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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.

Live Blog: Tracking Islamic State

Follow all of the latest developments as they happen.

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).

12:09 11.12.2015

Geneva remains on high alert today as police carry out further searches in the city for several suspected extremists who are believed to have links to the IS group, AFP reports.

The region in western Switzerland remains at alert-level three out of five, the local government told AFP this morning.

"For now, there is no change to the security situation," said spokeswoman Emmanuelle Lo Verso, who on December 10 said police were investigating "a specific threat", and were "actively searching" for suspects.

12:01 11.12.2015

And here's a full translation of Putin's comments about the Russian military's "harsh response" if it is threatened in Syria.

"I want to warn those who are again trying to organize any sort of provocation against our military personnel. We have already taken additonal measures to safeguard Russian military personnel and air bases [in Syria]. It is reinforced with new air squadrons and air defense assets," Putin said.

"All air strike operations are carried out with fighter cover. I order you to act in a very tough manner. Any targets that threaten the Russian [military] group or our ground infrastructure will be destroyed immediately."

11:57 11.12.2015

Here's a translation of the full quote from Putin regarding his claim this morning that upward of 5,000 Free Syrian Army fighters are attacking "terrorist" positions along with Syrian goverment troops.

"I emphasize that the work of our air group [in Syria] is facilitating the joint efforts of government forces and the Free Syrian Army. Now several of its parts totaling more than 5,000 men are, just like the regular forces, carrying out offensives against terrorists in Homs, Hama, Aleppo and Raqqa. Apart from that, we are supporting them from the air, just like the Syrian army, we are giving them assistance with weapons, ammunition and material resources," Putin said.

Putin was speaking at an extended Defense Ministry meeting this morning.

11:51 11.12.2015

Parts of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) totalling around 5,000 troops are attacking "terrorist" positions together with the Syrian government forces, Russian President Putin has said.

11:49 11.12.2015

Russia's air force has conducted around 4,000 sorties in Syria, says Russian Defense Minister Shoigu.

11:48 11.12.2015

The Russian military in Syria has restored a tank-repair factory in Homs, Russian Defense Minister Shoigu says.

11:45 11.12.2015

The IS group has made more than $500 million trading oil, a U.S. Treasury official has told the BBC.

Its "primary customer" has been Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, despite IS's ongoing battle to overthrow Assad, Adam Szubin said.

IS had also looted up to $1 billion from banks in territory it held, Szubin said.

11:42 11.12.2015

Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has said that the IS group controls around 70 percent of Syria's territory.

Shoigu also said that there are 60,000 militants fighting alongside the IS group.

Shoigu was speaking at an extended Defense Ministry meeting this morning.

Russia has frequently made no distinction between the IS group and armed Syrian opposition groups who are fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces.

11:38 11.12.2015

At least 22 people were killed by three truck bombs in a Kurdish-controlled town in northeastern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on Friday.

SOHR said the death toll from the attack in Tel Tamer late on Thursday was likely to increase.

Tel Tamer in Syria's northeastern Hasaka province is controlled by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) who are fighting against the IS group.

11:36 11.12.2015

A Russian IS militant suspected of beheading another Russian man in Syria has been arrested in absentia, a source has told Interfax.

Anatoly Zemlyanka from Noyabrsk is believed to be the IS militant who appears in a grisly beheading video distributed by the IS group last week.

A wanted notice for Zemlyanka appeared on the Interpol website today.

The source told Interfax that charges have been brought against Zemlyanka in absentia and a court ruled that he is to be arrested in absentia on charges of participation in an illegal armed group in a foreign state.

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