Middle East Updates / Report: Iran Calls Obama's 10-year Nuclear Demand 'Unacceptable'

Turkey delivers military aid to Iraq; U.S.-led coalition conducts nine airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria, Iraq; Lebanese soldier, militant killed in shootout in Lebanon's north.


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Latest updates:

8:00 P.M. European dies fighting ISIS alongside Kurds in Syria, monitoring group says

A European fighting alongside Kurds in Syria has been killed in clashes with hardline Islamic State militants, a group monitoring the conflict said on Tuesday, and Britain said it was aware of reports the person was a British national.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the combatant had been fighting alongside Kurdish YPG forces in Syria's northern Hasakah province and said he had died from wounds.

It was not clear whether the man was a British national or a Greek man who had been living in Britain, the Observatory said. He had been wounded during clashes with Islamic State between the towns of Tal Hamis and al-Hol, it added. 

"We are aware of reports of the death of a British national in Syria," Britain's Foreign Office said in a statement, adding that it had previously advised against all travel to Syria. (Reuters) 

4:35 P.M. Turkish cargo planes deliver military aid to Iraq

Turkey's state-run news agency says two Turkish cargo planes have delivered military aid to Iraq.

The Anadolu Agency says two C-130 military cargo planes landed at an air base near Baghdad on Tuesday. It did not give any detail on the supplies.

The delivery comes a day before Turkish Defense Minister Ismet Yilmaz is scheduled to visit Baghdad to discuss the fight against the Islamic State group.

Last month, Turkey and the United States signed a deal to train and arm Syrian rebels fighting the militants. Turkey is already training Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq.

Turkish ambassador Faruk Kaymakci said on Twitter: "Turkey stands by Iraq in the fight against (ISIS militants) and continues to provide military assistance to Iraqi forces in Baghdad." (AP)

2:40 P.M. Egyptian court suspends parliamentary election after court ruling

An Egyptian court suspended the country's upcoming parliamentary elections Tuesday, following an earlier Supreme Constitutional Court ruling deeming laws regulating the vote unconstitutional.

The decision by Judge Yahia Dakrouri of the Administrative Court was expected after the high court's ruling last week. The country's election committee later will set a new date for the vote.

The Supreme Constitutional Court's ruling declared the law defining voting districts unconstitutional. The government is working on amending the law. The Supreme Election Committee said in a statement earlier that it is setting up a new timetable for elections whenever the law is ready. It was not clear how long it will take for the amendments to be written, but voting for a new parliament is expected to be delayed for at least several weeks.

The parliamentary vote initially was set to take place in phases beginning on March 22. It is the final phase in a transition period following the 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi by the military. (AP)

1:55 P.M. Report: Iran calls Obama's 10-year nuclear demand 'unacceptable'

Iran on Tuesday rejected as "unacceptable" U.S. President Barack Obama's demand that it freeze sensitive nuclear activities for at least 10 years, but said it would continue talks aimed at securing a deal, Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported.

"Iran will not accept excessive and illogical demands," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted as saying by Fars.

"Obama's stance ... is expressed in unacceptable and threatening phrases ... ," he reportedly said, adding that negotiations underway in Switzerland would nonetheless carry on.

Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry sat down for a second day of meetings hours after Obama had told Reuters that Iran must commit to a verifiable halt of at least 10 years on sensitive nuclear work for a landmark atomic deal to be reached. (Reuters) 

10:18 A.M. Lebanese soldier, militant killed in shootout in north

A Lebanese soldier and a wanted militant were killed in an exchange of gunfire in northern Lebanon on Tuesday, security sources and a medic said.

The militant, identified as Abdulrahman Tamar, was wanted in connection with deadly battles with the army last October in northern Lebanon.

Tuesday's exchange of fire occurred in the village of Bhanin, northeast of the city of Tripoli. (Reuters) 

5:16 A.M. U.S.-led coalition conducts nine airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria, Iraq

The United States and its coalition partners conducted four airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria and five in Iraq on Sunday and Monday, according to the U.S. military.

In a statement on Monday, the Combined Joint Task Force leading the air operations said one strike near Dayr az Zawr in Syria hit a crude oil collection point. The others, near Kobani, destroyed a bunker and vehicle, and hit a tactical unit.

In Iraq, air strikes near Al Asad, Bayji and Kirkuk hit tactical units, checkpoints, fighting positions, and boats and vehicles. Strikes near Mosul destroyed an Islamic State fighting position while near Rawah they hit a compound, according to the statement.