Islamic State executes soldiers, takes hostages at Syria base: social media

BEIRUT - Islamic State militants have executed Syrian army soldiers and are holding a group hostage after capturing an air base in northeast Syria at the weekend, pictures posted on social media by supporters showed on Wednesday.

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Libya warns U.N. council of possible slide into civil war

UNITED NATIONS - Libya warned the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday that the chaotic North African state could descend into full-scale civil war if heavily armed warring factions are not disarmed.

12:52pm EDT

Released U.S. hostage says overwhelmed by welcome home

WASHINGTON - An American writer released this week after nearly two years of captivity in Syria said he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of attention he received after returning home, he told reporters on Wednesday.

10:46am EDT

Germany to decide on military aid for Iraq on Sunday: minister

PRAGUE - The German government will decide on Sunday what specific military aid it will send to Kurdish forces in Iraq to help them fight Islamic State militants in the north of the country, its foreign minister said on Wednesday.

World, Iraq 1:08pm EDT

Deadline passed, no sign of breakthrough in Iran nuclear probe

VIENNA - Iran may have failed to meet a deadline for addressing U.N. concerns about suspected nuclear bomb research, but it could still act to influence a key report due next week, diplomatic sources said on Wednesday.

Davos, World 12:30pm EDT

Iran says tested new nuclear enrichment machine, may irk West

DUBAI/VIENNA - Iran has conducted "mechanical" tests on a new, advanced machine to refine uranium, a senior official was quoted as saying on Wednesday, a disclosure that may annoy Western states pushing Tehran to scale back its nuclear programme.