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Russia, Arab League see chance for start to Syria dialogue

Moscow - Russia and the Arab League see signs of hope that the rival sides in the Syrian civil war are willing to start talks to end nearly two years of conflict. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and visiting Arab League head Nabil Elaraby said on Wednesday they were encouraged that both the Syrian government and the opposition had voiced readiness for dialogue. "There have been signs of a positive te ...

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Mediator Brahimi seeks Syria-opposition talks at U.N

Damascus - International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi called on Sunday for talks between the Syrian opposition and an "acceptable delegation" from the Damascus government on a political solution to the country's 23-month-old civil war. After a meeting at Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Brahimi said negotiations could begin on United Nations premises. He gave no specific location. Opposition Syrian National C ...

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Egypt Court Suspends YouTube over Anti-Islam Film

Cairo - An Egyptian court ordered the suspension of online video service YouTube for a month on Saturday for broadcasting a film insulting the Prophet Mohammad, state media reported. The country's administrative court ordered the ministries of communication and investment to block YouTube, owned by Google, inside Egypt because it had carried the film "Innocence of Muslims," said state news agency MENA. The ...

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Pentagon Backed Plan for U.S. to Arm Syrian Rebels

Washington - Pentagon leaders told Congress on Thursday that they had supported a recommendation to arm Syrian rebels promoted by the State Department and CIA but which President Barack Obama ultimately decided against. Obama's government has limited its support to non-lethal aid for the rebels who, despite receiving weapons from countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, are poorly armed compared to Syrian Pre ...

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Syrian Opposition Chief Says Offers Assad Peaceful Exit

Damascus - Syrian opposition leader Moaz Alkhatib urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government on Monday to start talks for its departure from power and save the country from greater ruin after almost two years of bloodshed. Seeking to step up pressure on Assad to respond to his offer of talks - which dismayed some in his own opposition coalition, Alkhatib said he would be ready to meet the president ...

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Bashar Al-Assad accuses Israel of destabilising Syria

[caption id="attachment_76" align="alignnone" width="600"] Bashar Assad The Syrian President.[/caption] Damascus - President Bashar al-Assad accused Israel on Sunday of trying to destabilize Syria by attacking a military research base outside Damascus last week, and said Syria was able to confront "current threats ...and aggression", state media said. Assad made the remarks in a meeting with Saeed Jalili, I ...

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Egypt’s Mursi Declares Emergency after Clashes Kill Dozens

Cairo - Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi declared a month-long state of emergency in three cities on the Suez Canal, where dozens of people have been killed in protests that have swept the nation and deepened a political crisis facing the Islamist leader. Hundreds of demonstrators in Port Said, Suez and Ismailia turned out against the decision within moments of Mursi's announcement late on Sunday, which cam ...

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At least 16 die in Egyptian clashes over death sentences

PORT SAID, Egypt/CAIRO  - At least 32 people were killed on Saturday when Egyptians rampaged in protest at the sentencing of 21 people to death over a soccer stadium disaster, violence that compounds a political crisis facing Islamist President Mohamed Mursi. Armored vehicles and military police fanned through the streets of Port Said, where gunshots rang out and protesters burned tires in anger that people ...

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Syria Sends Ground Forces to Try to Seize Sunni Areas of Homs

Damascus - The Syrian army has stepped up an offensive on opposition Sunni Muslim strongholds in the central city of Homs, bringing in ground forces to try to secure passage for its forces through a major road junction, opposition sources said on Friday. Around 15,000 Sunni civilians were trapped on the southern and western edge of the city on Friday near the intersection of Syria's main north-south and eas ...

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Egyptians Clash on Revolution Anniversary

Cairo - Egyptian opposition supporters are gathering in central Cairo to mark two years since the start of the uprising that swept Hosni Mubarak from power. Police clashed with opponents of President Mohammed Morsi who are now converging on Tahrir Square. There are clashes in Alexandria and Suez. In Ismailia protesters set fire to the Muslim Brotherhood's party HQ. Critics accuse Mr Morsi of betraying the r ...

