Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem on Friday questioned the value of political negotiations and said air strikes against militants in his country are useless if they are not coordinated with his government. “Terrorism cannot be fought only from the air, and all of the previous operations to combat it have only served its spread and outbreak,” Moualem told the United Nations General Assembly. “Air strikes are useless unless they are conducted in cooperation with the Syrian army, the only force in Syria that is combating terrorism.”
Taliban leader says Afghan insurgency is strong
The new leader of the Afghan Taliban said on Friday that the capture of the northern city of Kunduz was a symbolic victory that showed the strength of the insurgency even though the Taliban pulled out of the city after three days. The three-day occupation of Kunduz was “a historic event” that was “celebrated by the ordinary people of the city”, claimed Mullah Akhtar Mansoor. Mansoor was appointed the Taliban leader in August, after it was revealed that the group’s founder, Mullah Muhammad Omar, had died over two years ago.
Search begins for plane with 10 aboard
Indonesian authorities launched a search on Friday for an aircraft with 10 people on board, which went missing on a domestic flight in Indonesia. Transportation Ministry spokesman Julius Barata said the plane lost contact while on a flight in South Sulawesi province and that it lost radio contact about 30 minutes before it was expected to land in Makassar, the provincial capital. The plane was owned by the private Aviastar Mandiri airline.
Oregon shooter allegedly targeted Christians
The gunman who killed nine people and wounded seven others in Oregon had targeted Christians, the father of one of the victims says. The gunman, Chris Harper Mercer, opened fire on Thursday inside a classroom at Umpqua Community College. Mercer was shot and killed by police officers who arrived at the scene. US President Barack Obama has expressed frustration over the routine response to mass shootings, saying the country had become numb to such attacks.
US coalition demands Russia halt strikes on non-ISIS areas
Russia bombed Syria for a third day on Friday, mainly hitting areas held by rival insurgent groups rather than the Islamic State fighters it said it was targeting and drawing an increasingly angry response from the West. The United States-led coalition that is waging its own air war against Islamic State called on the Russians to halt strikes on targets other than Islamic State. The coalition includes the United States, major European powers, Arab states and Turkey. Russian President Vladimir Putin held frosty talks with France's Francois Hollande in Paris on Friday, which was Putin's first meeting with a Western leader since launching the strikes.
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