game. Photo by Louai Beshara/AFP

Opium of the people in Marawi

Jul 29, 2017 - 7:30 PM

In this day and age extremism religious or otherwise has become the new opium of the people an addiction to the promise of paradise and its ultimate high is the assurance of going to heaven as a reward for martyrdom

Trump won't let Assad get away with 'horrible' crimes

Jul 26, 2017 - 12:26 PM

Speaking at a White House press conference with Lebanon s Prime Minister Saad Hariri Trump also calls the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah a threat to the entire Middle East

US President Donald Trump holds a news conference with Prime Minister of Lebanon Saad Hariri, in the Rose Garden at the White House on July 25, 2017 in Washington,DC.  Tasos Katopodis/AFP

Rappler Talk: Sidney Jones on the effect of the Marawi siege on terrorism in Southeast Asia

Jul 25, 2017 - 4:34 PM

Bookmark this page to watch the live interview with the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict s director at 4:30 pm Tuesday July 25

Syria army announces halt in fighting in parts of Ghouta

Jul 22, 2017 - 9:59 PM

The army will retaliate in a suitable manner to any violation of the ceasefire without them specifying what areas are included

Russia agrees on safe zone mechanism with Syrian rebels

Jul 22, 2017 - 8:24 PM

Agreements have been signed on how the Eastern Ghouta de escalation zone will function says Russia s defense ministry

IN SHAMBLES. Syrians walk past a damaged building in Ain Tarma, in the eastern Ghouta area, a rebel stronghold east of the capital Damascus on June 21, 2017. Msallam Abdalbaset/AFP

Via Telegram, Western Union: How ISIS in Syria funded Marawi terrorists

Jul 21, 2017 - 7:00 PM

A report from the Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict details how funds are transferred from the Middle East to the Philippines and how foreign fighters are recruited to join the siege

CONFLICT. A Philippine Marines armoured personnel carrier speeds away in Marawi on the southern island of Mindanao on May 30, 2017, as fighting rages on the eighth day. AFP PHOTO / TED ALJIBE

Marawi inspired, strengthened pro-ISIS fighters in region – report

Jul 21, 2017 - 11:49 AM

The Institute for Policy Analysis of Conflict says the Marawi conflict has long term repercussions for extremism in Southeast Asia including greater cooperation among extremists and more violent attacks

UN Syria envoy hails small gains in latest peace talks

Jul 15, 2017 - 8:29 AM

United Nations mediator Staffan de Mistura plans to convene an 8th round of talks in early September and instructs all sides including the regime to be ready to tackle the flashpoint issue of political transition

PEACE TALKS. In this file photo, UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura briefs the press after speaking to a group of Syrians holding a vigil on the first day of a new round of Syria peace talks in Geneva on February 23, 2017. File photo by Philippe Desmazes/AFP

Federal judge weakens Trump travel ban

Jul 14, 2017 - 3:29 PM

UPDATED The decision by Judge Derrick Watson is a victory for opponents of the ban which the Trump administration says is necessary to keep out terrorists

Donald Trump file photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images/AFP; Airport file photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images/AFP

Quiet as southern Syria ceasefire begins ahead of talks

Jul 10, 2017 - 11:15 AM

The Britain based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says clashes and shelling have halted in the 3 southern provinces covered by the truce: Daraa Quneitra and Sweida

Iraqi PM hails victory over 'brutality and terrorism' in Mosul

Jul 10, 2017 - 8:02 AM

UPDATED Prime Minister Haider al Abadi hails the retaking of Mosul – where ISIS dealt Iraqi troops a devastating defeat three years ago – as a key moment in the war against the jihadists

SHATTERED CITY. A picture taken on July 9, 2017, shows a general view of the destruction in Mosul's Old City. Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP

U.S., Russia agree on ceasefire in southwest Syria

Jul 08, 2017 - 10:03 AM

The agreement includes areas that have seen Israel retaliate for stray fire into the Israeli occupied Golan Heights from recent clashes between Syrian regime forces and rebel fighters

