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Syria: The End Of The 'Caliphate' Doesn't Mean The End Of ISIS

ISIS territorial caliphate elimination does not mean ISIS is dead

On Friday, en route to Florida aboard Air Force One, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced that ISIS' "territorial caliphate has been eliminated in Syria."

Sanders showed reporters a before-and-after map of Syria, indicating that ISIS no longer controlled any territory.

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Trump’s Bad Deal with the Taliban

Trumps bad deal with the TalibanLast week, Afghanistan’s national security adviser, Hamdullah Mohib, launched into a broadside against Zalmay Khalilzad, the chief American diplomat responsible for negotiating with the Taliban. Addressing reporters in Washington, Mohib insinuated that Khalilzad is seeking to install himself as the “viceroy” of a new “caretaker government.” The State Department quickly issued a sharp rebuke, saying that any condemnation of Khalilzad was really a critique of its leader, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

While Mohib’s specific charge may have been hyperbole, it almost certainly wasn’t a slip of the tongue. Mohib has been around Washington for years, including as Afghanistan’s ambassador to the U.S., so he knew how his words would be received. His harsh critique of Khalilzad reflects the Afghan government’s deep mistrust of the Trump administration’s plans.

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UN: Civilian deaths in Afghanistan hit record high in 2018

Afghan civilian deaths highest in 2018United Nations says the war-torn country saw 3,800 civilian lives taken last year, including 1,000 children.

Talks between the United States and the Taliban continue in Doha as civilians in Afghanistan are dying in record numbers.

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Commander of US-backed Syrian forces calls for 1,500 troops to stay

Kobani asks for US troops to remainThe commander of U.S.-aligned Syrian forces wants as many as 1,500 U.S. service members to remain in the country to assist with operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Reuters reports that Mazloum Kobani, commander-in-chief of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), told reporters on Monday that he hopes the U.S. will halt plans to fully withdraw from the country, which President Trump announced in December.

“We would like to have air cover, air support and a force on the ground to coordinate with us,” Kobani said at an airbase in Syria, according to Reuters. British and French forces are already in talks to remain in the country, he reportedly added, but stressed that “a partial group of American forces" would ideally remain as well.

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Second Suicide Bomb in Five Days Hits U.S. Convoy in Syria

Second Suicide Bomb in Five days hits US ConvoyA suicide bombing has hit a U.S.-Kurdish convoy in northern Syria, making it the second suicide attack to target American troops in five days.

On Thursday, two U.S. soldiers and two other Americans working for the coalition in Syria were killed in a suicide bombing in Manbij in an attack later claimed by ISIS. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says two U.S. soldiers were injured in Monday's attack and five of their Syria Democratic Forces escorts were killed.

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Civilians, US troops killed in blast in northern Syria

Civilians, US troops, Syrians killed northern Syria blast

Several people, including US troops, were reportedly killed after a blast struck near a US-led coalition patrol in the northern Syrian town of Manbij on Wednesday.

The US-led coalition confirmed on Twitter that US troops were killed during the explosion, but did not elaborate on the number of casualties. It said it was still gathering information about the attack.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Kurdish-led Manbij Military Council, which administers the town, said the attack occurred near a restaurant on Wednesday, killing several, including civilians.

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Syrian refugees cling to life on Golan Heights as Assad’s net tightens

Syrian refugees on Golan cling to life

It’s a regular stop for holidaymakers in Israel. American teenagers, some of them boys in sleeveless basketball tops, cluster on hilltop lookouts in the Golan Heights, a volcanic plateau captured from Syria half a century ago. Visitors ride quad bikes along dusty paths or spend the day touring the area’s vineyards. Signs on the roads warn of the risks to tourists: “Caution – cyclists ahead.”

For Syrians on the other side of a fortified perimeter fence, there are more pressing concerns. Thousands have gathered as close to the border as possible, gambling their lives on the assumption that Syrian government forces fighting rebels will not bring the battle too close to Israel.

It is no sure bet. From the Israeli-controlled side, the whistle of an unseen jet could be heard and then a sudden, deeper rumble. In the distance, a grey pillar of smoke punched hundreds of metres into the air as the airstrike hit.

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