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Obama 'plans to send 250 US troops to Syria'

President Obama is planning on deploying an additional 250 US troops to Syria, an official has told Reuters.

This will increase the US presence on the ground to about 300 troops to help fight Islamic State militants, the official added.

The announcement will be officially made in a speech Obama plans to make in Hanover, Germany, on Monday.

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At least 44 killed in Syria air strikes

Two men inspect damaged motorcycles after an airstrike on a market in the town of Maarat al-Numan. Credit: Reuters

At least 44 people have been killed and 80 wounded in air strikes in northwest Syria.

Around 37 civilians were killed in an attack on a vegetable market in Maarat al-Numan, and at least seven people died at a fish market in nearby Kafranbel.

Both markets are in areas controlled by Al-Qaeda's Syrian offshoot the Al-Nusra Front.

The Syrian opposition's High Negotiations Committee said in a statement that the suspected government attacks represent a "dangerous escalation" of the conflict.

The opposition said the strikes reinforce its decision to postpone peace talks, and maintained that a political process cannot happen in the current climate.

Syria's main opposition group said on Monday that it is suspending its official participation in UN-brokered peace talks in Geneva because of the government's "violations" of a ceasefire deal agreed in February.

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