Egypt Independent: World-Main news en UN: 1,420 people killed in Iraq in August <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Violence in Iraq left at least 1,420 people dead in August as Iraqi forces fought to regain areas overrun by jihadist-led militants, the United Nations said on Monday.</div><div>At least 1,370 people were wounded during the same period, the UN Iraq mission said in a statement.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It said the figures did not include Anbar province, west of Baghdad, and that there were difficulties in verifying incidents in areas where there was fighting or which were outside government control.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Militants led by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group overran chunks of five provinces in June, sweeping security forces aside.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>After a period of largely static battle lines, the militants launched a renewed offensive in the north in early August, driving Kurdish forces back towards their regional capital, displacing hundreds of thousands of people and prompting Washington to launch air strikes.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Kurdish fighters with US air support have managed to claw back some of the lost ground in the north, and there has also been heavy fighting northeast of Baghdad.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Militants have also carried out a spate of bombings that have caused heavy casualties.</div> Mon, 01 Sep 2014 11:40:00 +0000 AFP 2438245 at sites/default/files/photo/2012/02/19/26837/police_academy_in_iraq.jpg Ukraine soldiers battling Russian tanks at Lugansk <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Ukrainian troops on Monday were battling a Russian tank contingent in the eastern city of Lugansk, Kiev said, accusing Moscow&#39;s army units of moving into large cities in the region.</p><p>&quot;The battle between Ukrainian paratroopers and a reinforced tank battalion of the Russian armed forces is continuing with the goal of controlling the Lugansk airfield,&quot; military spokesman Leonid Matyukhin wrote on his Facebook page.</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1409558681709_1383">Ukraine&#39;s Defence Minister Valeriy Geletey further said that Russian units are moving into other towns in the region, including the largest city of the region Donetsk.</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1409558681709_1385">&quot;The information that Russian troops are there has been confirmed,&quot; he said.</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1409558681709_1387">&quot;We are fighting Russia and it is Russia which is deciding what will happen in Donbass,&quot; he told Ukraine&#39;s Inter channel late Sunday, referring to the informal name of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions.</p><p>&quot;We are holding talks not with terrorists but with representatives of the Kremlin,&quot; he added.</p><p>Pro-Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine have in recent days seized large swathes of territory, with Kiev saying the offensive has been reinforced with a larger than ever influx of Russian weaponry and troops.</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1409558681709_1400">NATO accused Moscow of sending 1,000 regular troops across the border, a large part of which is no longer controlled by Kiev.</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1409558681709_1402">Moscow has denied sending soldiers into Ukraine, saying paratroopers detained by Kiev about 20 kilometres from the Russian border got there by accident.</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1409558681709_1404">Fighting between Kiev&#39;s army and the insurgency has killed over 2,600 people since mid-April.</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1409558681709_1406">Also on Monday Russia&#39;s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said a meeting of the Ukraine Contact Group in Minsk should discuss an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1409558681709_1408">&quot;I am very much counting upon the negotiations set for today, to above all focus on agreeing an immediate and unconditional ceasefire,&quot; he said a meeting with university students according to Russian news agencies.</p><p id="yui_3_16_0_1_1409558681709_1410">Representatives of Kiev, Moscow and the OSCE are to meet Monday in Minsk, but it was unclear if representatives of pro-Russian separatists would attend.</p> Mon, 01 Sep 2014 08:35:00 +0000 AFP 2438240 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/09/01/94/pro-russian_fighters_stand_by_a_t-64_tank_in_starobesheve_southeast_of_donetsk_on_august_31_2014.jpg Fighting erupts between Syrian army, rebels on Golan Heights <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Heavy fighting between Syrian army forces and rebels erupted on the Golan Heights on Monday, a Reuters photographer said, but it was unclear if either of the two sides had gained an advantage to control a key frontier crossing.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Rebels of al Qaeda-linked Nusra Front have been battling the Syrian army in the area and have wrested control of the crossing at Quneitra, which is operated by the United Nations.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Persistent small arms fire and explosions from mortar shells and other munitions could be heard on the Israeli-controlled side of the frontier of the strategic plateau, the photographer reported.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>At least one tank belonging to the Syrian army loyal to President Bashar al-Assad was also involved and rebels could be seen a few meters (yards) away from the frontier fence.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>On Sunday, Israel&#39;s military said it shot down a drone that flew from Syria into Israeli-controlled airspace over the Golan.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>It was not immediately clear who dispatched the unmanned aircraft or the nature of its mission in an area where fighting from Syria&#39;s civil war has occasionally spilled over into Israeli-held territory.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In a statement, the military said the drone was downed by a Patriot missile near the Quneitra crossing between the Israeli-held Golan Heights and Syria.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A contingent of 44 UN peacekeepers from Fiji was detained on the Syrian side of the Golan by Islamist militants on Thursday, and the head of the Fijian army said on Sunday negotiations for their release were being pursued.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>More than 70 Philippine troops trapped by Islamists in a different area on the Syrian side of the frontier were extracted to safety, the United Nations and authorities in Manila said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Israel captured the Golan Heights in the 1967 Middle East war and beefed up defenses in the area after the outbreak of the Syrian civil war more than three years ago.</div> Mon, 01 Sep 2014 08:11:00 +0000 Reuters 2438238 at sites/default/files/photo/2012/03/04/101001/israelsyria.jpg Dozens of Turkish police detained over 'anti-government plot' <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Dozens of Turkish police officers, including a former chief of a police financial unit, were detained on Monday in a fresh wave of arrests over allegations that officers were involved in plotting against the government, local media said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Arrest warrants were issued for 33 police &quot;seeking to overthrow the government&quot;, broadcaster NTV reported.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The police force was not immediately available to comment.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Dozens of police have been remanded in custody since July on charges that they formed a criminal organization and bugged phones, part of what new President Tayyip Erdogan has described as a plot against him.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The latest detentions came after Ahmet Davutoglu took over from Erdogan as prime minister last week following Erdogan&#39;s victory in the country&#39;s first direct presidential election on&nbsp;10&nbsp;Aug.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Erdogan accuses US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen of using a network of followers, who have influence in the police, judiciary and other institutions, to try to oust him. Gulen denies plotting against the state.</div> Mon, 01 Sep 2014 08:06:00 +0000 Reuters 2438237 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/03/31/94/turkish_prime_minister_tayyip_erdogan_l_accompanied_by_his_son_bilal_and_daughter_sumeyye_greets_his_supporters_at_the_ak_party_headquarters_in_ankara.jpg