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Former soldier 'fighting with Kurds against Isis in Syria'

A former soldier is thought to be among a growing number of Brits joining the fight against Isis inside Syria. Pictures and videos suggest that James Hughes, from Reading, is in Rojava, northern Syria, helping to defend the beleaguered city of Kobani. Correspondent Dan Rivers reports.

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Royal Air Force to fly surveillance drones over Syria

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed that the RAF will fly surveillance drones over Syria as part of their efforts to defeat Islamic State fighters in the area.

An RAF Reaper. Credit: MoD

The MoD said the missions will be for intelligence gathering.

UK Reaper remotely piloted aircraft systems and Rivet Joint aircraft will be authorised to fly surveillance missions over Syria.

The deployment will see the Royal Air Force aircraft gathering intelligence as the UK ramps up efforts to protect our national interests from the terrorist threat emanating the country.

Reapers are not authorised to use weapons in Syria and, alongside Rivet Joint, will provide vital situational awareness making it an invaluable asset to the coalition allies who are combating ISIL.

– Ministry of Defence

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Islamic State fighters gain more ground in northern Iraq

Kurdish Peshmerga troops engage ISIS forces in northern Iraq Credit: Reuters

Militants from the Islamic State have made further ground in northern Iraq, seizing more towns after residents fled the area in fear.

Iraq’s largest Christian town, Qaraqosh, was seized by the Jihadists after Kurdish troops were forced into a hasty retreat, according to AFP.

The towns are among many in the area where thousands of Christians who were forced to abandon their homes in the main northern city of Mosul last month had found refuge.

Isis orders women of Mosul to undergo genital mutilation

Militant group Isis has ordered all girls and women in and around the Iraqi city of Mosul to undergo female genital mutilation, a UN official said.

An Isis fighter in Iraqi city of Mosul pictured in June 23. Credit: Reuters

The "fatwa" issued by the fighters would potentially afflict 4 million women and girls, UN co-ordinator Jacqueline Badcock said, saying the order was "of grave concern".

This is something very new for Iraq, particularly in this area, and is of grave concern and does need to be addressed. This is not the will of Iraqi people, or the women of Iraq in these vulnerable areas covered by the terrorists.

– Jacqueline Badcock, UN humanitarian co-ordinator in Iraq
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