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Turkey and the US are ready to drive ISIS from its Syrian stronghold of Raqqa, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Edogan has suggested.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said President Barack Obama floated the idea of joint action against the militants when they met at the G20 meeting in China.

He said Turkey would have “no problem” with such action.

In August, Turkey launched an operation inside Syria, targeting both ISIS and Kurdish rebels.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Turkish-backed militia drove ISIS from the border town of Jarablus, but Turkey has also been concerned with checking the advance of Kurdish forces whom it regards as terrorists.

The offensive continues, and Russia, who is allied to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says it is deeply concerned by the movement of Turkish forces deeper into Syrian territory.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s comments on Raqqa were published in Turkish media. There has been no confirmation from the US.

“Obama wants to do some things jointly concerning Raqqa,” he said.

“We said this would not be a problem from our perspective.”

“I said <<our soldiers should come together and discuss, then what is necessary will be done>>,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan added.

The Islamic State group militant “Jihadi John” was hit by a US forces airstrike with a “high degree of certainty”, US officials say.

Mohammed Emwazi, the Kuwaiti-born British militant, appeared in videos of the beheadings of Western hostages.

It is believed there was at least one other person in the vehicle targeted in the attack near Raqqa, in Syria.

A drone was used in the attack, according to a US official quoted by the Associated Press news agency.

A formal statement from the Pentagon stopped short of asserting that Mohammed Emwazi had definitely been killed, adding that it was assessing the operation.

Mohammed Emwazi is believed to have travelled to Syria in 2013 and later joined ISIS militants.

Photo CBC

Photo CBC

He first appeared in a video in August 2014, when footage was posted online showing the murder of American journalist James Foley.

Jihadi John was later pictured in the videos of the beheadings of American journalist Steven Sotloff, British aid worker David Haines and taxi driver Alan Henning, as well as American aid worker Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known as Peter, and Japanese journalist Kenji Goto.

In each of the videos, the militant appeared dressed in a black robe with a black balaclava covering his face.

Initially dubbed “Jihadi John” by the media, he was subsequently named as Mohammed Emwazi, from west London, in February.

Earlier this year, details emerged about how Mohammed Emwazi made a number of journeys abroad before he left for Syria in 2013.

They included a trip to Tanzania in August 2009, when he is believed to have first became known to security services in the UK.

Jihadi John’s naming this year led to a row over the cause of his radicalization, with British advocacy group Cage suggesting that contact with MI5 may have contributed to it.

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has accused the UK government of bullying and naivety in its approach to the conflict in his country.

In an interview with the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper, Bashar al-Assad said Britain was determined to militarize the situation.

Bashar al-Assad repeated his conditional offer of talks with the opposition and dismissed suggestions that he might step down.

The UK says it supports the Syrian opposition but does not provide rebels with arms.

However, at a recent Friends of Syria meeting in Rome, UK Foreign Secretary William Hague said military aid was possible in the future.

Bashar al-Assad, in a rare interview with a Western newspaper, accused UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s “naive, confused, unrealistic” government of trying to end an EU arms embargo so that the rebels could be supplied with weapons.

“We do not expect an arsonist to be a firefighter,” he said.

“To be frank, Britain has played a famously unconstructive role in our region on different issues for decades, some say for centuries.

“The problem with this government is that their shallow and immature rhetoric only highlights this tradition of bullying and hegemony.”

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has accused the UK government of bullying and naivety in its approach to the conflict in his country

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad has accused the UK government of bullying and naivety in its approach to the conflict in his country

He added: “How can we expect to ask Britain to play a role when it is determined to militarise the problem?

“How can you ask them to play a role in making the situation better, more stable? How can we expect them to make the violence less while they want to send military supply to the terrorists and don’t try to ease the dialogue between the Syrian(s).”

About 70,000 people have been killed in the Syrian uprising that started almost two years ago. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled to neighboring countries.

Meanwhile, fighting is continuing between Syrian government forces and rebels across the country.

Opposition activists reported fierce clashes around the northern provincial capital of Raqqa and said dozens of people had been killed.

Government forces shelled several areas of the city and there were running battles on the outskirts of the city, activists said.

