World Bulletin/News Desk
ISIL militants extended their gains in northern Iraq on Thursday, seizing three more towns and gaining a foothold near the Kurdish region, witnesses said.
The advance came after the Sunni militants inflicted a humiliating defeat on Kurdish forces in a weekend sweep in the north.
The ISIL clashed with Kurdish forces on Wednesday in the town of Makhmur near Arbil, the capital of the Kurdish semi-autonomous zone.
In the latest advance, its fighters seized Makhmur and the mainly Christian town of Tilkaif, as well as Al Kwair, witnesses said.
Militants also have seized one of the last remaining government bases in the northern province of Raqqa, activists said on Thursday, in clashes a monitoring group said killed more than 40 people.
Last month the group killed at least 50 Syrian government forces as they took over parts of another base in the area.
On Thursday, a monitoring group and Islamic State supporters said the militants had taken full control of the 93th Brigade military base after an attack that opened with multiple suicide car bomb attacks.
"Allahu Akbar (God is greatest), we announce ... the total liberation of the 93th Brigade," said a Twitter feed which regularly publishes news from Islamic State in Raqqa province.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 27 pro-government fighters were killed after three fighters blew themselves up in car bombs at the gates and around the base and in the ensuing clashes.
At least 11 ISIL fighters were killed, added the group, which monitors violence in Syria through a network of sources. It said "dozens" more were wounded.
The Observatory estimates that the Islamic State controls about 35 percent of Syrian territory - although much of that is desert.
The government has meanwhile consolidated its grip on the country's more densely populated central areas, including a corridor stretching from the capital Damascus to the Mediterranean coast in the west.
More than 170,000 people have been killed in Syria's civil war, which pits overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim rebels against President Bashar al-Assad, a member of the Shi'ite-derived Alawite minority, backed by Shi'ite militias from Iraq and Lebanon.
The United States last week voiced suspicion over Russia’s pursuit of new space weapons, including a mobile laser system to destroy satellites in space, and the launch of a new inspector satellite which was acting in an “abnormal” way.
Crash was not caused by hostile fire, coalition asserts
Bloc will now be tasked with drawing up country’s next government
Anti-Arab slogans were sprayed on walls of several Palestinian houses in Jerusalem
The U.S.-led coalition was formed in 2014 to fight Daesh in Iraq
Iraq's parliamentary vote results was the subject of bitter dispute amid widespread allegations of fraud
Iraq fought an 8-year war against Iran under the former regime of Saddam Hussein
Abbas says he rejects US mediation for Palestine-Israel peace talks
The military said it detected the lab in the town of Alcoyonqui, near the state capital Culiacan, and raided it on Thursday.
Israel closed Al Aqsa compound after a stabbing attempt near a mosque gate
Terrorists were ‘neutralized’ in Turkey's southeastern Hakkari province and northern Iraq’s Hakurk, Zap and Gara areas
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis says training for combined patrols will start 'within 72 hours' in Turkey
Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council warns political ties with US will not be normalized
Call comes after Israeli police closed all of Al-Aqsa Mosque’s gates following an attempted knife attack
President says local politicians 'know a windfall when they see it;' asked for 'ridiculously high' sum
Credibility of US government with a president as 'erratic' as Trump is greatly diminished, says expert