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Live Blog: Tracking Islamic State

Follow all of the latest developments as they happen.


A woman rests near rubble in the Syrian town of Darat Izza in Aleppo Province on February 28.

A woman rests near rubble in the Syrian town of Darat Izza in Aleppo Province on February 28.

Summary

Latest News For February 29

-- The United States Army's elite Delta Force is on the verge of beginning operations to target, capture or kill top IS operatives in Iraq, after several weeks of covert preparation, an administration official with direct knowledge of the force's activities told CNN.

-- Syrian government forces have regained control of a road used by the army to access Aleppo, after making advances against Islamic State fighters, a monitoring group and state television reported.


-- Authorities in Iraq say the death toll from a double bombing at a market in Baghdad’s Shi’ite neighborhood of Sadr City rose to 73 on February 29 after several critically wounded victims died overnight.

-- Tajik media are reporting that a woman known to be the second wife of Gulmurod Halimov, the fugitive Tajik colonel who defected to the IS group, has left for Syria along with the couple's four young children.

-- The UN is poised to begin delivering aid to people living in besieged areas of Syria, making use of a truce brokered by the United States and Russia. The first deliveries are planned for Feb. 29, with aid due to reach about 150,000 Syrians in besieged areas over the next five days.

-- A truce negotiated between Syrian rebels and the government has caused a dramatic decrease in airstrikes around rebel-held territory, but there were few celebrations, with many residents suspecting a trick, CNN report.

* NOTE: Live blog posts are time-stamped according to Central European Time (CET).

19:03 29.2.2016

Syria ceasefire brings respite to overworked medics

In Syria's second city Aleppo, rescue workers have been taking advantage of the quiet to play football outside. For the first time in years, they have no one to save, AFP reports.

Doctors and emergency workers in war-ravaged Syria typically work around the clock in fraught conditions to provide life-saving care to the wounded.

Since the conflict erupted in 2011, volunteers have been pulling civilians from the rubble after air strikes and treating victims of shelling and sniper fire practically non-stop.

"There were days we would get 50 calls in each of our 114 emergency call centres across Syria," says Abdelrahman, a spokesman for the White Helmets.

18:58 29.2.2016

Syrian army takes land east of Damascus during fragile truce

Syrian armed forces have taken control of a strategically important piece of land between two neighborhoods in the eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, on the third day of a fragile truce.

18:14 29.2.2016

Turkey hit as many as 10 IS targets on Feb. 28: military official

CNN Turk has just tweeted that a Turkish military official says Turkish artillery hit as many as 10 IS targets in Syria on Feb. 28, according to local sources near the town of Azaz in northern Aleppo province.

17:39 29.2.2016

Fearing bombardment, W. Aleppo residents tell Nusra to 'get out'

Residents of rebel-held Atareb in Western Aleppo have "no confidence" in the ceasefire, a local citizen journalist told Syria Direct today.

The comments come a day after dozens of demonstrators in Atareb called for fighters from Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate the Al-Nusra Front to "get out" in order to avoid attracting Syrian government and Russian bombardment, Syria Direct report.

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About This Blog

"Under The Black Flag" provides news, opinion, and analysis about the impact of the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria, Iraq, and beyond. It focuses not only on the fight against terrorist groups in the Middle East, but also on the implications for the region and the world. The blog's primary author, James Miller, closely covered the first three years of the Arab Spring, with a focus on Syria, and is now the managing editor of The Interpreter, where he covers Russia's foreign and domestic policy and the Kremlin's wars in Syria and Ukraine. Follow him on Twitter: @Millermena

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