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Syria, Russia pound rebel-held Aleppo but advances halt

ALEPPO, Syria/BEIRUT Syria's military and Russian warplanes bombarded rebel-held districts of Aleppo on Saturday as Damascus's allies said victory was near, but insurgents fought back and army advances halted after rapid gains during the week.

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Iraq says army makes gains in grueling Mosul battle

BAGHDAD/GENEVA The Iraqi army said it took full control of two more districts of east Mosul on Saturday, pushing back Islamic State militants in a slow and hard-fought advance into the city whose 1 million residents face growing shortages of fuel, water and food.

United Nations, Iraq 8:54am EST

Taliban chief reinforces position with backing of two key members

KABUL Hardline cleric Mullah Haibatullah Akundzada has reinforced his position as the new leader of the Afghan Taliban by winning the support of two senior members, the insurgent group said on Saturday.

Afghanistan 9:35am EST

Second suspect in Brazilian soccer team air crash put in jail

LA PAZ Bolivian authorities have jailed the second suspect accused of wrongdoing in the air crash that wiped out Brazil's Chapacoense soccer team last month, prosecutors said on Saturday.

Brazil 9:28am EST

Colombian Nobel Prize winner sees a "ray of hope" for Syria, Sudan

OSLO Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said an accord to end a 52-year civil war with Marxist rebels was a "ray of hope" for solving conflicts from Syria to South Sudan as he collected the Nobel Peace Prize on Saturday.

Syria, Africa 8:31am EST

Gambia's president-elect says loser Jammeh cannot reject polls

BANJUL Gambia's President-elect Adama Barrow said on Saturday the country's outgoing leader Yahya Jammeh had no authority to reject the results of Dec.1. polls, while the United Nations and African Union piled pressure on Jammeh to step aside.

United Nations, Africa 10:07am EST

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