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US to send military advisers to Syria to help fight Islamic State

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Washington: The White House on Friday confirmed that the United States will send less than 50 Special Operations troops to northern Syria to act as military advisers and help local forces fight the Islamic State (IS), Xinhua reported.

“There — the less than 50 number is accurate. I cannot be more specific than that, primarily for reasons related to Operational Security,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said in response to questions about the US plan widely reported in the US media.

Those US troops “do not have a combat mission” and their major task is to build capacity of local moderate opposition forces fighting the IS militants by offering some training and advising, the spokesman said.

He stressed that despite the plan to deploy US troops on the ground in Syria for the first time, the US strategy in fighting the IS in Syria has not changed.

“The first is, you have heard the President (Obama) on many occasions discussed our strategy in Syria. And the fact is, our strategy in Syria has not changed,” Earnest said.

This will be the first time that US troops are deployed on the ground in Syria, where large swaths of territory have been controlled by the IS.

(IANS)

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US, Britain Step Up In Order to Tackle Female Genital Mutilation

The mutilation of girls’ external genitals for non-medical reasons is practiced across Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It also affects immigrant communities in Europe and the U.S.

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Female Genital Mutilation
A badge reads "The power of labor against FGM" is seen on a volunteer during a conference on International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in Cairo, Egypt, Feb. 6, 2018. (VOA)

Authorities in the U.S. and Britain are stepping up cooperation to tackle female genital mutilation, staging joint operations at airports in London, New York and elsewhere to raise awareness of an issue that affects millions of girls and women worldwide.

Police and border security agencies on both sides of the Atlantic have signed a new agreement to share intelligence about when and where victims may be taken for the procedure, known as FGM, and help identify perpetrators.

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In the past week, officials also targeted travel hubs including Heathrow, JKF airport and Eurostar stations, approaching people traveling from countries where the practice is common and encouraging them to report any concerns.

The mutilation of girls’ external genitals for non-medical reasons is practiced across Africa, the Middle East and Asia. It also affects immigrant communities in Europe and the U.S. (VOA)

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