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U.S. to Track Jihadists in Syria with Spy Planes

The United States is poised to send spy planes into Syria to track Islamic State jihadists whose advances have sparked international concern and American air strikes in neighboring Iraq.

A U.S. official confirmed the plans after Syria said on Monday it was willing to work with the international community, including Washington, to tackle extremist fighters.

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Obama Has Taken no Decision on Syria Airstrikes

The White House said Monday that President Barack Obama had so far made no decision on whether to launch air strikes on Islamic State militants in Syria.

"The president has not made any decision to conduct military action in Syria," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said, amid rising expectations of U.S. action following American attacks against the jihadist group in Iraq.

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In Moving Smuggled Letter, Foley Told of Captive Life

Murdered U.S. hostage James Foley told his parents of his life imprisoned with 17 other captives in a Syrian dungeon, in a moving smuggled letter.

The 40-year-old freelance reporter -- whose death was revealed last week in a video released by militants from the so-called "Islamic State" -- taught a fellow hostage to memorize his message.

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Top General Says IS Will 'Soon' Pose Threat to U.S.

The U.S. military's top general believes Islamic State extremists will "soon" pose a threat to America and Europe and that an international coalition will be needed to confront it, his spokesman said Monday.

U.S. commanders are preparing possible "options" to counter IS jihadists both in Iraq as well as Syria, according to General Martin Dempsey's spokesman, Colonel Ed Thomas.

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Qatar Aims to Prove Its Role against Radical Islam

Qatar, which mediated the release of a U.S. hostage held by al-Qaida in Syria, seeks to prove its role in confronting the Islamist radicals it has been accused of supporting, experts say.

The Qatari foreign ministry, in a statement, said the tiny gas-rich nation had "succeeded in releasing American journalist Peter Theo Curtis," after he spent 22 months in captivity.

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Nusra Threatens Force to Free Prisoners as Hostages Families Say Breakthrough Expected within 10 Days

Al-Nusra Front threatened Monday to use force to “liberate” its prisoners in Lebanon's jails, warning that the fate of the captive Lebanese security personnel would be at stake should Hizbullah wage an attack on the Syrian Qalamun region.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq described Nusra's threat to kill the troops as “not serious,” telling a delegation from their families that their liberation is “a duty, a commitment and a national responsibility that has no room for leniency or procrastination and that won't be subject to bargaining."

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Germany Says No Public Money Paid for Syria Hostage Release

The German government said it did not pay to secure the release earlier this year of a 27-year-old German national kidnapped in Syria by jihadist militants.

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Syria Says Ready to Work with World against 'Terror'

The U.N. Monday accused jihadists in Iraq of waging a campaign of "ethnic and religious cleansing", as Syria said it was ready to work with the global community against "terrorism".

The accusation by U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay came as Kurdish peshmerga forces pushed back Islamic State (IS) jihadists northeast of Baghdad a day after the militants overran a key military airport in Syria.

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Jihadists Pushed Back in Iraq, Seize Key Syria Airport

Kurdish peshmerga forces supported by Iraqi air strikes pushed back jihadist fighters in northern Iraq on Monday, even as the militants overran a key military airport in neighbouring Syria.

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Report: Islamist Gunmen Infiltrate Arsal, Assault Residents

A group of gunmen deployed on Monday in the northeastern border town of Arsal, media reports said, a day after militants raided the houses of residents, who are staunch supporters of the Lebanese army.

“More than 100 Lebanese and Syrian armed men in civilian clothes are deploying in Arsal,” Voice of Lebanon radio (93.3) reported.

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