Voice of America News: Henry Ridgwell from the Turkish border by Aleppo

Human rights groups in Illinois say they'll continue programs for Syrian refugees. That’s despite the governor's calls to suspend accepting them - a threat he made on the heels of the terrorist attacks in Paris last Friday. 


Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says the United States should take a hard line against the Islamic State group.  

Islamic State extremists released a video Tuesday purportedly showing the beheading of a second American journalist. It also warns President Barack Obama that as long as U.S. air strikes against the group continue there'll be continued violence.  

Wikimedia Commons

  U.S. Senator Dick Durbin is condemning the murder of American journalist James Foley, who was beheaded by terrorist organization the Islamic State.

Durbin, a Democrat, says the group also known as ISIS must be stopped from advancing on more territory in Iraq and Syria. And he says the American military can help Iraqi forces do that.

"Ironically, many times ISIS is using American equipment we left behind," he said. "We know the capacity of that equipment, we know its limitations and we can help the Iraqi Army stop this advance."

  U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk each say they support limited air strikes over Iraq to try to deter the Islamic State terrorist organization. But Durbin's expressing reservations.

President Barack Obama Thursday night authorized air strikes on the terrorist group which has been gaining territory in Iraq.

While Durbin (D-IL) says he is glad the action involves no boots on the ground, he's still cautious about getting involved in the conflict.

Glen Carey / NPR

Join WUIS in honoring Kelly McEvers for her world class reporting on international affairs October 31, 2013 at the Hoogland Center for the Arts.  

Learn more about Kelly and read her recent stories.


Kelly previously reported for WUIS and, when vesting family recently, agreed to do this event as a fundraiser to help support her home town public radio station.  There are two ticket levels:

Russian president Vladimir Putin this week makes a rare appearance on page 31 of the New York Times.  

In his Thursday morning op-ed (click here to read), Putin makes an appeal to the U.S. to be "cautious" in the coming weeks as Congress considers military action against Syria.

(We most recently updated this post at 4:02 p.m. ET.)

Amid reports that Syrian President Bashar Assad may be willing to give up his chemical weapons, as his strongest ally has suggested he do, the Obama administration expressed skepticism Tuesday.

Rep. Jim Himes is willing to vote against the wishes of his constituents. Probably not this time, though.

"Like the rest of the country, my constituency is pretty much opposed to the intervention in Syria," says the Connecticut Democrat. "Since health care reform, I haven't seen an issue that energized as many people."

His colleagues in the House and Senate report the same.

The interest groups opposed to U.S. military strikes against Syria had a very good week. That made it a very bad week for President Obama and those who support his plans.

Anna Galland, executive director of the liberal — which opposes military action in Syria — said that by midweek, her group's members reported making 10,000 calls to Congress, contributing to an avalanche of calls from citizens opposed to military strikes.

This won't be a standard party-line vote. Big factions within both parties remain skeptical about President Obama's plans to launch punitive airstrikes against Syria.

If the vote were held today, it might not pass. Obama and his allies — including top House leaders of both parties — have a big selling job yet to do to persuade a majority of members to authorize military action.