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Fresh wave of airstrikes on Islamic State in Syria and Iraq

The United States and its allies conducted 29 airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq in a 24-hour period, the Combined Joint Task Force has said.

Sixteen strikes around seven Iraqi cities destroyed vehicles, buildings, equipment and fighting positions, as well as hitting units belonging to the militant group, the task force said.

In Syria, 11 airstrikes were carried out near the city of Kobani, destroying a tank and fighting positions, while others focused on targets near Abu Kamal and Dawr az Zawr.

The strikes took place between Friday and Saturday mornings, the task force statement said.

IS release video of boy 'executing Russian spies'

The Islamic State (IS) have released a video which appears to show two men being shot in the head by a young boy, Agence France-Presse (AFP) reports.

IS claim the pair were working for the Russian intelligence services.

Entitled "Uncovering an Enemy Within" in English, the video is narrated in Russian and opens with the interrogation of one of the men.

He says he is a Kazakh citizen and was recruited by Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) to get close to an unnamed IS fighter.

The second man, who does not give his nationality, says he worked for the FSB in Russia previously, and says he was tasked with killing an unnamed IS fighter.

Both men say they were told to collect and transmit information about IS fighters in Syria.

The video then cuts to show the two men kneeling outside with a man and the armed boy stood behind them. The boy then steps forward and shoots each of the men in the head.

Russia's FSB agency gave AFP no immediate comment on the video.



Abandoned migrant ship being towed to Italy

An Icelandic Coast Guard ship is towing a cargo vessel to Italy with about 450 migrants, authorities confirmed.

The ship was abandoned by its crew, leaving the migrants unable to operate it.

Children and pregnant women were among those aboard, most of who were believed to be Syrian, said a Coast Guard commander.

The Sierra-Leone-flagged cargo ship Ezadeen apparently set sail from Turkey.

The exact port of the Ezadeen's arrival will depend on sea conditions.

Italian Air Force footage showed a Coast Guard official being lowered onto the ship.

The Ezadeen is the second cargo ship full of migrants to be abandoned while still sailing this week.

New year a moment for reflection in Syrian city

The transition to the new year is a moment for reflection as well as celebration in the Syrian city of Aleppo where scores of lives have been lost in the country's long-running civil war.

Activists stand over pictures of war victims under candles in a new year event in Salah al-Din neighbourhood in central Aleppo Credit: REUTERS/Hosam Katan

In one part of the city. activists spelled out of the digits '2015' with candles, illuminating photographs of some of the many war casualties.

A Free Syrian Army fighter sprays graffiti on a wall prior to the new year in Aleppo Credit: REUTERS/Jalal Al-Mamo

Elsewhere, an anti-government solider daubed the words 'happy new year' onto a wall underneath what could be a vase of flowers or a falling bomb.

New Year cakes are displayed outside a shop in Sheikh Maksoud neighbourhood of Aleppo Credit: REUTERS/Abdalrhman Ismail

What shopkeepers are left were preparing for celebrations to welcome in the new year.

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