18 September, 2014
The U.S. Congress has approved a plan to arm and train Syrian rebels to fight Islamic State militants and forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Some Democratic Party politicians are concerned that the U.S. is getting into another war in the Middle East. Republican Party politicians say Mr. Obama's plan will not do enough to defeat the Islamic State group.
In France, President Francois Hollande said his country is ready to launch airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Iraq. But the French president rejected extending the airstrike to Syria.
Islamic State fighters seize Kurdish areas
Islamic State fighters with tanks have captured 16 Kurdish villages in Northern Iraq near the Turkish border. The group also captured the Kurdish area of Kobani in Syria.
Nawaf Khalil is a spokesman for Syria's Kurdish Democratic Union Party. He said the Kurdish fighters withdrew from 20 villages in the Kobani area. He also said they moved civilians to safer areas.
Kobani local leader Anwer Moslem spoke with VOA's Kurdish service. He expressed his fears about the situation. He said:
"ISIL are attacking with American tanks and heavy weapons that they captured in Mosul. They are attacking Kobani and want to control it and carry out a massacre there just like what happened [to Yezidis] in Sinjar where people had to leave their homes, where people were killed, women were abducted, children were killed."
Obama reaffirms U.S. support for Ukraine
President Barack Obama has offered additional security assistance to Ukraine to help it in its conflict with Russia. Mr. Obama met with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko Thursday at the White House. The U.S. leader said Ukraine will receive $53 million in new aid. He 46 million of it will help with Ukraine's security. The other $7 million is for humanitarian needs.
Mr. Obama also said that the U.S. will continue to seek a diplomatic solution with help from the international community.
Earlier in the day, the Ukrainian president spoke to the full U.S. Congress. Mr. Poroshenko told lawmakers that his country needed weaponry to fight separatist forces.
George Clooney to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award
American actor George Clooney will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award, an honorary Golden Globe for his work in the movie industry.
The 53-year-old Clooney is one of Hollywood's leading men. He has also directed and produced movies. The Hollywood Foreign Press will honor him in January at the Golden Globes Awards.
Words in the News
extend – v. to stretch out in area or length; to continue for a longer time
tank – n. a large container for holding liquids; a heavy
military vehicle with guns
receive – v. to get or accept something given, offered or sent
honor – v. to obey; to show strong, good feelings for ("to
honor one's parents"); n.an award; an act of giving special recognition ("He received many honors for his efforts to help others.")
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