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Putin's Syria Gambit Puts U.S. on Back Foot at U.N.

Russia's President Vladimir Putin launched a new coalition to battle the Islamic State in Syria on Sunday, as he prepared to confront U.S. rival Barack Obama at the United Nations.

The dramatic diplomatic gambit underlined how Russia has seized the initiative on Syria, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met his counterpart Sergei Lavrov to express his concerns.

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Wounded Rebels Evacuated to Lebanon as Part of Zabadani Truce

Two severely wounded Islamist rebels were rushed out of a flashpoint rebel bastion in Syria to Lebanon on Sunday as part of a truce in flashpoint areas, a monitor said.

"The United Nations transferred two Ahrar al-Sham fighters in critical condition from Zabadani to Lebanon," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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17 Syrians Dead as Migrant Boat Sinks Off Turkey

Seventeen Syrian refugees drowned Sunday when their boat sank in Turkish waters on its way to Greece, local media reported, while the Italian coastguard said it had rescued some 500 migrants in the Mediterranean this weekend.

The bodies of the dead Syrians -- including five children -- were discovered by the Turkish coastguard inside the cabin of their wooden boat, which had set off from the holiday resort town of Bodrum for the Greek island of Leros, the Dogan news agency reported.

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Putin Says Seeking 'Coordinated Framework' to Fight IS

Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview released Sunday that he was seeking partners to set up a "coordinated framework" to fight the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria.

"We have proposed to cooperate with the countries in the region. We are trying to establish some kind of coordinated framework," Putin said in the interview with CBS television.

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Risk of 'Proxy War' in Syria, Warns UK Labor Leader

Russia and other nations could get sucked into a proxy war in Syria if there was no political solution to the crisis, British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said Sunday.

Speaking on the opening day of the main opposition Labor Party's annual conference in the seaside resort of Brighton, the newly-elected veteran socialist called for urgent action.

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Sisi Says Egypt in 'Ferocious' Anti-Terror War, Warns against Syria Partition

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi said in an interview that the Mideast region needs to cooperate to defeat a worsening terrorist threat that has led to a "ferocious war" in Egypt and created the danger of some countries "sliding into failure."

In a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press Saturday night, al-Sisi also said that Syria should not be divided after its civil war, that the Egyptian military needs to be "augmented" to defeat terrorists fighting in the Sinai and Western Desert, and that efforts should be renewed to solve the Palestinian issue and expand Egypt's nearly 40-year-peace with Israel to include more Arab countries.

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Iraq Steps up Anti-IS Coordination with Iran, Syria, Russia

Iraq, Russia, Iran and Syria have agreed to set up an intelligence committee in Baghdad, a spokesman said Sunday, a further sign of Moscow's growing role in the region's conflict.

Iraq welcomed the creation of the new cell as a chance to help harmonize often competing efforts in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.

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Tracing the Missing on Europe's Refugee Trail

His eyes crinkle as he smiles softly at the camera, a trim white moustache contrasting with his tanned, weathered skin, the top button of his striped shirt casually undone.

"Mohammad Abo Khaled (64) From: Syria. He was on his way to Greek island last contact: 20/8/2015," reads a post next to the photo published on a Facebook page for missing refugees.

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Missile Kills 17 in Rebel Enclave in Syria's Homs

The Syrian army fired a missile into the last rebel-held neighborhood of the central city of Homs killing 17 people, most of them civilians, a monitoring group said on Sunday.

Four children and four women were among the dead in Saturday's strike, the Syrian Observatory for Human Right said.

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France Carries out First Air Strikes on IS in Syria

France carried out its first air strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria on Sunday, as Russia said it was seeking a "coordinated framework" to fight the jihadists.

President Francois Hollande said six French warplanes were involved in the operation to strike an IS training camp near the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, and that more air strikes could follow in the coming weeks.

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