In a surprising reversal, the US has sided with Russia and invited Iran to be involved in talks with Russia and Turkey as the four seek to end the conflict in Syria.
Iran has halted all flights to and from the Kurdish regions in northern Iraq. The air embargo is the first retaliatory measure against Monday's Kurdish independence referendum, which Iran, Iraq and Turkey all oppose.
Kurds are under pressure to cancel the vote that the international community, including the US and Russia, opposes. The Kurds are spread across Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey as a result of a post-World War I treaty.
The Syrian army has made significant advances since breaking the siege of Deir el-Zour, said a top Russian general in Syria. The "Islamic State" has lost much of the territory it gained during its brutal 2014 campaign.
US and Russian officials have addressed the rising tensions in Syria, as the war enters a critical new phase. Washington and Moscow-backed military groups are both set on securing the oil-rich province of Deir el-Zour.
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