France's Macron meets Iraqi PM Al-Mahdi in Paris

                By Yusuf Ozcan</p>    <p>PARIS (AA) - French President Emmanuel Macron met with Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abd Al-Mahdi on Friday at the Elysee Palace in Paris.</p>    <p>&quot;Counterterrorism is one of the priority issues of France. This war has not finished yet,&quot; Macron said at a joint press conference with Al-Mahdi.</p>    <p>He highlighted that France will continue to support Iraq to rebuild.</p>    <p>&quot;France and Iraq combatted together against Daesh,&quot; he said, adding the terror group has not been completely eliminated.</p>    <p>For his part, Abd Al-Mahdi said that the cooperation on counterterrorism should not only continue between Iraq and France, but also between all countries.</p>    <p>Political situation in Iraq has improved with the improvement of the security situation in the country, he added.</p>  <p><br></p>      <p>*Writing by Burak Bir

'Attacks on civilians constitute terrorism, not jihad'

By Vakkas Dogantekin

ANKARA (AA) – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday attacks on places of worship stem from the same "dark source".

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the Camlica Mosque complex, the largest mosque of Turkey, Erdogan said he is "determined to clear the nation and region of Daesh, PKK, FETO, Al Qaeda terrorists".

"Attacks in the name of religion on places of worship or innocent civilians constitute terrorism, not jihad," said Erdogan.

The 63,000-capacity mosque on Istanbul's Camlica Hill in the Asian side of the city was opened by Erdogan for Friday prayer.

Built in the Ottoman-Seljuk style of architecture, the mosque can be easily viewed from every corner of the city.

US official hails talks with Turkey on Syria

            By Tugcenur Yilmaz and Ali Murat Alhas<br>

ANKARA (AA) – Talks between Turkey and the United States on Syria were "positive and constructive", a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in Ankara said Thursday.

RaeJean Stokes said U.S. Special Envoy for Syria James Jeffrey held a series of meetings Wednesday in Turkey’s capital with senior Turkish officials including Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and Deputy Foreign Minister Sadat Onal.

"The discussions focused on how we could advance issues of mutual concern in Syria, to include addressing Turkey’s legitimate security concerns, promoting stability and security in northern Syria as the U.S. military draws down its presence and the implementation of UNSCR 2254 on the resolution of the Syrian conflict," she said.

UNSC Resolution 2254, unanimously adopted in 2015, calls for a ceasefire and political settlement in Syria.

Stokes said the defeat of the Daesh terror group was another issue discussed by the U.S. and Turkey.

“We continue to make progress in addressing our mutual concerns in Syria, and we look forward to continuing these discussions in the near future,” she added.

*Writing by Ali Murat Alhas

Turkey remands in custody Daesh-linked terror suspect

                                 By Ozan Efeoglu</p>  <p>HATAY, Turkey (AA) - A Syrian national suspected of links to the Daesh terror group was arrested Thursday in southern Turkey, according to security sources.</p>  <p>After the arrest in the Iskenderun district of Hatay, the suspect was transferred to court, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.</p>  <p>The suspect was later remanded in custody.</p>  <p>* Writing by Beyza Binnur Donmez

3 Nigerian soldiers feared killed in Daesh attack

             By Rafiu Ajakaye<br>

LAGOS Nigeria (AA) – At least three Nigerian soldiers were killed early Thursday in an improvised explosive device (IED) attack on their base in the restive northeast Borno state, according to a local paramilitary and the Daesh terrorist group.

"Information from our team in Baga showed that three soldiers died in the early hours of Thursday. About eight others were injured," Adamu Dingi, a member of a local government-backed paramilitary group, told Anadolu Agency.

Dingi said the dead and injured were taken to Maiduguri, Borno’s capital.

Attacks on regional forces fighting Daesh across the Lake Chad area have been on the rise in the past weeks — underscoring the adaptation of the terrorists in the 10-year-old insurgency to avoid encounters with the troops while also inflicting violence.

The Nigerian army has not spoken on the development.

However, Daesh confirmed the attack in a statement.

"Three soldiers from the Multinational Joint Military Task Force were killed late Wednesday, while heavy weapons belonging to the regional troops were destroyed through IED planted [by us]," said the statement issued through Daesh’s propaganda unit, Al-'Amaq.

