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Turkish Parliament OKs Military Operations In Iraq, Syria

Turkey’s parliament has approved a motion that authorizes the government to carry out military operations within neighboring Iraq and Syria.

The mandate requested by the government lasts for one year and is broad in scope.

It does not commit Turkey to sending armed troops into Syria and Iraq, but it authorized Ankara to do so if it chooses.

The move comes after months of caution by Turkey over the Islamic State militants, who are fighting Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria.

Ankara has not yet indicated how it will support the U.S.-led coalition against IS militants.

But Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called for a buffer zone inside Syria along the Turkish border, backed by a no-fly zone, as a safe haven for Kurdish Syrian refugees.

Washington says the U.S. envoy in charge of building the international coalition, retired U.S. General John Allen, will visit Turkey soon.

The visit by the envoy, retired U.S. General John Allen, is part of a tour that also includes stops in Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, and Belgium.

The U.S. State Department says Allen is working to bolster “support of the international coalition efforts to degrade and defeat” Islamic State militants

Meanwhile, Iraqi government forces supported by U.S.-led coalition air strikes, continue to battle Islamic State militants.

Iraqi medical officials say fighting in western Iraq on October 2 left nearly 60 people dead as militants sent waves of suicide bombers at government strongholds.

There was a fierce battle in Hit, a small government-controlled town that straddles the Euphrates River between the strategic Haditha dam and Ramadi on the main highway to Syria.

Authorities say two militant suicide bombers spearheaded an attack on a police compound in Hit, destroying the post’s fortified walls.

Iraqi Colonel Jabbar al-Nimrawi said police killed about 20 of attackers who tried to storm their way into the compound in the wake of the blasts.

At least seven policemen and four soldiers also were killed in the battle.

Nimrawi said the militants failed capture the Iraqi post.

Militants also attacked the headquarters of the Iraqi Army's 8th Brigade just outside Ramadi, sending waves of suicide bombers in an attempt to breach the compound's walls.

Army officer Awad al-Dulaimi said 13 suicide bombers died during the initial waves of the attack, along with eight militants who were killed in an ensuing firefight.

At least six soldiers were killed there.

In the northern city of Mosul, which in under the control of IS militants, RFE/RL's Iraq service reports that warplanes were used to drop leaflets urging the civilians to stay clear of areas where IS militants are located ahead of expected air strikes on the city.

Meanwhile, a United Nations report released on October 2 said Islamic State (IS) militants and other armed groups have committed a "staggering" number of gross human rights violations and "acts of violence" in northern Iraq that could amount to war crimes.

The joint report by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights lists serious violations of international law and gross abuses committed from July 6 to September 10.

The offenses include mass executions, the abduction of women and girls as sex slaves, and the use of children as fighters.

The report also said Iraqi government air strikes had caused "significant" civilian deaths and injuries, particularly in the western province of Anbar.

It said nearly 10,000 people were killed in Iraq by Islamists in September and some 1.8 million Iraqis fled their homes.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL's Iraq Service, Reuters, AP, and AFP

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