The Latest: Int'l Red Cross tries to reach out to IS

AP News
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Posted: Dec 07, 2015 1:29 PM
The Latest: Int'l Red Cross tries to reach out to IS

BEIRUT (AP) — The latest developments regarding the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq: All times local:

8:25 p.m.

The director-general of the International Committee of the Red Cross says the organization is trying to reach out to the Islamic State group to help get humanitarian aid to people in areas under its control.

Yves Daccord made the comments to The Associated Press at Monday's start to a major gathering of the Red Cross and Red Crescent held every four years.

The conference in Geneva aims partly to reinforce international humanitarian law now under threat in conflict zones like Syria, Iraq, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Yemen.

Daccord said the Red Cross is a "radically neutral" organization trying to have "a relationship where we can do it" with the Islamic State group. He said it's very difficult in Syria because some IS-controlled areas "are pretty off-limits for any humanitarian."

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8:20 p.m.

Cyprus' foreign minister says the country is in talks with Russia on a deal that would allow Russian warplanes returning from airstrikes in Syria to use Cypriot airports in emergency situations

Ioannis Kasoulides said Monday the agreement that is now being ironed out will be along the lines of a similar deal permitting French warplanes to land at Cypriot airports if they're in trouble.

Kasoulides said Cyprus is bound by international law to grant such emergency access.

He said the agreement with Russia will also permit use of Cypriot facilities to ease the possible evacuation of Russian nationals from neighboring countries.

Cyprus' easternmost tip is less than 100 miles (160 kilometers) from the Syrian coast. Britain is conducting airstrikes from its air base on Cyprus against Islamic State group targets in Syria and Iraq.

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4:30 p.m.

A German court has convicted two men of membership in a terror organization for joining the Islamic State group in Syria.

The Celle state court on Monday sentenced Ayoub B., 27, to four years and three months in prison and Ebrahim H.B., 26, to three years, the dpa news agency reported. Both are German-Tunisians whose last names weren't given in accordance with privacy laws.

Both went to Syria in 2014. B. drove an ambulance during fighting in Iraq while H.B. was supposed to carry out a suicide bombing in Baghdad. The operation was aborted after some in his group were arrested.

The two became disillusioned with the group and returned to Germany after about three months.

Both testified about their experiences during the trial, which began in August.

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2:30 p.m.

Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari has warned Turkey that the deadline for the withdrawal of additional Turkish forces from Iraq's north expires on Tuesday.

He said on Monday that unless Turkish troops pullout, Iraq intends to raise the matter before the United National Security Council.

Turkey says its troops have been stationed at a small base outside of the Iraqi city of Mosul since last year as part of a training mission coordinated with the Iraqi government in Baghdad.

However, the arrival of additional Turkish forces on Friday sparked uproar in the Iraqi capital amid exaggerated media reports.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has repeatedly called for the forces to be withdrawn. A number of other senior Iraqi politicians have called the move a violation of Iraq's sovereignty.

Turkey announced Sunday additional deployments to Iraq would be halted until the Iraqi government's "sensitivities are overcome."

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2:10 p.m.

The U.S.-led Combined Joint Task Force coordinating coalition activities against the Islamic State group says the alliance carried out airstrikes in the province where Syria accuses it of hitting government troops, but it says there is no indication it hit any Syrian soldiers.

The task force said in a statement Monday it carried out four airstrikes solely against oil well heads in Deir el-Zour province on Sunday, all of them some 55 kilometers (34 miles) southeast of Ayyash.

The Syrian government says nine missiles fired by coalition aircraft on a Syrian army camp in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour killed three soldiers and wounded 13.

The coalition however says it "did not strike any vehicles or personnel targets in this area. We have no indication any Syrian soldiers were even near our strikes."

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1:35 p.m.

A Qatar-based American military official says the U.S.-led coalition has no indication that the alliance aircraft killed Syrian troops in Syria.

The Syrian government says aircraft belonging to the coalition launched nine missiles on a Syrian army camp in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour Sunday night, killing three soldiers and wounding 13 on Sunday night.

Lt. Col. Kristi Beckman, director of public affairs at the Combined Air Operations Center at al-Udeid air base in Qatar, says there was no indication that the coalition had killed Syrian troops.

Beckman tells The Associated Press that the U.S. operations center is "aware of the incident" but that at this time it does not "have any indication our strikes killed Syrian soldiers."

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11:25 a.m.

The Syrian government says U.S.-led coalition aircraft launched nine missiles on a Syrian army camp in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, killing three soldiers and wounding 13.

Monday's statement from the Foreign Ministry says that four aircraft belonging to the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group targeted the army camp on Sunday night.

It says the strikes hamper "efforts to combat terrorism" and allegedly prove "that this coalition lacks seriousness and credibility."

If confirmed, the attack would be the first time the coalition has hit Syrian troops.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported the incident.

Deir el-Zour is held mainly by IS but the Syrian government still holds parts of the city.