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Britain 'must build bridges with Assad to tackle IS'

Britain must build bridges with Syrian President Bashar Assad to tackle the threat from Islamic State (IS) extremists, the former head of the Army has said.

Lord Dannatt is the former head of the British Army.
Lord Dannatt is the former head of the British Army. Credit: PA

Lord Dannatt suggested the West needed to recognise that it had misread the situation in Syria, where it has called for Assad to give up power, and seek the regime's assistance in combating the group.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, the peer said IS had to be "opposed, confronted and defeated" in both Iraq and Syria.

"The Syrian dimension has got to be addressed. You cannot deal with half a problem," he said.

"The old saying my 'enemy's enemy is my friend' has begun to have some resonance with our relationship with Iran.

"I think it's going to have to have some resonance with our relationship with Assad."

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Ukraine armed forces 'kill around 100 rebel fighters'

Ukraine's armed forces claim to have killed "around 100" rebel fighters near the eastern town of Snizhne.

Defence officials said government forces had also destroyed 11 missile systems and tanks but the claims could not be immediately verified.

While rebels said they had seized two settlements west of Snizhne and captured 13 Ukrainian troops, including three officers.

Russian 'no longer tolerates' any delays to aid convoy

The Russian aid convoy has been stuck at the Ukrainian border for nearly a week.
The Russian aid convoy has been stuck at the Ukrainian border for nearly a week. Credit: Reuters

Russia has said it is "no longer prepared to tolerate" any delays to its aid convoy entering Ukraine.

In a statement the foreign ministry said: "All excuses to delay sending aid have been exhausted. The Russian side has decided to act."

Reuters witnesses reported the trucks are still currently at the border but Russia warned against any attempts to disrupt them coming through.

PM urged to reintroduce terror control orders

David Cameron is under growing pressure to beef up measures to combat Islamist extremism in Britain as the hunt for James Foley's killer continues.

The Prime Minister has insisted that authorities are working hard to track those who have come into contact with Islamic State (IS) militants.

But Lord Carlile, former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation for the Government, said the decision to scrap the control order system in favour of more limited terrorism prevention and investigation measures (Tpims) should be revisited.

I do think the Government could make a legislative response to the current problem by reintroducing control orders, or beefed-up Tpims, as they are called, to ensure that people who are identified by solid intelligence as presenting this kind of risk can be placed under controls which can prevent them activating their ideas.

I think that we can demonstrate that, certainly in the last six or seven years of control orders, they were very effective, including a provision that allowed certain people - if a judge agreed, a very senior judge - to be relocated.

Of course, there are no Tpims at all at the moment. The Tpims that were created ran out and the Government decided to have no more, for reasons which I have never understood.

– Lord Carlisle

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100 graves found during tram dig

Metrolink building site Credit: MEN Syndication

Metrolink engineers building a new city centre tram crossing have discovered the remains of over 100 people under Cross Street.

The grim but fascinating discovery was made during test digs six months ago for the Second City Crossing, it has emerged.

The remains are thought to have been buried around 200 years ago by members of the Cross Street Chapel, part of the Unitarian Church.

But the site, directly beneath where the new tracks will be laid, has now been temporarily closed off, while archaeologists work to excavate the bodies. They will be interred elsewhere, possibly at Manchester’s Southern Cemetery. Read more here.

Fears Japan landslide death toll could rise

The death toll from landslides in Japan could rise significantly with 52 people still missing.

Reuters
Japanese rescue workers search for survivors following the devastating landslide. Credit: Reuters

At least 39 people have been confirmed dead following the disaster on the outskirts of Hiroshima on Wednesday.

Rescue workers were forced to abandon search efforts overnight amid fears further landslides could occur due to the ongoing heavy rain.

Among those killed was a rescue worker who died as he attempted to carry a small child to safety.

IS wanted 'female scientist in exchange for Foley'

The Islamic State demanded the release of Dr Afia Sidiqqi who has links to al-Qaeda in exchange for James Foley, it has emerged.

An email from the Islamic State sent to the family of the murdered journalist, just a week before a video of his beheading was released, has been published by the Global Post.

Addressed as "a message to the American government and their sheep like citizens", the group claim it offered the United States chances to release Foley though "cash transactions" and the release of Dr Afia Sidiqqi.

Sidiqqi, who was trained as a neuroscientist in the United States, is currently serving an 86-year prison sentence in Texas for attempting to kill US soldiers while she was being questioned on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks against American citizens.

"You were given many chances to negotiate the release of your people via cash transactions as other governments have accepted," the email said.

"We have also offered prisoner exchanges to free the Muslims currently in your detention like our sister Dr Afia Sidiqqi, however you proved very quickly to us that this is NOT what you are interested in."

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