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Syria Conflict: Children ‘Targeted by Snipers’

Damascus - More than 11,000 children have died in Syria's civil war in nearly three years, including hundreds targeted by snipers, a new report says.  Summary executions and torture have also been used against children as young as one, the London-based Oxford Research Group think tank says. The report says the majority of children have been killed by bombs or shells in their own neighbourhoods. It wants fig ...

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Bombs Kill Nine and Wound 54 in Northern Iraq

Baghdad - A car bomb and a suicide bomber killed at least nine people and wounded 54 in northern Iraq on Saturday, police and medical sources said, in the latest of a wave of attacks in crowded public places. The bombings took place in the town of Tuz Khurmato, 170 km (100 miles) north of the capital Baghdad, in a region which both the central government and autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan claim as theirs. The f ...

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Syrian Kurds’ Military Gains Stir Unease

Damascus - With a string of military gains across northeastern Syria, a Kurdish militia is solidifying a geographic and political presence in the war-torn country, posing a dilemma for regional powers. Long oppressed under Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his father before him, Kurds view the civil war as an opportunity to gain the kind of autonomy enjoyed by their ethnic kin in neighboring Iraq. But th ...

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Syria Opposition Accepts Peace Talks, Says Assad Must Go

Damascus - Syria's Western-backed opposition agreed on Monday to attend planned peace talks in Geneva but said President Bashar al-Assad could play no part in a transitional government aimed at ending the 2-1/2-year-old civil war. The Syrian National Coalition also demanded the release of women and children from Syrian jails and an easing of military sieges of rebel-held areas as a precondition for going to ...

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Rouhani Says Iran Rejects Threats, Cites Red Lines in Nuclear Talks

Geneva - President Hassan Rouhani, architect of Iran's diplomatic opening to big powers, said on Sunday it would not yield to any threats or discrimination in an apparent bid to keep hardliners on side as Tehran edges toward a deal on its nuclear program. He was speaking to the Iranian parliament, a bastion of conservatives, a day after the Islamic Republic and the six powers narrowed differences at talks i ...

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Journalists in Syria Face Growing Risk of Kidnap

Beirut - Behind a veil of secrecy, at least 30 journalists have been kidnapped or have disappeared in Syria - held and threatened with death by extremists or taken captive by gangs seeking ransom. The widespread seizure of journalists is unprecedented, and has been largely unreported by news organizations in the hope that keeping the kidnappings out of public view may help to negotiate the captives' release ...

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Syrian Opposition Wants Rebel Backing for Geneva Talks

Demacus - Syria's opposition is edging towards agreeing to international peace talks in Geneva but wants approval from fighters inside the country first to give the process more legitimacy, sources at talks in Istanbul said late on Saturday. The leadership of the Syrian National Coalition is meeting to agree its stance on the so-called "Geneva 2" talks, which aim to end Syria's two-and-a-half year civil war ...

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Iran, Powers Extend Talks to Clinch Elusive Nuclear Deal

Geneva - Iran and six world powers extended high-stakes talks over Tehran's nuclear program into an unscheduled third day on Saturday, as their top diplomats labored to hammer out a long-sought deal to end a decade-old standoff. The United States and Iran were cautious and tight-lipped after a five-hour trilateral meeting between their foreign ministers and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Asht ...

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U.N. Nuclear Chief Expected to Visit Iran Next Week: State TV

Tehran - U.N. nuclear agency Chief Yukiya Amano is expected to visit Tehran on November 11, Iranian state television said on Tuesday, a possible sign of progress in a long-stalled investigation into suspected nuclear arms research by Tehran. After years of worsening confrontation with the West, Iran has switched to a conciliatory mode - entailing diplomacy in search of a peaceful solution to its disputed nu ...

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Syria Talks Under Way, Damascus Insists Assad Will Stay

Damascus - Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met U.S. and Russian officials on Tuesday to discuss convening long-delayed Syrian peace talks this year despite disputes over President Bashar al-Assad's future and whether his ally Iran can attend. Hours earlier, Damascus reiterated that Assad will stay in power come what may, casting doubt on the political transition that is the main focus of the proposed "Geneva 2" confe ...

