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'Slow Progress' in Troops Case as Families Urge Captors to Stop Death Threats to Facilitate Talks

The families of the troops abducted by Syria-based jihadist groups on Thursday urged the kidnappers to stop threatening to kill more soldiers, as highly-informed sources said negotiations have made “slow progress.”

Prime Minister Tammam “Salam told us that the negotiations have not stopped and that the demands received by the government need some time,” Jamaa Islamiya member Ahmed al-Ayyoubi said on behalf of the families after a meeting with the premier.

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IS Jihadists Close in on Syria Kurd Town

Jihadists from the Islamic State group using heavy weapons have seized a string of villages around Ain al-Arab as they close in on Syria's third largest Kurdish town, a monitor said Thursday.

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Turkey Mulls Buffer Zone along Iraq, Syria Border

Turkey's military is mulling the prospect of establishing a buffer zone along its border with Syria and Iraq amid an escalating threat posed by Islamic State extremists, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Tuesday.

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Erdogan: Exiled Muslim Brotherhood Leaders Would be Welcome in Turkey

Turkey would welcome exiled leaders of Egypt's outlawed Muslim Brotherhood who have come under pressure to leave Qatar, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said.

A Brotherhood official said on Saturday that several members of the group were relocating after Qatar came under enormous pressure from other Gulf Arab states to cut support for the Islamist group.

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Paris Conference Aims to Divide up Tasks in IS Fight

Who strikes and where? Who provides the weapons? Who provides the intelligence? And who provides the cash?

The international conference in Paris on Monday that gathers some 20 countries from the anti-Islamic State coalition will seek to divide up the roles between nations with often diverging interests.

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Egypt's Brotherhood Says Leaders to Quit Qatar Haven

Leaders of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood exiled in Qatar will leave the Gulf country after it came under enormous pressure to cut support for the Islamist group, a Brotherhood official said.

Amr Darrag, a leader of the Brotherhood's political arm, the Freedom and Justice Party, said several members were relocating to "spare Qatar embarrassment", in a statement posted on his Facebook page late Friday.

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Kurdish Female Fighters Face Jihadists in Iraq's North

Tekoshin stands on a mountain in north Iraq with a rifle slung over her shoulder and a grenade tucked into her belt,  facing jihadists in "a struggle to liberate women".

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Pope Francis to Visit Turkey in Late November

Pope Francis will visit Turkey "in the final days of November" at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Vatican announced on Friday.

Father Federico Lombardi told reporters the pontiff had received an invitation from Turkey's head of state, but that the exact date and program of the visit had yet to be finalized.

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Kerry in Ankara Seeking Support for Anti-IS Coalition

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Ankara Friday for talks aimed at building a coalition against Islamic State jihadists, a visit that comes after Turkey said it would not allow its air bases to be used for strikes on the extremists.

The top U.S. diplomat, touring the Middle East to establish a coalition of more than 40 countries, was meeting with Turkey's leaders including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks on measures to defeat the militants in Iraq and Syria. 

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Bassil Says No One Must be 'Excluded' from Anti-IS Fight, Urges Weapons for Army

Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil stressed Thursday during talks in Jeddah the importance of not “excluding any country or party” that is willing to counter the Islamic State and asked for military assistance to the Lebanese Army.

“There shouldn't be any exclusion of countries or parties that are willing to counter IS, since there is no reason or justification for such a rejection,” said Bassil during a meeting between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Arab and Turkish counterparts aimed at building an anti-IS coalition.

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