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Foreign Secretary welcomes new Syria sanctions

The Foreign Secretary has welcomed fresh EU sanctions against the Syrian regime, describing President Assad as the "cause of instability and conflict" in the country.

Philip Hammond and European counterparts agreed the measures at a meeting in Brussels today.

Another 18 individuals and entities, including some suspected of supplying the administration with oil, will be subjected to restrictions.

Philip Hammond welcomed the new round of sanctions. Credit: Leon Neal/PA Wire

Among those targeted by the sanctions is a "notorious" military commander who ordered nerve gas attacks that killed hundreds of civilians.

"Sanctions are a key part of our strategy for weakening the regime and limiting its ability to perpetrate more barbaric acts against the Syrian people," Mr Hammond said.

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Smoke rises over Kobani after latest air strikes

Huge explosions were seen over the Syrian town of Kobani today as air strikes against Islamic State targets continued.

US-led air strikes have helped stop the advance of IS militants. Credit: Reuters
Smoke rises over the Syrian town of Kobani after an air strike. Credit: Reuters
The US air-dropped arms to help Kurdish fighters for the first time. Credit: Reuters

Britain and France join US-led air strikes in Iraq

Britain and France have taken part in a series of US-led air strikes against Islamic State in Iraq, US Central Command has said.

The latest strikes were conducted near the cities of Fallujah and Bayji in conjunction with Iraqi ground forces, officials said.

Another six air strikes - not involving Britain or France - were carried out against the militants in the key border town of Kobani in Syria.

Tributes paid to 'compassionate' James Foley

Credit: Nicole Tung

Tributes have been paid to "compassionate" journalist James Foley who was murdered by self-style Islamic State group extremists.

Hundreds of people filled a church in Rochester, New Hampshire to celebrate the life of a man who "always tried to see the good in people" on what would have been his 41st birthday.

Afterwards, friends and family paid poignant tribute to Mr Foley.

"There seemed to be two absolutes in Jim's life - his faith and his family - both of which gave him an incredible foundation," said long-time friend Jeremy Osgood.

"It was a wealth of strength and courage for Jim in his time of need."

Mr Osgood became friends with Ms Foley while growing up in Wolfeboro, in New Hampshire's lakes region.

Mr Foley was a thoughtful student, a "smiling, wide-eyed boy" and good athlete who excelled in football, Mr Osgood said.

Mr Foley was also a student of human nature who had a knack for reading people and could blend into any group or situation.

"The wonderful thing about Jim is he used the ability to build up people and not tear them down," Mr Osgood said.

"Whether you knew him for 30 years or 30 minutes you would consider him a friend."

Mr Foley was abducted in Syria in November 2012 and had not been heard from since until a video showing his killing was posted on the Internet in August.

Members of the Islamic State militant group said they killed him and other foreigners because of US intervention in the conflict in Iraq and Syria.

Since his death, his family has created the James W Foley Legacy Fund to support reporters in conflict zones and the families of American hostages as well as promote a global conversation about how governments can handle hostage crises.

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US airstrikes slow Isis advance in Kobani

The advancement of Islamic State militants against Kurdish forces in the border town of Kobani has been temporarily halted after the US intensified airstrikes on the border town.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed IS advances appeared to have slowed after two-days of US airstrikes, saying "we know that we have inflicted damage upon them.”

Thick smoke rises following an airstrike by the US-led coalition aircraft in Kobani, Syria Credit: Yasin Akgul/Depo Photos

IS members 'being trained to fly captured warplanes'

Islamic State militants have been flying three captured fighter jets over Syria, a monitoring group has claimed.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Iraqi pilots who have joined the terrorist group in Syria are training members to fly the jets.

Witnesses said the planes have been flown over a captured military airport in the northern province of Aleppo, according to the monitoring organisation.

UK IS hostage Cantlie appears in latest video message

British journalist John Cantlie has been held hostage since 2012 Credit: Facebook

British hostage John Cantlie has appeared in another propaganda video released by Islamic State.

Wearing the same orange jumpsuit as in previous footage, the journalist warns of a "third Gulf war" and says the media has learnt nothing from previous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mr Cantlie, from Haslemere, Surrey, appears to be reading from a script and speaking under duress as he talks about the press fuelling support for a "full-blown war" for which IS is prepared.

The latest video appeared on YouTube but was later deleted.

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