Syria ProtestsThe Syrian government has condemned what it said was a U.S. helicopter raid inside its territory on October 26, resulting in eight civilian deaths. The statement said: “Syria condemns this aggression and holds the American forces responsible for this aggression and all its repercussions.” Syrian sources said the U.S. helicopters attacked the Sukkariyeh farm near Abu Kamal, five miles from the Iraqi border.

malitiaPakistani officials in Washington announced on October 23 that their government will supply arms to tribal militia in its northwestern tribal region, which lies along the border with Afghanistan. The region, known officially as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA, has seen much violence in recent years as terrorist units affiliated with the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda have crossed the mountainous border fleeing from U.S. forces operating in Afghanistan.

Babil Province, IraqThe U.S. military aind Iraqi authorites held a ceremony on October 23 marking the transfer of security responsibility for the province of Babil from the U.S. military to the Iraqi government.  Babil is the 12th of 18 Iraqi provinces to be transferred to Iraqi control. The transfer-of-power ceremony was held in the provincial capital, Hilla, located near the ruins of the ancient city of Babylon.

U.S. soldier in IraqIraq's cabinet said on October 21 it would demand changes in the proposed security agreement between the United States and Iraq, raising doubts that the document would quickly be approved. The United Nations Security Council resolution that authorizes American troop operations in Iraq expires on December 31, and unless an agreement can be reached by then, or the Security Council votes to extend the existing resolution, American troops would be required to cease operations in Iraq on that date.

Iraqi ChristianIn recent days, as many as 15 Christians have been slain in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul,  prompting the Iraqi government headed by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to dispatch 1,000 police to the violence-plagued city. The prime minister’s  office said in a statement that units of the Iraqi army and police were being sent to the Mosul area “to provide protection for members of this community” and that the forces would “target the terrorist groups” responsible for the attacks. Police reported that two car bombs blew up in Mosul on October 12, killing seven Iraqis.

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