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Assad’s Overthrow “Red Line” For Iran: Supreme Leader’s Aide

[caption id="attachment_76" align="alignnone" width="600"] Bashar Assad The Syrian President.[/caption] DUBAI - A senior aide to Iran's supreme leader warned against the overthrow of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, saying his fate was a "red line", in one of the Islamic state's strongest messages of support for the Damascus government. Iran has steadfastly backed Assad's rule since an uprising against hi ...

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U.S. Says “Disappointed” At Iran’s Failure to Cooperate On Nuke Program

Washington - The United States said on Friday that it was "deeply disappointed" at Iran's failure to accommodate the UN nuclear watchdog over its controversial nuclear program. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland slammed Iran for missing another chance to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) by failing to agree on a structured approach and denying the agency access to its Pa ...

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Air Strike near Damascus Kills 20: Opposition Activists

Damascus - An air strike on a rebel-held town southwest of the Syrian capital Damascus killed 20 people on Monday, resident opposition activists said. An activist living in Moadamiyeh, who asked not to be named, said the dead were members of two families and included women and children. Activist video footage showed images of the limp body of a boy being pulled out from broken concrete, his back covered in ...

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Russia Rejects Assad Exit as Precondition for Syria Deal

Moscow - Russia voiced support on Saturday for international peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi but insisted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's exit cannot be a precondition for a deal to end the country's conflict. A Foreign Ministry statement following talks on Friday with the United States and Brahimi, whom the Syrian government has labeled "flagrantly biased", reiterated calls for an end to violence in Syria, ...

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Russia, U.S. to Meet Syria Envoy Brahimi on Friday

Moscow - Russian and U.S. diplomats plan to hold a meeting with the international mediator for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, on Friday in Geneva, Interfax news agency cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov as saying on Wednesday. Russian and U.S. diplomats held two trilateral meetings last month with Brahimi, who is trying to find a diplomatic solution to end the nearly 22-month-old conflict betwe ...

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Egypt’s President to Meet Palestinian Rivals on Unity

Cairo - Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi plans to meet the leaders of Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah on Wednesday in a renewed effort to help them heal their five-year-old feud, Palestinian and Egyptian officials said. But there was no confirmation President Mahmoud Abbas of the secular Fatah group and Khaled Meshaal of the Islamist Hamas movement would meet face to face, and a unity pact reached in ...

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Iran Leader Warns against Raising Election Doubts

Tehran - Iran's supreme leader says that Iranians should not serve the country's enemies by questioning the fairness of upcoming presidential elections. The remarks by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei quoted Tuesday by state TV also appeared to be a warning to reformists who have in recent weeks stressed that the vote scheduled for June be free. Iran wants to avoid a repeat of the unrest that followed 2009 presidenti ...

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Kurdish Militants Attack Turkish Outpost, 13 Killed

Ankara - Twelve Kurdish militants and one Turkish soldier were killed in clashes along the Turkey-Iraq border after the militants opened fire from inside Iraq on a remote outpost in southeast Turkey, security sources said on Tuesday.The attack coincides with efforts to end a near three-decade insurgency through talks with the jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group. A group of PKK ...

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Syria Crisis: Food Aid ‘Cannot Reach a Million People’

One million Syrians are going hungry and helpless due to the 22-month civil conflict in the country, the UN says. The World Food Program (WFP) says it is helping 1.5 million Syrians, but continued fighting and an inability to use the port of Tartus to deliver food mean many people are not receiving aid. The UN estimates that more than 60,000 people have been killed in the uprising, which began in March 2011 ...

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Iran Backs Assad’s “Peace Plan” For Syria

Tehran - Iran welcomed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's television address, saying he had rejected violence and offered a "comprehensive political process" to end his country's conflict, Iranian media reported on Monday. Assad's speech on Sunday was billed as the unveiling of a new peace plan but the president offered no concessions and dismissed the prospect of negotiations with Syrian opposition groups, ...

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