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ISIS under heavy attack by Russians in eastern Syria

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Russia has bombed the Islamic State group in the heaviest strikes in eastern Syria since the war began, as Moscow’s military manoeuvres in the Mediterranean forced Lebanon to reroute flights.

It came as the United Nations passed a motion calling for action against IS, a week after 130 people were killed in Paris, sparking international condemnation and fears of similar attacks elsewhere in Europe.

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Russian and Syrian warplanes carried out at least 70 strikes in eastern Deir Ezzor province on Friday, killing at least 36 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The Britain-based group said the raids hit several cities and towns in the province, as well as three oilfields, and were the heaviest bombardment of the region since the conflict began in March 2011.

Most of Deir Ezzor province, including large parts of its capital, is held by IS.

The regime still holds the military airport and several smaller areas.

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Russia began its bombing campaign in support of President Bashar al-Assad on September 30, and pledged to step up the strikes after IS claimed a bombing that brought down a Russian passenger jet over Egypt last month, killing all 224 people on board.

On Friday, Russia said it had fired cruise missiles from warships in the Caspian Sea and claimed to have killed 600 fighters in recent strikes.

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According to the Observatory, Russia’s strikes have killed more than 1,300 people since they began, a third of them civilians.

– Lebanon flights rerouted –

The group says 381 IS fighters have been killed in the strikes, along with 547 rebels from other groups including Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra Front.

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It said 403 civilians had been killed, including 97 children.

Russia’s military involvement in Syria has stirred tensions with Turkey, which backs the uprising against Assad and has accused Moscow of failing to respect its border and airspace in the campaign.

And on Saturday, flights in and out of Lebanon were being forced to take longer routes, with some airlines cancelling services, after Moscow requested flights avoid a portion of airspace over the Mediterranean, a Lebanese minister said.

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Lebanese Transport Minister Ghazi Zeaiter said Moscow requested “that planes leaving Beirut airport towards the west avoid overflying an area in Mediterranean territorial waters because of manoeuvres on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.”

There was no confirmation from Moscow of the request, but a Lebanese airport official later said that departing flights would be directed to first fly south over Sidon and Sarafand to “keep them away from the perimeter of the manoeuvres.”

Lebanon’s national carrier Middle East Airlines acknowledged the rerouting in a statement, saying its flights would be mostly on time but “some flights to the Gulf and the Middle East region might take (a) longer time due to a slight change in airways.”

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Kuwait Airways said it was suspending its Beirut flights “as a precautionary measure” but most other flights were arriving and leaving normally.

Turkey’s Dogan news agency said two Turkish Airlines services to Beirut on Friday night were cancelled for “security reasons” due to the Russian request, but its Saturday flights were operating regularly.

In France, the president’s office said Francois Hollande would meet British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday to discuss the Syrian conflict and the threat posed by jihadists.

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Hollande is also set to meet next week with US President Barack Obama, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the wake of France’s worst-ever terror attack.

On Friday, the UN Security Council backed a French-drafted measure calling on member states to “take all necessary measures” to fight IS.

The resolution, which does not provide a legal basis for military action, urges countries to “take all necessary measures, in compliance with international law… on the territory under the control of ISIL… in Syria and Iraq“.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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2020 Election

Democrats could flip the Texas state house in 2020 — and reshape the national map

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Blue Texas? Democrats have long dreamt of winning Texas’s 38 electoral votes in the presidential election. That may still be a long shot, but a recent “Texodus” from Congress has given new talk to a political transformation across the Lone Star State that could have massive ramifications down the ballot and for decades to come.

This article was originally posted at Salon.

Four of the state’s GOP members of Congress have announced their retirements in recent weeks, an unusual torrent of departures signaling that a storm is coming. And evidence shows that it’s not just hitting Texas’s federal delegation. It’s coming to Austin, too.

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‘There’s an awful lot of really good Republicans out there’: Joe Biden at Cape Cod fundraiser

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Former Vice President Joe Biden defended Republican lawmakers in DC as "decent people" during a campaign fundraiser held at Cape Cod.

"There’s an awful lot of really good Republicans out there," Biden argued, according to Washington Post reporter Matt Viser.

"I get in trouble for saying that with Democrats, but...every time we ever got in trouble with our administration, remember who got sent up to Capitol Hill to fix it? Me," he said.

”Because they know I respect the other team. I do. They’re decent people," Biden claimed. "They ran because they care about things, but they’re intimidated right now.”

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Neo-Nazi ‘Atomwaffen Division’ holding live-fire militia trainings at ‘The Base’ near Spokane: report

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One sign of the growing white nationalist crisis in America is a new outreach effort for paramilitary training.

"A neo-Nazi group focused on providing paramilitary-style training to far-right extremists has been conducting a massive recruitment drive and claims to have already conducted live-fire training with its members," Vice News reports.

"The Base, which is connected to extreme-right groups the Atomwaffen Division and the Feuerkrieg Division, has been promoting its growth on social media with photos announcing its presence in major cities across North America, including New York, Los Angeles, and Seattle, and in Europe, South Africa, and Australia," Vice reported. "The images often include a small contingent (typically one to three) of masked, camo-clad men holding weapons standing in front of The Base's flag, a black flag with three white lines running down the centre."

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