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IS evacuation deal sparks Iraqi outrage

Iraqis on Tuesday denounced a deal allowing Islamic State group fighters to evacuate a Syrian-Lebanese frontier region towards the Iraqi border. Hundreds of jihadists started leaving the area on Monday, heading by bus for Syria’s eastern province of Deir Ezzor, which borders Iraq and is the only Syrian province still …

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Rain hampers Iraqi forces’ push on Mosul Old City

By Patrick Markey for Reuters | MOSUL, IRAQ — Heavy rain slowed Iraqi government forces battling Islamic State on Thursday around Mosul’s Old City, where militants holed up in narrow alleyways and homes resisted with sniper fire, suicide attacks and car bombs. Troops from the federal police and elite Rapid …

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Russia Says Starts Construction Work on Iran’s Bushehr-2 Power Plant

The Levant News – Construction and installation work has formally been started on the site of Bushehr-2 Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Iran’s southern port city, Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom announced on Wednesday. Rosatom said that the construction and installation work phase was started on March 14. Representatives of the …

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Iraqi forces see off ISIS attack, seize road out of Mosul

By Isabel Coles and Ahmed Rasheed for Reuters | MOSUL/SULAIMANIYA, IRAQ – Iraqi forces saw off an overnight ISIS counter-attack near Mosul’s main government buildings and took full control on Wednesday of the last major road leading west to the militant-held town of Tal Afar, the military said. Inside the …

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Iraqi forces in Mosul fight ISIS counter-attack

By Stephen Kalin for Reuters | MOSUL, IRAQ – ISIS fighters launched a counter-attack against advancing U.S.-backed Iraqi forces in western Mosul during an overnight storm, as the battle for control of the militants’ last major urban stronghold in Iraq intensified. Explosions and gun fire rang out across the city’s …

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Water cuts and rising food prices leave Mosul facing crisis

By Ulf Laessing and Maher Chmaytelli for Reuters | MOSUL/BAGHDAD, IRAQ Fighting between Iraqi troops and Islamic State militants has cut water supplies across a large part of Mosul, where poorer families are already struggling to feed themselves, and a local official said the increasingly encircled city was in crisis. …

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Elite Iraqi troops battle ISIS on Mosul streets

MOSUL, Iraq: Elite Iraqi troops battled ISIS in the streets of Mosul Friday as U.S.-backed forces in Syria pressed an advance on extremist bastion Raqqa after a sandstorm eased. The high winds in the desert which separates the Syrian Kurdish-Arab militia alliance from the extremists’ stronghold in the Euphrates Valley …

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ISIS hits back in Mosul but faces new Raqqa front

By Ahmed Rasheed and Rodi Said | BAGHDAD/AIN ISSA, SYRIA – Reuters —ISIS fighters targeted Iraqi troops with car bombs and ambushes in Mosul, stalling an army advance in their north Iraq stronghold, but faced attack on a new front on Sunday when U.S.-backed rebels launched a campaign for the Syrian …

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Documents show ISIS obsessions

By Babak Dehghanpisheh and Michael Georgy  for REUTERS| ZARQA/SHURA, IRAQ —After ISIS conquered villages in northern Iraq, it spelled out in minute detail the rules of its self-proclaimed caliphate, from beard length to alms to guidelines for taking women as sex slaves. Islamic State documents and posters, obtained in villages …

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Ashura rituals stir controversy among Shiites

THE LEVANT EXCLUSIVE – By Dr. Haytham Mouzahem* — Each year, as they commemorate Ashura, the Shiites debate whether certain rituals are permissible. Some of those rituals are violent, such as Tatbir and hitting oneself with chains practices that harm one’s body and distort the revolution and objectives of Imam …

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Explaining Mosul in Five Maps

BY GEORGE FRIEDMAN AND JACOB L. SHAPIRO for Mauldin Economics — The Islamic State captured Iraq’s second largest city, Mosul, from the Iraqi government after a seven-day battle in June 2014. The US-backed Iraqi assault to recapture Mosul began with great fanfare on Oct. 18. This piece will lay out the …

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What are the humanitarian needs in wake of Mosul offensive?

By Lin Taylor for Reuters – Iraqi government forces, with air and ground support from the U.S.-led coalition, launched an offensive on Monday to drive Islamic State from the northern city of Mosul, the militants’ last major stronghold in the country. The United States predicted Islamic State would suffer”a lasting …

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All you need to know about Uighur “Jihadis” in Syria- Interview with Haytham Mouzahem

The Levant News — Here is an interview with Dr. Haytham Mouzahem, President of Beirut Center For Middle East Studies, regarding the Uighur fighters in Syria: Q- Is there now clear and undisputed evidence emerging from Syria of a significant Uighur presence? What is their number? I have seen everything …

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Iraq estimates cost of ISIS ravages at $23 billion

The Levant News — Iraqi Minister of Construction and Housing Tariq al-Khikani estimated Tuesday that Iraq has lost $23 billion since the emergence of the ISIS in 2014. He spoke at the third preparatory meeting for the United Nations Human Settlements Programme, held in Indonesia from Monday through Wednesday. Khikani …

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Baghdad death toll tops 200

The Levant News — Iraq’s government is under growing pressure to improve security as the death toll from Sunday’s massive car bombing in Baghdad’s predominantly Shiite Karada neighborhood officially topped 200. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has announced three days of mourning. He also ordered that phony explosives detection devices be …

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Iraq warns Saudi Arabia against meddling in its affairs

The Levant News — Iraq’s ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned Saudi Arabia for its “repeated interventions in Iraqi internal matters” in a statement today. The warning follows remarks by Saudi Foreign Affairs Minister Adel al-Jubeir on Wednesday that called for the dissolution of the Shiite-dominated Popular Mobilization Forces fighting alongside …

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