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Oman Mediator Credentials on Show in French Release in Yemen

The release of a French hostage held in Yemen with the help of Oman has once again highlighted the tiny sultanate's unique role as a discreet Gulf mediator.

France announced late Thursday that Isabelle Prime, who worked on a World Bank-funded project in Yemen, had been freed by her abductors after nearly six months in captivity.

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Despite Differences on Kurds, U.S. and Turkey Seek IS-free Syria Zone

The United States and Turkey are forging an alliance of convenience to deal with the Syrian crisis, cooperating to create a zone free of jihadists despite sharp disagreements over the role of Kurdish fighters.

After months of criticism that it was not doing enough to fight jihadists from the Islamic State group, Turkey last month made an about-turn in its strategy that was hailed by Washington and NATO.

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Nuclear Peace: Mankind's Most Dangerous Bluff?

In the nervous aftermath of the Hiroshima bombing 70 years ago, citizens spent decades on alert for a nuclear war that would wipe out billions in a radioactive firestorm and render Earth uninhabitable.

Yet the apocalypse never came.

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Fears of More Violence Haunt Village where Palestinian Child Killed

In a West Bank hill village where an 18-month-old Palestinian child burned to death last week in a firebombing by suspected Jewish settlers, the boy's uncle fears for his own children's safety.

"They are still young; they don't understand anything yet, but they are already very scared because they saw their cousin being burnt," Hassan Dawabsha said in front of his brother's gutted home in Duma, nestled in the hills near the Jordan Valley.

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Life Under Two Masters in Syria's Hasakeh

Life in the Syrian city of Hasakeh, divided between allied Kurdish and regime forces, comes at a price: two lots of military service and double the taxes.

Raed, a Syrian Arab living in the northeastern city, avoids passing through checkpoints run by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

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Egypt's Disaffected Youth Increasingly Calling for Violence

The 20-year-old law student says he has had enough of fruitless protests in support of Egypt's deposed Islamist president, two years of a losing struggle with police.

Now he wants to join the extremists of the Islamic State group who are battling the army in the Sinai Peninsula.

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Despite Bombing, Islamic State is no Weaker than a Year Ago

After billions of dollars spent and more than 10,000 extremist fighters killed, the Islamic State group is fundamentally no weaker than it was when the U.S.-led bombing campaign began a year ago, American intelligence agencies have concluded.

The military campaign has prevented Iraq's collapse and put the Islamic State under increasing pressure in northern Syria, particularly squeezing its self-proclaimed capital in Raqqa. But intelligence analysts see the overall situation as a strategic stalemate: The Islamic State remains a well-funded extremist army able to replenish its ranks with foreign jihadis as quickly as the U.S. can eliminate them. Meanwhile, the group has expanded to other countries, including Libya, Egypt's Sinai Peninsula and Afghanistan.

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In Iraq Bastions, PKK Braces for New War with Turkey

Pointing to a crater left by one of scores of Turkish air strikes in Iraq's Kurdistan region, a PKK rebel official said that "Turkey has declared war against us".

For three decades, Turkey was at war with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which was seeking an independent state in southeastern Anatolia.

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Mullah Omar's Death: Taliban's Loss, Islamic State's Gain

Mullah Omar's death poses an existential crisis for the Afghan Taliban, analysts say, potentially presaging a splintering of the movement as the Islamic State group gains a toehold among insurgents enthralled by its battlefield prowess.

The group has suffered a string of recent defections to IS, with some insurgents voicing disaffection with the "ghost leader", who hasn't been seen in public since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion toppled the Afghan Taliban from power.

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Allies Tolerate Turkey's Double Game to Boost IS Fight

Turkey's allies know it is playing a double game with its twin onslaught against Kurdish rebels and the Islamic State group, but are turning a blind eye to keep NATO's only Muslim member on side, analysts said.

The very public show of solidarity for Turkey's fight against "terrorism" at an emergency NATO meeting on Tuesday hid the discomfort some allies feel about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's strategy.

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