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U.S.-led Strikes Pound IS Jihadists in Iraq, Syria

U.S.-led warplanes bombarded the Islamic State group Friday with new air strikes as heavily armed Iraqi Kurdish fighters were set to reinforce the besieged Syrian border town of Kobane.

Kurdish forces, backed by U.S. air power, have been holding out for weeks against an IS offensive around Kobane, which has become a high-profile symbol of efforts to stop the advance of the jihadists.

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Syria Rebels Battle for Aleppo Supply Route

Syrian rebels fought fierce clashes with loyalist troops Saturday as they tried to secure their supply line to second city Aleppo against advances by the army, a monitor said.

The clashes in the divided area of Handarat just north of Aleppo, came a day after fighting that killed 15 soldiers and pro-regime militia as well as 12 rebels, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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IS Attacks Turkey Crossing as Kobane Awaits Iraq Kurd Relief

Islamic State group fighters made a new bid to cut off the Syrian border town of Kobane from neighboring Turkey Saturday as preparations gathered pace to deploy Iraqi Kurdish reinforcements.

The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq unveiled plans on Friday for up to 200 well-trained peshmerga to join Syrian Kurdish forces defending Kobane in the coming week.

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3 Troops Dead in Attacks on Army in Akkar as Kidnap of Soldiers Foiled

Two army troops were killed and several others wounded in an armed attack Saturday on a military vehicle in the Akkar area of al-Mhammara, which was followed by clashes with gunmen “loyal to Sheikh Khaled Hoblos” and a failed attempt to abduct five soldiers.

In a separate incident, gunmen fired “a rocket-propelled grenade against an army vehicle in the northern area of Minieh near the Haroun mosque, which resulted in the death of an officer and the wounding of two troops,” the army said in a statement.

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Al-Rahi Fears Lebanese Would Adapt to Vacuum

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-RAhi renewed on Saturday his call for the election of a new head of state, rejecting to let the Lebanese get used to the vacuum at the Baabda Palace.

“There is no justification for not electing a new president,” al-Rahi said during a meeting at the Maronite Diocese of Saint Maron of Sydney in Australia.

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Nusra Front Warns: Government Taking Country into Abyss

Al-Nusra Front warned on Saturday that the case of abducted soldiers and policemen became a political tool that the government is using to take the Lebanese people into the abyss.

“The Lebanese cabinet is exploiting the case and will lead the country into the abyss,” al-Nusra Front said via it's account on Twitter.

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Grateful for U.S. Strikes, Syrian Kurds Name Baby 'Obama'

Sultan Muslim, a Syrian Kurd, had no doubt what to name her seventh child when he was born, safely in Turkey, after a harrowing month-long flight from her home in Kobane: Obama.

Desperate to flee the flashpoint Syrian border town, the heavily pregnant mother, her husband and six other children made it across the frontier just in time for the boy's arrival. 

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France Announces Big Coalition Air Raid against IS in Iraq

The international coalition currently battling the Islamic State group in Iraq dropped around 70 bombs on an arsenal and jihadist training center in a large-scale overnight raid, the French military said Friday.

"I think it's safe to say we hurt them last night. The operation is a success," France's Chief of the Defence Staff Pierre de Villiers told Europe 1 radio, adding the raid took place in the Kirkuk region of northern Iraq.

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Six 'Militants' Killed Ahead of Key Tunisia Polls

A raid by Tunisian security forces on an armed group near the capital Friday left six suspected militants dead, including five women, fanning tensions days ahead of a landmark election.

Tens of thousands of soldiers and police will be deployed for Sunday's parliamentary polls -- the first since an uprising three years ago that inspired the Arab Spring revolutions.

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Akkar Security Patrol Attacked from Syrian Territories

A security patrol came under fire in an area bordering Syria in the northern Akkar district, the state-run National News Agency reported Friday.

NNA said the vehicle was targeted by gunfire from Syria near the town of Qashlaq.

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