• In this Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015 photo provided on Monday, Oct. 12, 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin give an interview focused on Russia's action in Syria, to Russian TV Rossya-1 channel in Sochi, Russia. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA-Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

    Amid Russian airstrikes, a Putin craze takes hold in Mideast

    BEIRUT (AP) — Amid the ornate walls of Damascus’ famed Omayyad Mosque, preacher Maamoun Rahmeh stood before worshippers last week, declaring Russian President Vladimir Putin a “giant and beloved leader” who has “destroyed the myth of the self-aggrandizing America.”

  • Members of Anti-terrorism forces take up combat positions after regaining control of Znkurh area, Ramadi, Iraq. Iraqi security forces, backed by Sunni and Shiite volunteers supported by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes against Islamic State group advanced their position after clashes in the western suburbs of Ramadi, Anbar province, Iraq, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. (AP Photo)

    Iraq officials: mortar attack in Diyala province kills 35

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraqi police officials say at least 35 people were killed in a mortar attack on villages around the provincial capital of the country’s eastern Diyala province.

  • In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave flags as they ride in a convoy, which includes multiple Toyota pickup trucks, through Raqqa city in Syria on a road leading to Iraq. Toyota is working with U.S. officials after questions were raised about the prominent use of its vehicles by militant organizations in Syria, Iraq and Libya. (Militant website via AP, File)

    Why do extremists drive Toyotas?, asks US

    NEW YORK (AP) — Toyota has spoken with U.S. officials about the prominent use of its vehicles by militants in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

  • In this Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015 file photo, Russian President Vladimir Putin listens during a meeting at the presidential residence in the Russian Black Sea Resort of Sochi, Russia. A meeting in August between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Qassem Soleimani, Iran's top general and commander of the Quds Force, in Moscow lasted some three hours. Soleimani's one mission was to sell Putin on the idea that Russian airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria was imperative. (Alexei Nikolsky/RIA Novosti, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File)

    Iran lobbied for Russian campaign in Syria , officials say

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iran played an integral role leading up to Russia’s move to launch its air campaign in Syria and play a stronger role in Iraq, with one of Tehran’s most powerful generals meeting for three hours with President Vladimir Putin to push for intervention, Iraqi government officials tell The Associated Press.