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UN calls on countries to 'abide by laws of war' in Syria

Airstrikes on Islamic State targets must distinguish between military and civilian objects, and be proportionate, UN investigators have said.

According to Reuters, the UN investigators called on countries preparing military strikes against IS to abide by the laws of war.

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Congress 'to scrutinise' Obama military strategy

US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Army General Martin Dempsey have been scheduled to testify before Congress over President Obama's strategy to combat Islamic State extremists in Iraq and Syria, according to the Associated Press.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (L) speaks next to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey Credit: Reuters

The hearings are the first in a series that will measure the president's ability to rally congressional support.

President Obama announced last week an intensified phase in the US counter-offensive against IS in Iraq, which could entail strikes inside Syria. The president said he had the authority to order the airstrikes without new congressional approval.

US airstrikes destroy IS vehicles near Baghdad

US military forces conducted two airstrikes near Sinjar and south west of Baghdad, destroying six vehicles belonging to Islamic State militants, US Central Command has said.

These strikes were conducted under authority to protect US personnel and facilities, support humanitarian efforts, and help Iraqi forces on the offensive against ISIL terrorists.

US Central Command has conducted a total of 162 airstrikes across Iraq.

– US Central Command

US 'categorically rejects' working with Assad against IS

The US "categorically rejects" that it will work with the Assad regime to tackle Islamic State militants in Syria, the deputy spokesperson for the US State Department has said.

Marie Harf told CNN's Situation Room that the US would not work with Assad "even with a third party".

We don't want to coordinate with the Assad regime, we have been very clear on that. We don't want to share intelligence with him at all. We have made that very clear to everyone.

What [US Secretary of State John Kerry] is suggesting is that we are open to conversation with Iran. We've already had a few on the sidelines of the nuclear negotiations...because they know ISIL poses a threat to them as well...They certainly have a role to play here.

– Marie Harf, US State Department deputy spokesperson

US: Baghdad airstrike marks start of new phase

US Central Command has said that Monday's airstrike on an Islamic State target near Baghdad marks the start of a new phase in the offensive:

The airstrike southwest of Baghdad was the first strike taken as part of our expanded efforts beyond protecting our own people and humanitarian missions to hit [Islamic State] targets as Iraqi forces go on offence.

– us central command statement

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US carries out airstrike on IS target near Baghdad

The US carried out an airstrike on an Islamic State (IS) position near Baghdad on Monday, NBC News reports citing unnamed defence officials.

onboard the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush in the Gulf Credit: REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

There was also an airstrike near Mount Sinjar in northern Iraq, where hundreds of minority Yazidis became stranded last month.

President Obama announced last week an intensified phase in the US counter-offensive against IS in Iraq, which could entail strikes inside Syria.

The strike near Baghdad was reportedly not in response to any advance by IS towards the Iraqi capital.

Arab governments join in the effort to crush IS

A number of Arab leaders were at today's conference in Paris to agree an international strategy to destroy the terrorist group known variously as Islamic State, Isis or Isil.

However, Syria and Iran have been notable by their absence from the discussions.

ITV News International Affairs Editor Rageh Omaar reports.

Iran claims it rejected US request to fight terrorists

Iran's Supreme Leader has claimed that his government rejected a request from the Obama administration to join the international effort against Islamic State.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the request had been turned down because of "unclean intentions" on the part of Washington.

Ayatollah Ali Kameini claimed the US had sought Iran's help. Credit: Reuters/Caren Firouz

US Secretary of State John Kerry said he would not get into a "back and forth" with Tehran over Khameini's remarks.

“I have no idea of what interpretation they drew from any discussion that may or may not have taken place - we are not coordinating with Iran. Period," he told reporters.

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