World Bulletin / News Desk
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has reportedly pulled out of a key Turkmen town in the Syrian coastal city of Lazkiya.
The town of Bayirbucak had been under their control since last year, where they often engaged rival opposition group, the Free Syria Army in a number of clashes, resulting in deaths on both sides.
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a former al Qaeda affiliate, and competing insurgents have been fighting since the start of the year, killing over 3,000 people and undermining the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.
On Friday, ISIL - which alienated many rebels by seizing territory and killing rival commanders - finished withdrawing from the Idlib and Latakia provinces and moved its forces toward the eastern Raqqa province and the eastern outskirts of the northern city of Aleppo, activists said.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said the withdrawal was overseen by the Nusra Front, al Qaeda's acknowledged branch in Syria, making the two provinces "completely free" of ISIL forces.
ISIL, which draws strength from a core of experienced foreign fighters, was initially welcomed in many rebel-controlled areas because of its fighting prowess and reputation for being relatively free of corruption.
The group later alienated many residents with a drive to implement a strict interpretation of Islamic law, but has also maintained sympathy in some areas because of its reputation for keeping looting and thievery in check.
"There's been an uneasy calm on all sides" since the withdrawal of ISIL forces, one activist from Idlib province said. "Civilians aren't celebrating because ISIL had eliminated thieves and bandits."
The Observatory's director Rami Abdulrahman said ISIL had been weakened by clashes and defections in the areas it had withdrawn from, but still had control over Raqqa province and plenty of resources to draw on.
Israel's Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University have joined a government initiative to support students who campaign for Israel online.
Waving Palestinian flags and signs condemning Israel for the offensive, many called for an end to U.S. aid to the country.
Since July 7, Israel has pummeled the Gaza Strip – from air, land and sea – with the ostensible aim of halting Palestinian rocket fire.
Felix Ngoma, a Zambian staff member with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), was abducted in Nyala, South Darfur, on July 6.
A bill desginating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization has been submitted to three committees in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Turkish Cypriot Foreign Minister Ozdil Nami said a lack of progress in negotiations was 'unacceptable' as talks between the island's leaders become marred by anger and argument.
"Hamas, relying on armed resistance, has emerged the victor in Gaza," Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Lebanon-based Shiite Hezbollah group, said in a speech in Beirut.
Israel's military said it would hold fire starting at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT) but would continue searching for tunnels used by Palestinian fighters.
The U.N. chief also called for an extendable humanitarian 12-hour pause to mark the beginning of the seven-day ceasefire, to which both sides later responded positively.
Both Moscow and Kiev have accused the other of shooting across the border, and Ukraine says missiles shot from Russia may have downed two of its fighter jets this week
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Clashes were also reported in Jerusalem after Israeli authorities barred Muslims from performing Friday prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Police said the bomb was left in a vehicle about 50 metres from a hotel in the town of Betong, which is popular with tourists from nearby Malaysia
At least 3 hae been confirmed dead, 10 rescued and 8 missing after an overloaded vessel carrying illegal Indonesian workers capsized.
Israeli air force dropped about 3,000 tons of explosives on the Gaza Strip in the first 15 days of the conflict, including 120 tons in the border town of Shejaia alone
Banned substances include gasoline and firecrackers, but also drinking water, cooking oil and yogurt.