Middle East Updates / West never been so close to nuclear deal with Iran, Germany says


8:49 A.M. Air and missile strikes hit oilfields in eastern Syria in an apparent attack by U.S.-led forces against Islamic State militants, a monitoring group said on Friday.

An air strike hit the al-Tanak oilfield area in the eastern province of Deir al-Zor, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the conflict through a network of sources.

Deir al-Zor, which borders Iraq, is almost entirely controlled by Islamic State militants and was a major oil-producing province before Syria’s conflict began more than three years ago.
Other apparent missile strikes, also thought to be carried out by U.S.-led forces, hit the al-Quriyah area, also in eastern Deir al-Zor, the monitoring group said.

There were casualties, the group added, but did not give details. (Reuters)

2:51 A.M. Six world power have never been so close to a deal with Iran that would resolve the decade-long nuclear standoff once and for all, but the final phase of the negotiations will be the hardest, Germany’s foreign minister said on Thursday.

“We have never been so close to a deal as now. But the truth is that the final phase of the talks that lay before us is probably the most difficult,” Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier told reporters after meeting Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. (Reuters)

“Now is the time to end this conflict. I hope that Iran … in view of the situation in the world and the situation in the Middle East, knows and senses that a collapse of the talks now is not permissible.”

2:25 A.M. Forty countries and three major organizations urged Libya’s feuding political leaders on Thursday to peacefully resolve the political and military crisis gripping the north African country.

A statement issued by the chairman of a high-level meeting convened by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the sidelines of the annual meeting of world leaders at the UN General Assembly said the political polarization and military conflict are posing “a dangerous and significant threat” to the country’s transition to democracy.

The UN announcement said a joint UN-Libyan committee would oversee a future cease-fire. (AP)

1:24 A.M. Around 1,000 recruits from a vast region stretching from India to the Pacific may have joined Islamic State to fight in Syria or Iraq, a senior U.S. military commander said on Thursday.

“That number could get larger as we go forward,” Navy Admiral Samuel Locklear, who heads the U.S. Armed Forces’ Pacific Command, told reporters at the Pentagon.

However, Locklear did not specify which of the 36 countries in the Pacific Command – some of which have their own Islamist movements – have been recruiting grounds for the Sunni fundamentalist militant group. (Reuters)



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