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Iran Revolutionary Guards Commander Killed in Syria

Tehran - A commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards has been killed in Syria after volunteering to defend a Shi'ite shrine in Damascus, the Iranian Mehr news agency said on Monday. Commander Mohammad Jamalizadeh of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the southeastern province of Kerman was killed in the last few days by "Wahhabi terrorists", the agency said, giving no more details. The report co ...

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Overnight Shelling Takes Death Toll in North Yemen to 100, Say Salafis

Sana’a - Overnight shelling has taken the death toll from fighting between rival Shi'ite and Sunni Muslim groups in a northern town in Yemen to at least 100 people, a spokesman for one of the groups said on Monday. Sectarian fighting in the town of Damaj has cast a shadow over national reconciliation efforts in Yemen, a neighbor of oil exporter Saudi Arabia and home to one of al Qaeda's most active wings wh ...

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Arab League Backs Syria Peace Talks, Urges Opposition to Go

Damascus - Arab states formally endorsed proposed peace talks to end the Syrian civil war that have been delayed by disputes between world powers and divisions among the opposition. A final communiqué after an emergency meeting of Arab League foreign ministers on Sunday called on the opposition swiftly to form a delegation under the leadership of the mainstream Syrian National Coalition, to attend the "Gene ...

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Iranian Official: Nuclear Talks Need New Approach

Istanbul - Iran's foreign minister said Friday that both Iran and the West need a new approach if negotiations on Iran's nuclear program are to succeed. Mohammad Javad Zarif said at a conference on disarmament in Istanbul that a decade of failed negotiations has led to consequences neither side wanted. To Western dismay, Iran has drastically boosted its ability to enrich uranium. To Iran's detriment, intern ...

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Obama and Maliki Discuss ‘More Active’ al-Qaeda in Iraq

Washington - US President Barack Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki have discussed how to counter a "more active" al-Qaeda in the country. But following talks at the White House, nearly two years after the last US soldier left Iraq, Mr Obama did not unveil any new offer of military aid. He stressed the importance of an inclusive and democratic Iraq. Mr Maliki's visit to Washington DC, his first sin ...

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Chemical Weapons Watchdog to Send more Inspectors to Syria

  Damascus - The global chemical weapons watchdog said on Tuesday it would send more inspectors to Syria to help destroy President Bashar al-Assad's stockpile of toxic munitions.Assad's government, fighting a civil war in which more than 100,000 people have died, agreed to destroy the arms after a sarin gas attack on the outskirts of Damascus killed hundreds of people in August. The head of the Hague-b ...

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Syria Submits Further Details of its Chemical Arms Program

Damascus - Syria has given international experts additional details about its chemical weapons program that go beyond a September 21 declaration of its poison gas arsenal, the United Nations said on Friday. The team consists of experts from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague, Netherlands, with help from U.N. personnel. Last week, the U.N. Security Council demanded the elim ...

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More Than 115,000 Killed in Syrian Conflict: Monitoring Group

Damascus -      More than 115,000 people have been killed in Syria's two-and-a-half-year-old civil war, including tens of thousands of soldiers, rebels and civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday. The figure suggested that around 5,000 people had died in September alone and that the bloodshed has not been slowed by an international deal for the elimination of Syria's chemical weap ...

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Chemical Weapons Inspectors Cross into Syria

Damascus - An advance group of international inspectors arrived in Syria on Tuesday to begin the ambitious task of overseeing the destruction of President Bashar Assad's chemical weapons program. Twenty inspectors from a Netherlands-based chemical weapons watchdog crossed into Syria from neighboring Lebanon on their way to Damascus, to begin their complex mission of finding, dismantling and ultimately destr ...

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UN: Nearly 1,000 Iraqis Killed in September

Baghdad- Nearly 1,000 Iraqis were killed in September, one of the highest monthly death tolls in years, the U.N. said Tuesday, giving a somber figure that reflects the militants' determination to rekindle large-scale sectarian conflict. Iraq is going through its worst surge in violence since 2008, with near-daily militant attacks and relentless bombings blamed on hard-line Sunni insurgents. The surge follow ...

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