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3 Syrian Children Die in Tent Fire in Akkar

Three Syrian refugee children burned to death in a fire that destroyed their makeshift wooden hut in the northern region of Akkar on Thursday, a security services official told AFP.

The three children, two sisters and their cousin, were living in the hut built a year ago on the roof of a building in the town of Bhannine.

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Fears Grow in Denmark of Jails as Radicalist Breeding Grounds

Something happened in prison to Omar El-Hussein, the 22-year-old identified by police as the gunman who killed two people in a weekend shooting spree in Copenhagen.

His transformation from small-time criminal to cold-blooded killer is fuelling a debate about whether a radicalised environment in Danish prisons is pushing smalltime gangsters into the arms of Islamic extremism.

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Uneasy Alliances as Fractured Iraq Battles IS Group

Shiite Arab militias have flooded into northern Iraq's Kirkuk region to help Kurdish forces battle the Islamic State group, but their uneasy alliance threatens to reignite a much older conflict over the oil-rich area pitting the largely autonomous Kurds against the Arab-led government in Baghdad.

All across Iraq, the rapid advance by the Islamic State extremists over the past year has drawn longtime rivals into reluctant alliances. The shared struggle could with time help Iraqis forge a long-elusive sense of national unity. But it also risks papering over disputes that could burst into the open if the threat subsides.

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Qahwaji in Riyadh to Participate in U.S.-led Coalition Meeting

Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji headed to the Saudi capital Riyadh to take part in a two-day meeting for military leaders from more than 20 partner nations in a U.S.-led coalition to degrade and destroy Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Qahwaji traveled on Wednesday night to Saudi Arabia.

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Pentagon: U.S. May Train Syrian Rebels to Guide Air Raids

The United States will provide basic military training and equipment to Syrian rebels and may eventually instruct them on how to call in air strikes against Islamic State jihadists, the Pentagon said Wednesday.

But for the moment, the training will focus on fundamentals and not the more complicated task of directing U.S.-led warplanes to a particular target, the skilled job of a forward air controller, Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told reporters.

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U.N. Envoy Says Syria Regime Ready for Aleppo Ceasefire as over 150 Killed on the Ground

The Syrian regime is ready to suspend aerial bombardment of Aleppo to allow a humanitarian ceasefire, a U.N. envoy said, even as government troops sought to encircle embattled rebels.

The comments by Staffan de Mistura on Tuesday came as regime forces cut the main rebel supply line into Aleppo in fighting that killed more than 150 people.

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Western Volunteers Rally to Iraq Christian Militia

Decked out in his U.S. army-issued fatigues and a lip stud shining from his mouth, the young American fighter cuts an unusual figure in the northern Iraqi town of Al-Qosh.

He served in the U.S. army in Baghdad in 2006-2007 and has now returned to fight the Islamic State jihadist group with Dwekh Nawsha, a Christian militia whose name is an Assyrian-language phrase conveying self-sacrifice.

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U.S., Turkey Agree 'in Principle' to Train, Equip Syrian Rebels

The United States and Turkey have agreed "in principle" on a deal to train and equip Syrian rebel forces, the State Department said Tuesday.

"As we have announced before, Turkey has agreed to be one of the regional hosts for the train-and-equip program for moderate Syrian opposition forces," department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters. 

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Japan Donates Additional $18 Million for Refugees in Lebanon

Japan has granted Lebanon $18 million to help the country cater to the needs of the Syrian refugees, Tokyo's embassy in Beirut announced on Tuesday.

“In light of its concern regarding the protracting nature of the Syrian crisis and the continuous pressures on the countries that are hosting refugees, the government of Japan decided on February 3 to offer additional aid worth $18 million to Lebanon,” the embassy said in a statement.

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U.S. Announces Another $125 Million in Aid for Syria Crisis

The United States announced Tuesday it will provide an additional $125 million (110 million euros) in emergency food aid for Syrians affected by the civil war.

The U.S. State Department's Kelly Clements said the money will go to the U.N. World Food Program, which feeds nearly six million Syrians inside and outside the country every month.

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