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ISIL jihadists seize 'most' of north Syria town

The jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has taken most of the town of Al-Bab in Syria's Aleppo province after fighting with rebels, an NGO said Monday. The advance by the group in the country's turbulent north comes after 10 days of fighting pitting moderate and Islamist opposition forces against the Al-Qaeda inspired organisation that has killed nearly 700 people. "ISIL has seized almost complete control of the town of Al-Bab, northeast of Aleppo city," Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.

ISIL jihadists seize 'most' of north Syria town

The jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has taken most of the town of Al-Bab in Syria's Aleppo province after fighting with rebels, an NGO said Monday. The advance by the group in the country's turbulent north comes after 10 days of fighting pitting moderate and Islamist opposition forces against the Al-Qaeda inspired organisation that has killed nearly 700 people. "ISIL has seized almost complete control of the town of Al-Bab, northeast of Aleppo city," Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, told AFP.

Kerry 'confident' Syria rebels will join peace talks

The United States on Sunday voiced confidence that Syria's opposition National Coalition group would attend upcoming peace talks in Switzerland with representatives of Bashar al-Assad's regime. "I am confident personally that the Syrian opposition will come to Geneva," US Secretary of State John Kerry said after a Paris meeting of the 11-nation "Friends of Syria" group attended by Coalition leader Ahmad Jarba. "It was a very constructive meeting today (with Jarba). I am confident that he and others will be in Geneva. I am counting on both parties to come together."

Friends of Syria group urges opposition to attend Geneva talks

By John Irish and Warren Strobel PARIS (Reuters) - The "Friends of Syria", an alliance of mainly Western and Gulf Arab countries who oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, urged opposition groups on Sunday to attend this month's peace talks, saying there was no other route to a political solution. With 10 days to go until the first direct talks between the opposition and President Bashar al-Assad's government - set for January 22 in Switzerland and dubbed "Geneva 2" - Western backers have struggled to unify rebel groups.

Friends of Syria group urges opposition to attend Geneva talks

By John Irish and Warren Strobel PARIS (Reuters) - The "Friends of Syria", an alliance of mainly Western and Gulf Arab countries who oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, urged opposition groups on Sunday to attend this month's peace talks, saying there was no other route to a political solution. With 10 days to go until the first direct talks between the opposition and President Bashar al-Assad's government - set for January 22 in Switzerland and dubbed "Geneva 2" - Western backers have struggled to unify rebel groups.

700 killed in Syria rebel-jihadist battle

Fierce fighting between jihadists and rival rebel groups in Syria has killed at least 700 in more than a week while hundreds more have gone missing, a monitoring group said Sunday. Among those killed were dozens of casualties in 16 suicide attacks staged by the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which is battling rebels mainly in northern Syria, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

At least 700 killed in Syria rebel-jihadist battle

Fierce fighting between jihadists and rival rebel groups in Syria in the past nine days has killed at least 700 and led to the disappearance of hundreds more, an NGO said Sunday. Since early January, opposition groups have been battling the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which is accused of abuses against other rebels, activists and civilians in areas where they operate.

US thinks it can coax opposition to Syria peace talks

The United States is "reasonably confident" that it can persuade the Syrian opposition to join peace talks slated for later this month, US diplomats said Friday. Secretary of State John Kerry is preparing to head to Paris to meet on Sunday with ministers from the "Friends of Syria" group in the hopes of finalizing the last details of the key conference. The head of the Syrian opposition National Coalition Ahmad Jarba will also be at the talks in the French capital, and is likely to come under intense pressure to join the Geneva 2 talks set to open on January 22.

Nearly 500 killed in Syria rebel-jihadist fighting

Nearly 500 people, among them 85 civilians, have been killed in a week of fighting pitting Syrian rebels against the jihadist Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a monitoring group said Friday. "We have documented the killing of 482 people in the fighting -- 85 civilians, 240 members of the rebel brigades and 157 members of ISIL," said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman. Among the civilians and rebels killed were 42 hostages who were executed in Aleppo by ISIL.

Al Qaeda group fights back against Syria rebel assault

By Dominic Evans BEIRUT (Reuters) - Al Qaeda-linked jihadists struck back against rival rebels in eastern and northern Syria on Friday after a week of internecine fighting among opponents of President Bashar al-Assad in which 500 people have been killed, a monitoring group said.
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