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UN to Begin Evacuations from Aleppo if Truce Holds

The United Nations hopes to carry out the first medical evacuations from Aleppo on Friday, if a "humanitarian pause" in the Syrian army's Russian-backed assault on the city holds.

Despite a drop in violence after the unilateral ceasefire took effect on Thursday, there was little sign civilians were heeding calls to leave opposition-held areas of the city, and Russia accused the rebels of intimidation.

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IS Raids Iraq's Kirkuk to Draw Attention from Mosul Offensive

Jihadists staged a brazen raid on the Iraqi city of Kirkuk Friday, in what appeared to be an attempt to divert attention from the huge offensive against their Mosul bastion.

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Qayyarah: From IS Control to Mosul Battle Hub

Just months after its recapture from the Islamic State group, the sprawling Qayyarah base in north Iraq has become a hub for operations to retake Mosul from the jihadists.

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Some 1,400 Migrants Rescued Off Libyan Coast

Some 1,400 migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean were rescued Thursday off the coast of Libya, according to the Italian coastguard, which coordinated the operations conducted mainly by aid ships.

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U.S. Service Member Killed North of Mosul

A member of the U.S. military was killed Thursday in a bomb blast north of Mosul, a senior U.S. defense official said, as Iraqi forces in the region continued their push on the city.

The official told AFP that the service member had died in what were likely "Mosul-related" operations, but did not provide additional details.

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Coalition Warplanes Hit Yemen Rebels

Warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition have hit rebel positions outside the Yemeni capital Sanaa, witnesses said Friday, after the alliance accused insurgents of breaching a shaky ceasefire.

The air strikes late Thursday targeted positions of the Iran-backed Huthi insurgents at Jebel al-Nabishuaib, on the southwestern outskirts of rebel-held Sanaa, according to witnesses.

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U.N. Says Russia Pledged to Extend Aleppo Truce through Saturday

Russia has promised to pause fighting in Syria's rebel-held east Aleppo through Saturday, the U.N.'s humanitarian office (OCHA) told AFP, after Damascus made a similar pledge. 

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Sporadic Fighting Strains Fragile Yemen Truce

Scattered clashes between rebels and pro-government forces undermined a fragile ceasefire in Yemen Thursday as global pressure intensified for a lasting truce in a country where millions are homeless and hungry.

The ceasefire, for an initial period of three days, took effect shortly before midnight on Wednesday under a United Nations plan which aims to allow sorely needed aid to reach suffering civilians.

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Iraqi Forces Moving 'Faster than Expected' on Mosul

Iraqi forces are "advancing faster than expected" in a major offensive to recapture Mosul from Islamic State jihadists, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Thursday.

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Turkish in Deadly Raids on US-Backed Syrian Kurd Fighters

Turkish warplanes have carried out deadly strikes on US-backed militias in northern Syria, including Syrian Kurdish fighters, a monitor said Thursday, action that is likely to raise tensions between the NATO allies.

The Turkish military said its jets conducted 26 raids on Wednesday night that killed 160 to 200 militants from the People's Protection Units (YPG), 

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