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Islamic State advance near Turkish border, civilians trapped

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BEIRUT Islamic State fighters captured territory from Syrian rebels near the Turkish border on Friday and inched closer to a town on a supply route for foreign-backed insurgents fighting the jihadists, a monitoring group said.

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U.N. urges Syrian government to stop blocking aid deliveries 27 May 2016

UNITED NATIONS The United Nations' humanitarian chief on Friday demanded that the Syrian government and militant groups stop interfering with the delivery of food and medicine for civilians trapped in besieged and difficult-to-reach areas in war-ravaged Syria.

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Turkey says U.S. 'two-faced' for not viewing Syrian Kurdish YPG as terrorists 27 May 2016

ANKARA The United States is "two-faced" for refusing to call the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia terrorists, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday, reflecting Ankara's growing irritation at Washington's backing of the group.

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Russia says U.S. 'delays' with joint Syria action may hit peace process 27 May 2016

MOSCOW Russia said on Friday it had intensified air strikes against oil sites controlled by an al Qaeda affiliate in Syria, but criticised the United States for refusing to join in.

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Syrian president denies media report of new Russian-drafted constitution 27 May 2016

BEIRUT Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denied media reports on Friday that his ally Russia had drawn up a new constitution for his country and presented it to his government as part of international efforts to end the long conflict.

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Iraqis fleeing Mosul to Syria, up to 50,000 anticipated - UNHCR 27 May 2016

GENEVA More than 4,200 Iraqis from Mosul fled to Syria in May, the United Nations refugee agency said on Friday, adding it is gearing up for up to 50,000 people to leave the Islamic State-held city and cross the border.

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Syrian refugee finds home among the beards of Budapest 27 May 2016

BUDAPEST A Syrian refugee has made the most of a fad for trim and dyed beards in Hungary, setting up a barber shop in downtown Budapest popular with foreigners and Hungarians alike.

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Middle East refugees help Europe prosecute war crimes 27 May 2016

THE HAGUE European authorities are seeking testimony from some of the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing Middle East violence as they try to build war crimes cases linked to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

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U.N. envoy tells Security Council no Syria talks for 2-3 weeks 26 May 2016

GENEVA/UNITED NATIONS There will be no new round of Syria talks for at least two or three weeks, the office of U.N. special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said in a statement on Thursday, after he consulted the U.N. Security Council for about two and a half hours.

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Nearly 1,000 killed in attacks on health workers in 2014-15 - WHO 26 May 2016

GENEVA Nearly 1,000 people were killed in attacks on health centres worldwide over the past two years, almost 40 percent of them in Syria, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Thursday in its first report on the issue.

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Rough Cut
U.S.-backed Syrian rebels begin offensive near Raqqa

Video from a pro-Syrian Kurdish news agency purportedly shows a U.S.-backed alliance of Kurdish-led armed groups beginning an operation to seize territory north of Islamic State's de-facto capital Raqqa, although the campaign at this stage does not include an assault on the city itself. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).