3 teens stopped on way to Syria
Three male teens from Britain who reached Turkey before being deported to the U.K. and arrested are believed to be the latest examples of a worrying trend — the rising number of young Britons seeking to travel to Syria to join terrorists there. The three suspects were being questioned at a central London police station after their bid to get to Syria, coming soon after three British schoolgirls managed to elude authorities and get to Syria last month. The girls are believed by police to have joined ISIL in their self-declared caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq.
British police said the three males, two 17-year-old boys and a 19-year-old man, have been arrested on suspicion of planning terrorist acts. They haven't been charged and their names haven't been released.
The male trio left Britain several days ago, traveling to Spain and then flying from Barcelona to Turkey. They were detained in Istanbul Friday after British officials notified Turkish authorities.
Kerry's willing to talk with Assad
Secretary of State John Kerry said he would be willing to talk with Syrian President Bashar Assad to help broker a political resolution to the country's civil war. In an interview with CBS News, Kerry said that the U.S. is pushing for Assad to seriously discuss a transition strategy to help end Syria's four-year conflict, which has killed more than 220,000 people, given rise to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and destabilized the wider Middle East.
"We have to negotiate in the end," Kerry said. "What we're pushing for is to get him to come and do that, and it may require that there be increased pressure on him of various kinds." The Obama administration has long pushed for a political settlement to the Syrian crisis, and helped bring the Assad government and the Western-backed opposition to the negotiating table in early 2014. Those talks collapsed without making any headway, however, and there has been no serious effort as of yet to revive them.
Saddam's tomb leveled in tikrit
The tomb of Iraq's late dictator Saddam Hussein was virtually leveled in heavy clashes between ISIL fighters and Iraqi forces in a fight for control of the city of Tikrit.
Fighting intensified to the north and south of Saddam Hussein's hometown Sunday as Iraqi security forces vowed to reach the center of Tikrit within 48 hours. Associated Press video from the village of Ouja, just south of Tikrit, shows all that remains of Saddam's once-lavish tomb are the support columns that held up the roof.
Poster-sized pictures of Saddam, which once covered the mausoleum, were nowhere to be seen amid the mountains of concrete rubble. Instead, Shiite militia flags and photos of militia leaders mark the predominantly Sunni village, including that of Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the powerful Iranian general advising Iraqi Shiite militias on the battlefield.
ISIL, helped in its conquest of northern Iraq by Saddam loyalists, has controlled Tikrit since June.