2 American soldiers killed, 5 wounded in Iraq — US military

US army soldiers fuel a military truck at Qayyara air base west of Mosul, Iraq, August 10, 2017. (REUTERS)
Updated 13 August 2017
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2 American soldiers killed, 5 wounded in Iraq — US military

BAGHDAD: Two American soldiers have been killed while conducting combat operations in Iraq, the US military said Sunday, adding that “initial reports indicate the incident was not due to enemy contact.”
Five other soldiers were wounded, it said in a statement, without providing further details. It did not identify the soldiers.
Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the commander of US forces battling the Daesh (Islamic State) group in Iraq, said the coalition “sends our deepest condolences to these heroes’ families, friends and teammates.”
More than 5,000 US troops are taking part in the war against Daesh in Iraq, according the Pentagon. The vast majority operate within heavily guarded bases, collecting and sharing intelligence with Iraqi forces and providing logistical support.
But as the fight has evolved over the past three years, more and more US troops are operating close to the front lines. In addition to the two troops killed Sunday, five other US troops have been killed in Iraq in the fight against Daesh, including two in the battle to retake the northern city of Mosul.
More than 1,200 Iraqi forces were killed in the battle for Mosul and more than 6,000 wounded, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said earlier this month.
Iraq’s prime minister declared victory against Daesh in Mosul in July, and Iraqi forces are now preparing to retake the Daesh-held town of Tel Afar, to the west.


Common ground emerging on Syria constitution, more talks planned: UN

Updated 24 sec ago
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Common ground emerging on Syria constitution, more talks planned: UN

  • De Mistura has a mandate from the UN Security Council to forge a political agreement between Syria’s warring sides
  • The discussions in Geneva were the first visible diplomacy in months between countries involved in the Syrian war

GENEVA: Senior officials from Iran, Russia and Turkey held “substantive” talks on Tuesday on how Syria’s constitutional committee will be set up and will function, and more such talks are planned within weeks, UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said.
The discussions in Geneva were the first visible diplomacy in months between countries involved in the Syrian war, and the effort to form a constitutional committee follows two years of futile rounds of talks that never led to direct meetings between the warring sides.
“During the meeting, constructive exchanges and substantive discussions took place on issues relevant to the establishment and functioning of a constitutional committee, and some common ground is beginning to emerge,” de Mistura said in a statement.
De Mistura has a mandate from the UN Security Council to forge a political agreement between Syria’s warring sides, including a new constitution and new elections.
A congress of Syrian activists held in the Russian resort of Sochi in January gave him the task of setting up a committee to draft a new constitution. He promised at the time to consult widely on the membership, which would be unlikely to exceed 50.
The government of President Bashar Assad has sent the UN a list of nominees and Syria’s opposition is expected to follow suit soon.
The meeting brought together the Turkish Foreign Ministry’s Deputy Undersecretary Sedat Onal, Russia’s Syria envoy Alexander Lavrentiev and the Iranian foreign minister’s Special Assistant in Political Affairs Hossein Jaber Ansari.
De Mistura plans to meet senior officials from the United States, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, France, Britain and Germany next week, and expects the Iranian, Russian and Turkish officials to return for more talks in the next few weeks “to widen the common ground,” the statement said.