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UK 'significant contribution' to train Syrians as part of fight against IS

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. Credit: PA Wire

The UK Government expects to make a "significant contribution" to the US-led programme to train the Syrian moderate armed opposition, the Foreign Secretary has said.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said there was a clear strategy to defeat the Islamic State militants.

He said Britain had funded bomb disposal training for the Kurdish forces and would continue to provide "strong support" including technical assistance and "non-lethal equipment".


At least 24 British jihadists 'have been killed in Syria'

Credit: Reuters

At least 24 British Jihadists have been killed in fighting in Syria, but this number could rise rapidly, experts from King's College London have claimed.

A study from the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King's College, London, which monitors social media accounts of alleged jihadists, suggests at least 24 fighters from Britain are dead.

Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, Shiraz Maher said that figure is likely to be higher.

He warned that news of deaths in the war-torn region would not put would-be Islamic State fighters off travelling there as they "regard it as martyrdom and a victory".

The Foreign Office said it is difficult to confirm deaths as there are currently no consular services in Syria due to the conflict.

A spokeswoman said: "We are aware of reports of the deaths of British Nationals in Syria. The UK has advised for some time against all travel to Syria, where all UK consular services are suspended.

"As we do not have any representation in Syria, it is extremely difficult to get any confirmation of deaths or injuries and our options for supporting British Nationals there are extremely limited."

US believes strikes have killed several hundred IS militants

The US military believes airstrikes on the border town of Kobani have killed several hundred Islamic State fighters, a Pentagon spokesman has said.

However Rear Admiral John Kirby warned that despite an increase in US-led strikes recently, the strategically importantly town could still fall to the militant group.

He added that the increase in strikes on the area was partly due to a rise in militant activity in and around Kobani.

US operation to tackle IS named 'Inherent Resolve'

The US military operation to tackle Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria has been named 'Inherent Resolve'.

The US and allies are carrying out air strikes on IS targets in both countries as they try to degrade the extremists' forces.

The respected Wall Street Journal had reported on October 3rd that the name had been rejected, with officials saying it had been poorly received.

US carries out 18 more strikes on IS targets in Syria

US aircraft have launched another 18 air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria today over the last two days, the US Central Command has announced.

The strikes centred on the border town of Kobani and "successfully struck 16 ISIL occupied buildings", as well as destroying "multiple ISIL fighting positions".

Smoke rises above the town of Kobani on the Turkey-Syria border. Credit: Reuters

The US also carried out five airstrikes on targets in Iraq, damaging the militants' equipment, buildings and vehicles.


US leads 22 airstrikes on IS targets in Syria

The US airforce along with partner nations led 22 airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria today and on Monday, US Central Command has said.

The vast majority of the strikes were near the strategically important border town of Kobani, where IS have been battling local Kurdish forces.

Smoke rises above the Syrian border town of Kobani. Credit: Reuters

Saudi Arabian aircraft were also involved in the air strikes, which damaged IS vehicles and buildings, US officials said.

There was also a single air strike near the Iraqi town of Kirkuk, with two IS vehicles destroyed.

Toll on families caught in Islamic State begins to show

From two frightened families, there have been signs of the toll on the relatives of those being held hostage by Islamic state.

The sister of Briton John Cantlie asked IS to re-open talks.

In the United states, the parents of Peter Kassig have released a portion of a letter in which he says he knows they love him more than the moon and the stars.

ITV International Affairs Editor, Rageh Omaar reports.

Western ground troops 'not the right way' to tackle IS

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has said that Britain and the US do not see the use of western ground troops as "the right way" to take on Islamic State.

He said it would only serve to "feed the narrative" of the Islamist extremists, and reiterated that British personnel would only serve in a training capacity.

He was speaking during a visit to Iraq to meet the country's new prime minister Haider al-Abadi.

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