Residents of Syria's Deir ez-Zor fear IS massacre

As it loses ground in Mosul, the Islamic State is more determined than ever to gain ground in Deir ez-Zor, and its takeover could spell disaster for the civilians who have remained in the area.
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 Nour Samaha for Al-Monitor on February 24

How serious is Russia's commitment to Libya settlement?

Now that recent talks to unite Libya's rival governments have failed, observers are evaluating the extent of Moscow's investment in peaceful reconciliation.
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 Yury Barmin for Al-Monitor on February 23

Turkey, Kurds project confidence as Pentagon plans next Syria moves

With the Pentagon close to producing new plans to defeat the Islamic State in Syria, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units and Turkish leaders both insist that the United States will pursue an alliance with them, and US officials keep feeding hopes on both sides.
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 Amberin Zaman for Al-Monitor on February 23

Was Obama lost opportunity for Iran-US relations?

Iran’s foreign minister believes that recent criticism by Iran’s neighbors stems from their regional failures.
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 Arash Karami for Al-Monitor Iran Pulse on February 23

Families of IS members evicted from liberated areas in Iraq

Families of Islamic State members have been evicted from the liberated areas in Iraq by the local authorities or security forces, to avoid revenge and conflict in the local communities.
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 Omar Sattar on February 23

Food vs. guns: Will Hamas chose Egypt or Iran?

The military wing of Hamas in Gaza pressures the new boss Yahya Sinwar to mend ties with Iran, while the residents of the Gaza Strip need the assistance of Egypt against the misery of the long closure.
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 Shlomi Eldar on February 23

No breakthrough expected at new Syria talks

Expectations were modest for a new round of Syria talks set to get underway in Geneva Feb. 23, with the new US administration still formulating its policies.
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 Laura Rozen for Al-Monitor on February 22

Trial begins for murder of Turkish commando who stopped coup attempt

Turks are closely watching the trial of those accused of murdering special forces commando Omer Halisdemir, who was killed in the line of duty as he played a key role in stopping last summer’s coup attempt.
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 Barın Kayaoğlu for Al-Monitor Turkey Pulse on February 22

Israel defense minister: We must coordinate moves with Trump

In an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor, Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman confirmed that he still supports a two-state solution, but one involving population as well as land swaps and as one part of a regional agreement.
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 Ben Caspit on February 22

Iraq seeks to clamp down on gun ownership

Regulating private security companies and proposing laws for possession of weapons are part of Iraq’s new strategy to impose order and the rule of law.
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 Wassim Bassem on February 22

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