FIRST MEETING. US President Donald Trump (C-R) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin (C-L) hold a meeting on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7, 2017. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP

U.S. ready to work with Russia on Syria 'no-fly zones' – Tillerson

Jul 06, 2017 - 10:32 AM

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says Russia has a special responsibility to help create stability on the ground – or risk hobbling the fight against the Islamic State ISIS group

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at the State Department on June 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. Mandel Ngan/AFP

Russia says no final deal on Syria safe zones

Jul 05, 2017 - 11:02 PM

Russian delegation head Alexander Lavrentiev says documents outlining how the four safe zones should work need finalizing despite being essentially agreed between the 3 key powerbrokers

Trump, world leaders head into stormy G20 summit

Jul 05, 2017 - 11:29 AM

3rd UPDATE The year s biggest diplomatic event outside the UN will also provide a stage for other world leaders muscling for power and regional influence

READY. Flags of participating countries and organizations stand on July 4, 2017 at the foyer of the Messehallen convention centre in Hamburg, northern Germany, venue of a two-day G20 summit. Christian Charisius/Pool/AFP

U.S.-backed forces breach ISIS defenses in heart of Syria's Raqa

Jul 04, 2017 - 11:55 AM

3rd UPDATE The landmark advance in ISIS s notorious Syria bastion comes as the jihadists face an expected defeat within days in Iraq s second city Mosul

NEAR RAQA. In this file photo, a fighter from the Syriac Military Council (SMC), a small minority of Christian fighters supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces in the combat against the Islamic State (ISIS) group, walks in the suburb of al-Rumaniya on the western outskirts of Raqa on June 27, 2017, after the area was seized from the jihadists. Delil Souleiman/AFP

Damascus bomber kills 18 after car chase

Jul 02, 2017 - 3:32 PM

3rd UPDATE At least 12 other people are wounded in the blast at the eastern Tahrir Square district in Damascus Syria

Syrian security members stand next to charred vehicles as they inspect the damage at the site of a suicide bomb attack in the capital Damascus' eastern Tahrir Square district, on July 2, 2017.  Syrian state television reported that security forces had intercepted three suicide car bombers on their way into the city, killing two, but the third managed to reach the eastern Tahrir Square district. The attacker was surrounded but was able to detonate a bomb, killing a number of people and wounding several more, it reported. / AFP PHOTO / LOUAI BESHARA

Mosul victory in 'days' as ISIS falls back in Syria

Jun 30, 2017 - 9:11 PM

UPDATED ISIS which declared a cross border caliphate encompassing swathes of Iraq and Syria 3 years ago is now facing twin offensives in Mosul and Raqa its two most emblematic strongholds

U.S.-backed forces cut off last ISIS escape route from Raqa

Jun 30, 2017 - 2:36 PM

But ISIS fighters hit back with a counterattack that included several suicide bombings against the Syrian Democratic Forces an alliance of Kurdish and Arab fighters trying to seize control of the city

RAQA. A fighter from the Syriac Military Council (SMC), a small minority of Christian fighters supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces in the combat against the Islamic State (IS) group, walks in the suburb of al-Rumaniya on the western outskirts of Raqa on June 27, 2017, after the area was seized from the jihadists. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

U.S. 6-country travel ban takes effect with few exceptions for relatives

Jun 30, 2017 - 8:21 AM

UPDATED Hawaii has asked federal district Judge Derrick Watson to clarify the scope of the travel and refugee bans in the Pacific island state

TRAVEL BAN. Tareq Aquel Mohammed Aziz holds travel documents after arriving from Yemen at Dulles International airport on February 6, 2017 in Washington, DC. File photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images/AFP

Dozens dead in U.S.-led strikes on jihadist-run Syrian prison

Jun 27, 2017 - 9:24 PM

Monday s strikes hit an ISIS run jail in Syria s Mayadeen at dawn according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights a Britain based war monitor

