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VOA English Newscast: 1400 UTC November 12, 2015


Austria Syria Talks

Austria Syria Talks

From Washington, this is VOA News.

I’m Ira Mellman reporting.

An Iraqi stronghold comes under attack.

Kurdish fighters backed by U.S. airstrikes recaptured some areas around the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar from the Islamic State group after launching a new operation Thursday.

Kurdish officials said their forces were in control of villages on either side of the town and had taken control of a key road on a major supply route between Islamic State-held Mosul to the east and the group's self-proclaimed capital to the west, in Raqqa, Syria.

The route, known as Highway 47, is used by the Islamic State to transport weapons, fighters, illicit oil and other commodities that fund the militant group's operations, according to the U.S. Central Command. It says the U.S.-led coalition intends to increase pressure on Islamic State fighters and isolate their components from each other.

About 7,500 fighters are taking part in the effort. In addition to retaking Sinjar, they want to establish a buffer zone in the area to protect civilians.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry begins a three-nation trip Thursday that includes a second round of talks on Syria's political future and the fight against Islamic State militants there.

The meeting in Austria follows the initial talks in late October on the political turmoil in Syria.

Russia recently denounced U.S. plans to send ground troops to Syria to fight ISIL, accusing the U.S. of creating a proxy war with Moscow.

Before Kerry heads to Austria to address the Syria situation, he will first stop in Tunisia, where he will meet with officials for the second U.S. Tunisian Strategic Dialogue.

During an initial dialogue last April officials discussed issues including the economy, partnerships and security.

This is VOA News.

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Words in This News

backed – v. giving help to; providing evidence in support of

key – adj. important or influential

route – n. a road or pathway

illicit – adj. barred by laws, rules or customs

commodity – n. something that is bought and sold

fund – v. to provide financial support

according – adv. as stated by or in

intends – v. to plan or want to do something

isolate – v. to keep separate from others

components – n. to parts

buffer – adj. neutral

zone – n. area

initial – adj. at the beginning of something

turmoil – n. unrest or disorder

proxy – adj. related to giving the power to do something for someone else

address – v. to speak about; to deal with

strategic – adj. involving a general plan that is set up to carry out a goal; useful or important in reaching a goal

dialog – n. discussions; communications

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