New Coalition Raids in Syria as UK Votes on Iraq Action

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A U.S.-led alliance launched new air strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria Friday, targeting oil facilities for a second day, as Britain weighed joining the campaign in Iraq.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group reported fresh strikes in the oil-rich eastern province of Deir Ezzor, and northeastern Hasakeh, both of which were also targeted a day earlier.

Both sets of raids included strikes on oil facilities in the two provinces, where IS jihadists extract crude for sale on the black market.

Experts say sales of oil from Syria and Iraq are among the group's biggest source of funding, netting it between $1 million and $3 million a day.

In Britain, meanwhile, lawmakers were preparing to vote on whether the country would join air strikes against the group in Iraq, though participation in the strikes on Syria is not on the table.

"We are facing an evil against which the whole world must unite. And, as ever in the cause of freedom, democracy and justice, Britain will play its part," Prime Minister David Cameron told a United Nations summit in New York, before flying home for the vote.

Cameron has urged Britain not to be "frozen with fear" about re-entering conflict in a country that its troops only left in 2011.

- U.S. seeks broad coalition -

Washington is eager to build the broadest possible coalition to tackle IS, which has seized large swathes of territory in Syria and neighboring Iraq, declaring an Islamic "caliphate".

Speaking at the U.N. this week, U.S. President Barack Obama urged greater participation in the alliance against what he dubbed a "network of death".

If, as expected, the British parliament votes to take part, the Royal Air Force will join jets from the United States, France, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Jordan hitting IS targets.

Both France and Britain have ruled out carrying strikes in Syria however, unlike the Arab allies taking part in the aerial campaign.

Belgium and the Netherlands also plan to send six F-16 fighter bombers to take part in the campaign in Iraq.

The Netherlands will also deploy 250 military personnel and 130 trainers for the Iraqi military, and Greece said it would send arms to Kurdish forces battling the jihadists.

Turkey has so far declined to take part in military action, and denied claims its airspace or airbases have been used by coalition forces.

But Obama spoke to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday and in New York the Turkish leader suggested for the first time that his country could offer logistical, intelligence or even military support to the operations.

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani, however, blamed Western "blunders" for creating extremist havens, and said outside interference would not solve the problem.

"The right solution to this quandary comes from within the region... with international support and not from outside," he told the U.N. General Assembly, warning otherwise there would be "repercussions for the whole world".

- Britain holds extremist suspects -

IS's brutal abuses against civilians, rival fighters and Arab and Western hostages, as well as its success in recruiting Western members, have raised fears in the international community.

On Thursday, police in London arrested nine people suspected of links to Islamic extremists, including a notorious radical preacher.

And the FBI said it identified the Islamic State jihadist who has appeared in videos showing the beheading of two U.S. journalists and a British aid worker, though it declined to give further details.

In France, Muslims groups were planning a Friday demonstration outside Paris's main mosque to denounce the group.

The coalition strikes in Syria are reported to have killed at least 140 jihadists as well as 13 civilians, though the Pentagon said it was still investigating reports of civilian casualties.

Fighting between regime troops and rebels has continued on the ground in Syria alongside the international air strikes, with the army recapturing a key strategic town near Damascus on Thursday.

The conflict that began in Syria in March 2011 as an uprising against President Bashar Assad's regime has spawned a massive refugee crisis, with more than three million Syrians now taking refuge from the war abroad.

Many have sought to reach Europe by boat, including hundreds aboard a ship that ran into trouble off the coast of Cyprus on Thursday, forcing a nearby cruise ship to rescue them.

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