Fighting was also reported at a police academy near the northern city of Aleppo; in the rebel enclave of Daraya and around the capital Damascus.

The violence comes amid the first overseas trip by new US Secretary of State John Kerry.

In the Turkish capital Ankara on Friday, he said the US and Turkey believed “the first priority is to try and have a political solution. We would like to save lives, not see them caught up in a continuing war”.

The main Syrian opposition alliance, the National Coalition, has dismissed offers of talks with the government while President Bashar al-Assad remains in power.

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A warplane has attacked a petrol station in the north-east of Syria, killing at least 30 people, opposition activists say.

A rebel group said people had been queuing for petrol and diesel near Ain Issa at the time.

The village is some 20 miles (32 km) from the Tal al-Abyad border post, seized by rebels on Wednesday after a lengthy battle with government forces.

The number of casualties was expected to rise, reports said.

Unverified footage posted online showed several charred vehicles and one activist group said 70 wounded people had been taken to hospital in the nearby town of Raqqa.

A warplane has attacked a petrol station in the north-east of Syria, killing at least 30 people

A warplane has attacked a petrol station in the north-east of Syria, killing at least 30 people

One activist told AFP news agency that the filling station was the only one still operating in the area and had been crowded at the time of the explosion.

A barrel of explosives was dropped on the petrol station, opposition activists said, causing a huge explosion and fire.

Syria’s armed forces have exploited their air power in recent weeks.

The use of hugely destructive but crude bombs involving a barrel packed with explosives has become increasingly common.

It is often impossible to verify the circumstances and the extent of casualties involved in attacks in Syria because reporters are unable to travel around the country.

But the burned-out pick-up trucks and a smouldering tractor seen in the video indicated a recent attack.

A day after the Tal al-Abyad border post was seized by Free Syrian Army rebels, opposition groups reported that fierce clashes between government and rebel forces were still going on for control of security buildings in the town.

The crossing-point is on the main road between Raqqa and the Turkish town of Sanliurfa and Turkish officials told AFP news agency that pro-Assad forces were shelling the area in an attempt to recapture the post.

Turkish media showed images of the rebel flag flying at the crossing alongside the Turkish flag.

Local schools in the Turkish border town of Akcakale were closed because of the danger of stray bullets and AFP reported that three Turkish civilians had been wounded.

There were conflicting reports earlier when a military helicopter was said to have crashed in the suburb of Douma, north-east of the capital, Damascus.

Syrian state media reported that the helicopter’s rotor had clipped the tail of a Syrian Arab Airlines plane carrying 200 passengers. The plane was then said to have landed safely at Damascus airport.

All passengers on board the plane were unharmed, reports said.

Initially, opposition activist group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said rebels had shot down the helicopter but that claim was not repeated elsewhere.

The government has increasingly used helicopters and planes in its fight against the rebels and activists reported clashes in the Douma area at the time.

Last month, rebels said they shot down a helicopter on the outskirts of Damascus.

Clashes were reported on Thursday across Syria, including Damascus and the second city, Aleppo.

Government forces were said to have overrun several districts in the south of Damascus where rebels have been holding out.

Syrian state TV said at least 100 “terrorists” were detained in the densely populated Yarmouk area, an unofficial Palestinian refugee settlement.

In the Dutch political capital, The Hague, a group of financial experts, foreign diplomats and Syrian defectors was meeting to look for new economic ways of weakening Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s grip on power.

The group, called the Friends of Syria, was discussing how to make sanctions on the Syrian government more effective and how to track down the Assad government’s hidden financial assets.

Dutch Foreign Minister Uri Rosenthal at the meeting said that one of the problems was that not all countries implemented sanctions on Syria.

Abdo Husameddin, a former Syrian oil minister who defected from the regime in March, said President Bashar al-Assad’s extended family may have billions of dollars hidden abroad.

“They are talking about probably more than $10 billion. And there are some other faces in fact hidden beside the regime itself. So all of this money is not directly under the name of Assad himself, but by other names.”

On Wednesday, the foreign minister of Iran, Syria’s close regional ally, held talks with President Bashar al-Assad, who told him that the attack his country was facing was not just against Syria, but also against its alliance with Iran and Hezbollah.

The UN estimates that the conflict has left at least 20,000 people dead.

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