Terrorists used water route to beat Philippine offensive – army

Jun 27, 2017 - 5:55 PM

Military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jo ar Herrera says the route was discovered following the arrest of a man who used a boat to smuggle ammunition into the battle zone and ferry wounded terrorists out

STANDING GUARD. Soldiers hold their position near the shoreline of Lake Lanao in Marawi City on Thursday, June 22,2017. Photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

US says Assad may be preparing chemical attack

Jun 27, 2017 - 10:47 AM

UPDATED The White House says the preparations are similar to those undertaken by the Assad regime ahead of an apparent chemical attack on a rebel held town

The flag of the Syrian Arab Republic (centre right) flying at United Nations headquarters in New York, July 2016. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

The week in photos: June 17-23, 2017

Jun 24, 2017 - 7:18 AM

This week s selection of photo highlights here and around the world

Afghan refugee women wait to scan their eyes at the UNHCR registration center in Peshawar, Pakistan on June 19, 2017 ahead of the World Refugee Day. Photo by Abdul Majeed/AFP

472 civilians dead in month of U.S.-led Syria strikes – monitor

Jun 23, 2017 - 6:31 PM

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the period between May 23 and June 23 saw the highest civilian death toll in coalition raids for a single month since they began on September 23 2014

AIR STRIKES. Smoke rises around buildings following a reported air strike on a rebel-held area in the southern Syrian city of Daraa, on June 22, 2017. Photo by Mohamad Abazeed/AFP

Australia sends spy planes to Mindanao

Jun 23, 2017 - 8:55 AM

Canberra which has an extensive defense cooperation program with Manila says two high tech AP 3C Orion aircraft will provide surveillance support to the Philippine military

MORE HELP. Marines from the 7th Marine Company as they operate against extremist Maute Group on Friday, June 9, 2017. File photo by Bobby Lagsa/Rappler

U.S.-led coalition downs Iran-made drone in Syria

Jun 21, 2017 - 7:52 AM

The incident prompts growing international concern over rising tensions between the the US led coalition and pro Syrian regime forces

FIGHTER JET. This file photo taken on August 10, 2009 shows an F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jet at the Bagram AirBase, Afghanistan. Manan Vatsyayana/AFP

Russia warns U.S. after Syrian warplane downed

Jun 20, 2017 - 7:20 AM

The downing of the jet and Russia s response come as the US led coalition and allied fighters battle to oust the Islamic State ISIS jihadist group from its Syrian bastion Raqa

SYRIAN WARPLANE. A picture taken on March 23, 2017, shows a Syrian army jet firing rockets over the village of Rahbet Khattab in the Hama province.  Omar Haj Kadour/AFP

Iran says its missiles into Syria hit ISIS targets

Jun 19, 2017 - 3:09 PM

The June 18 strike comes after twin attacks in Tehran on June 7 killed 17 people in the first attacks in the Islamic republic claimed by ISIS

Numbers tell staggering story of EU migrant crisis

Jun 18, 2017 - 12:58 PM

Where are these people coming from where are they going how many have died and how many will be allowed to stay?

ASHORE AT LAST. In this file photo, a migrant carrying his baby comes ashore along with other refugees and migrants arriving on the Greek Island of Lesbos on October 24, 2015 after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey. Aris Messinis/AFP

The week in photos: June 10-16, 2017

Jun 17, 2017 - 8:11 AM

This week s selection of photo highlights here and around the world

VEGAN ZOMBIES. Protestors dressed as zombies demonstrate in front of a KFC outlet in Sydney, Australia on June 15, 2017. Photo by Saeed Khan/AFP

Daunting aid challenges as civilians flee Syria's Raqa

Jun 14, 2017 - 10:39 AM

A key problem is getting aid supplies to the relatively remote desert region in Syria s north with just a trickle of assistance currently crossing from neighboring Turkey and Iraq

ESCAPE. Displaced Syrians walk at a temporary camp in the northern Syrian village of Ain Issa on June 10, 2017, where many people who fled the Islamic State (ISIS) group stronghold of Raqa are taking shelter. Delil Souleiman/AFP