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Report: Turkey, U.S. Agree Plan to Train 2,000 Moderate Syrian Rebels

Turkey and the United States have agreed a plan under which some 2,000 fighters from the moderate Syrian opposition would be trained on Turkish soil, a report said Saturday.

The fighters from the Free Syrian Army (FSA) will be trained at the Kirsehir base some 150 kilometers (90 miles) south of the capital Ankara by both Turkish and U.S. personnel starting from late December, Hurriet Daily News reported, quoting unnamed officials.

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Islamic State Faces War of Attrition in Syria's Kobane

The Islamic State group is locked in a war of attrition in the Syrian border town of Kobane, where Kurdish fighters backed by U.S.-led air strikes are mounting fierce resistance.

Two months after IS launched a major offensive to try to capture the strategic prize on the Turkish frontier, the jihadists have failed to defeat the town's Kurdish defenders.

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Egyptian Militants Loyal to IS Claim Deadly Attack on Soldiers

Egypt's deadliest militant group, which has pledged allegiance to Islamic State jihadists, on Friday claimed responsibility for a suicide attack last month that killed 30 soldiers.

Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, which has spearheaded an insurgency in Egypt's restive Sinai Peninsula, made the claim in a video posted on social media.

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U.S. Sees No Sign of Qaida-IS Pact, Says Clapper

U.S. intelligence chief James Clapper said Friday analysts had not seen any evidence indicating Islamic State jihadists and Al-Qaida had forged an alliance in Syria.

Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, told CBS television U.S. experts were unaware of any pact between the two groups, which would potentially complicate the U.S.-led military campaign in Syria.

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NGO Says Scores of Refugees Risk Egypt Deportation

Rights group Amnesty International urged Egypt Friday to release dozens of mostly Palestinian refugees who have fled the Syrian conflict, saying they were being held illegally and threatened with extradition.

Since the army removed Islamist president Mohammed Morsi last year, Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Egypt suspected of supporting him have been targeted by the authorities and the media.

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Libya Frees Nine Turks Detained by Army

Libya on Friday released nine Turks who had been captured by the army and handed them over to representatives from Ankara, a government statement said.

The men had been captured by troops in the embattled eastern city of Benghazi, where former general Khalifa Haftar has launched an offensive against Islamist militants.

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Two Baghdad car Bombs Kill at Least 17

Car bomb blasts in two northern Baghdad neighborhoods killed at least 17 people and wounded at least 57 on Friday, medical and security sources said.

One explosion went off near the Tigris River in the Graiat area, killing at least seven people. The other struck near a restaurant in the Adhamiyah district, killing 10, they said.

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Algerian President Bouteflika 'Hospitalized in France'

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, 77, has been admitted to hospital in the southeastern French town of Grenoble, a French government source told AFP on Friday.

The clinic did not offer a reason for his hospitalization nor give an update on his condition but Bouteflika has been in poor health since 2013 when he was treated for a "mini-stroke" in Paris.

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IS Jihadists Behead Senior Member for Theft

The Islamic State jihadist group has executed a senior member who was accused of embezzling funds and theft, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor said on Friday.

"The Islamic State executed a senior leader in the group of Syrian nationality, beheading him and hanging his body on a cross" in eastern Deir Ezzor province, it said.

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Yemen Trying to Free Kidnapped Tajik Woman

A Tajik woman was kidnapped last month by tribesmen in Yemen's eastern Marib province, the interior ministry said on Friday, adding that work was under way to secure her release.

"Yemeni security services in Marib are doing all they can to free the Tajik citizen kidnapped in Marib in late October," the ministry said in a statement carried by the official Saba news agency.

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