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Middle East

Syrian rebel 'hell cannons' kill 300 civilians - monitoring group

Bomb damage in Syria.Syrian rebels using improvised mortar bombs made of cooking gas canisters killed 311 civilians between July and December this year, a monitoring group said on Friday, condemning the use of the wildly inaccurate weapons.

Al Qaeda in Yemen blames US for hostage deaths

Al Qaeda blames US for Yemen hostage deathsAl Qaeda in Yemen blames the United States for the death of a US and South African hostage killed in a failed rescue attempt by US forces, an official of the militant group said, arguing Washington had "foolishly" chosen armed force over negotiation.

Kerry calls for flexibility in US war powers against Islamic State

Kerry wants flexibilty for Islamic State fightAny congressional authorisation of US military force against Islamic State should be flexible and not limit the fight to Iraq and Syria, Secretary of State John Kerry said.

U.S. training of Syrian rebels still months away - coalition chief

Syrian rebels.Western plans to train and equip non-jihadi rebels in Syria will not start until at least late February, a leading opposition figure said on Friday, depriving them of support they need to counter both rival insurgents and Syrian government forces.

Syria's Assad sees long war as Islamic State attacks base

Bashar al-Assad.Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview published on Thursday he expected his country's conflict to be long and difficult but vowed to defeat the insurgents battling to oust him and said he would not be driven from power.

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