Turkish defense minister discusses Syria with US envoy

            By Vakkas Dogantekin</p>  <p>ANKARA (AA) – Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar met late Wednesday with the U.S. special envoy to Syria in Istanbul. </p>  <p>Akar and James Jeffrey discussed the latest developments in Syria, particularly the situation east of the Euphrates, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said in a statement</p>  <p>Turkey has long opposed U.S. cooperation with the PKK/YPG against Daesh forces, saying that using one terror group to fight another makes no sense.</p>  <p>As the U.S. continues its preparations to draw down its presence in Syria, Turkey has aired its concern about Washington’s support for YPG/PKK terrorists in northeastern Syria.<br>

Jeffrey has spoken on this concern, saying earlier this month that the U.S. will continue working on an established safe zone along the Turkish-Syrian border in which YPG/PKK forces would withdraw to ensure it remains free of any threat to Turkey.

US Air Force conducts first-ever airstrikes with F-35A

            By Umar Farooq</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - Two F-35A fighter jets have conducted airstrikes on a Daesh tunnel network in Iraq, marking the first time the aircraft has been flown in a combat mission, U.S. Central Command said Tuesday.</p>  <p> “We have the ability to gather, fuse and pass so much information, that we make every friendly aircraft more survivable and lethal,” said Lt. Col. Yosef Morris, 4th Fighter Squadron commander and F-35A pilot.</p>  <p> “That, combined with low-observable technology, allows us to really complement any combined force package and be ready to support AOR [area of responsibility] contingencies.”</p>  <p>Morris said the Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II plane has the ability to gather information from a battlespace in real time and then share it with other F-35s.</p>  <p>The jet is touted as one of the world's most advanced stealth aircraft.</p>  <p>The planes were deployed to Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates as part of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, the operation to eliminate the Daesh terrorist group and the threat it poses to Iraq, Syria and the international community.</p>  <p>The strikes come nearly three weeks after a Japanese F-35A jet crashed into the ocean during a training mission.</p>  <p>It was only the second incident where an F-35 crashed in an accident. In September, a U.S. F-35B jet crashed near Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina.</p>  <p> 

Trump rips Europe for not taking back Daesh prisoners

            By Michael Hernandez</p>  <p>WASHINGTON (AA) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday lambasted European nations for refusing to take back their nationals who joined Daesh and are now being detained in Syria. </p>  <p>Trump said U.S.-backed forces are holding 1,800 Daesh prisoners that were taken prisoner in the final battles to eliminate the terror group's territorial control. </p>  <p>&quot;Decisions are now being made as to what to do with these dangerous prisoners,&quot; Trump wrote on Twitter. &quot;European countries are not helping at all, even though this was very much done for their benefit. They are refusing to take back prisoners from their specific countries. Not good!&quot;</p>  <p>This is not the first time he has slammed European allies over claims they are not cooperating with efforts to repatriate nationals. </p>  <p>But he has appeared to be reluctant to take back at least some Americans who flocked to the territories controlled by Daesh, including Hoda Muthana, 24, a Daesh bride from Alabama.</p>  <p>Trump's top officials have said Muthana is not a U.S. citizen, a claim rejected by her family who insists her father stopped working as a Yemeni diplomats weeks before she was born. </p>  <p>Unlike most others, children of diplomats who are born while their parents are working in the U.S. are not automatically granted U.S. citizenship.  

More than 1 million Iraqis still displaced: Official

                                               By Ali Jawad</p>  <p>BAGHDAD (AA) - At least 1.2 million Iraqis are displaced in cities and camps in the northern and western parts of the country, the Iraqi government said Monday.</p>  <p>While some 500,000 displaced people  are in displacement camps throughout the country, 700,000 people are still displaced in cities, Migration and Displacement Ministry Undersecretary Jassem al-Attiya told Anadolu Agency.</p>  <p>Al-Attiya said his agency, in coordination with the UN, launched Monday &quot;a plan for the return of the displaced to their homes within a deadline of one year.&quot;</p>  <p>The plan wants to find solutions to problems that hinder the displaced to return their homes, according to al-Attya. </p>    <p>More than 5 million Iraqis were forced to flee districts in the provinces of Nineveh, Kirkuk, Saladin, Anbar, Diyala, as well as parts of Babil and the outskirts of Baghdad after self-proclaimed Daesh terrorists reportedly overran much of northern and western Iraq in 2014.</p>  <p>After officials in Baghdad declared the terror group’s military presence in Iraq had been all but dismantled following operations backed by the U.S.-led coalition in December 2017, many returned home but some are still unable to return to their neighborhoods because of the destruction of their houses during the war against Daesh, lack of infrastructure and basic services and the instability of the security situation. </p>  <p> </p>  <p>