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Syria’s Assad Vows to Comply With UN Resolution

Damascus - Syria's president says his government will abide by last week's U.N. resolution calling for the country's chemical weapons program to be dismantled and destroyed. Bashar Assad says in an interview with Italy's RAI News 24 TV "of course we have to comply. This is our history to comply with every treaty we sign." He also says he is willing to discuss a political solution to Syria's crisis, but that ...

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Syrian School Hit in Air Strike, at Least Nine Dead: Monitors

Damascus - At least nine people, most of them students, were killed in an air strike that hit a secondary school in the rebel-held Syrian city of Raqqa on Sunday, activists said. Raqqa in northeastern Syria has been under the control of insurgents fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad since March but the city remains subject to regular aerial bombardment by government forces. Opposition activists based ...

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Iran ‘to Expand Cooperation’ With U.N. Nuclear Watchdog

Tehran - Iran's new atomic energy chief pledged increased cooperation with the U.N. nuclear watchdog on Monday, delivering a conciliatory message ahead of talks between the two sides this month over Tehran's disputed atomic activities. Ali Akbar Salehi also said Iran was optimistic about the outcome of broader diplomatic negotiations with major powers, should the parties enter "with good intention and with ...

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Russia Says May be Time to Force Assad’s Foes to Talk Peace

  Moscow - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday it may be time to consider efforts to force foes of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to attend an international peace conference instead of just urging them to do so. Lavrov also accused European countries of trying to reinterpret the agreement he reached with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry under which Syria is to give up its chemical ...

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Iran, Iraq Parliament Speakers Call for Fostering Ties

Tehran - Iran’s Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani in a meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Osama Al-Nujaifi called on the two countries to enhance ties to establish peace and tranquility in the region. According to IRNA, referring to the terrorist operations in Iraq, he stressed that the Islamic Republic of Iran believes that the terrorist attacks in Iraq are aimed at sowing sectarian discord among different tribe ...

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Obama Says Deal on Chemical Weapons a Plus for All

Washington - President Barack Obama says an agreement between the U.S. and Russia offers a chance to destroy Syria's huge stockpile of chemical weapons and promises to end the threat the weapons pose to the region and the world as well as the Syrian people. Obama says the international community expects Syria to live up to its public commitments to hand over its chemical weapons stockpile. Warning that the ...

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Iran Army Will Counter Any Threat

Tehran - A senior Iranian commander says the Islamic Republic of Iran is keeping a watchful eye on all potential threats against the country. According to Press TV, commander of the Iranian Army’s Ground Forces Brigadier General Ahmad-Reza Pourdastan on Saturday said “The Army is monitoring all threats and is capable of countering any threats in the air and on land and in difficult conditions.” The Iranian ...

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Syrian Warplanes Strike Damascus: Residents

Beirut - Syrian warplanes struck rebel-held suburbs of the capital on Saturday and government forces clashed with insurgents on the frontlines, residents and opposition activists said. "The warplanes are very busy this morning," said a journalist working in central Damascus who asked to remain anonymous for security reasons. Activists said the strikes were focused on Berze, a northeastern part of central Da ...

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U.S., Russia Agree to Deal on Syria Chemical Weapons

Geneva - The United States and Russia have agreed on a proposal to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, Secretary of State John Kerry said on Saturday after nearly three days of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Kerry said that, under the pact, Syria must submit a "comprehensive listing" of its chemical weapons stockpiles within one week. Kerry, at a press conference with Lavrov, sai ...

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China Welcomes Russia’s Proposal for Syria Weapons Handover

Beijing - China said on Tuesday it backed a Russian proposal for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons for destruction, a plan that could avert planned U.S. military strikes in response to the country's suspected use of its arsenal on civilians. U.S. President Barack Obama has argued that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, fighting to continue his family's four-decade rule, must be punished for what Washin ...

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Russia Works On “Concrete” Plan for Control of Syrian Chemical Arms

Moscow - Russia said on Tuesday it was working with Syria on an "effective, clear, concrete" plan to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control with the aim of averting a U.S. strike. Syrian state television quoted Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halki as saying President Bashar al-Assad's government backed the initiative, confirming what his foreign minister had earlier told the speaker of the ...

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Iraq Closes Airport in Second Largest City, no Explanation

Mosul - Iraq closed the international airport in its second largest city Mosul on Tuesday, grounding all flights without giving any explanation, air industry and security sources said. The closure affects flights to and from Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, as well as daily internal flights between the northern city and the capital. "Security forces closed Mosul airport without giving any reason ...

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France Pushes for Tough U.N. Resolution on Syria

Paris - France sought to seize the diplomatic initiative on Syria on Tuesday, saying it would push for a U.N. resolution setting out terms for the destruction of its chemical weapons and warning of "serious consequences" if it resisted. The announcement by French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius came a day after a surprise proposal by Russia that its Syrian ally hand over its chemical weapons stocks, a move ...

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Russia, Syria Urge U.S. Not to Launch Military Strikes

Moscow - Russia and Syria urged the United States on Monday to focus on convening a peace conference to end more than two years of conflict instead of taking military action against Damascus. After talks between the countries' foreign ministers in Moscow, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem suggested a chemical attack which Washington blames on President Bashar al-Assad was a pretext to encourage milit ...

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Kerry: Syrian Handover of All Chemical Arms Could Prevent Attack

London - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Monday Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could avoid a military strike by turning over all his chemical weapons within a week but immediately made clear he was sure that would never happen. When asked by a reporter whether there was anything Assad's government could do or offer to stop any attack, Kerry said: "Sure, he could turn over every single bit of hi ...

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U.N. Nuclear Chief Says ‘Urgent’ for Iran to Address Concerns

Vienna - The U.N. nuclear chief told Iran on Monday it was "essential and urgent" for it to address concerns about suspected atomic bomb research, signaling his hope that the new government in Tehran will stop stonewalling his inspectors. Yukiya Amano was addressing a session of the U.N. agency's 35-nation board, the first since relative moderate Hassan Rouhani took office as Iranian president in early Augu ...

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Islamist Rebels Say They Killed Syria’s Hama Governor

Dubai - The Islamist militant group the Nusra Front has claimed responsibility for the assassination of the governor of Syria's Hama province last month, according to the U.S.-based SITE intelligence monitoring group. The Nusra Front, a Sunni Muslim group linked to al Qaeda, has emerged as one of the most effective organizations fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Syrian state television la ...

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Why Iran’s Watchdogs Hold no Fear for Supreme Leader

Tehran - Iran's Assembly of Experts - ostensibly one of the most powerful institutions in the Islamic Republic - is holding its biannual session in Tehran. The body has the authority to appoint and remove the country's Supreme Leader - a prospect which would naturally lead one to expect to see the Supreme Leader defending his policies before assembly members as they assess his performance on every state-rel ...

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Rocket Attack Kills 15 Militants in Sinai: Egyptian State TV

Cairo - Fifteen militants were killed in the Sinai Peninsula by rocket fire, Egyptian state TV reported on Tuesday, after witnesses said army helicopters had attacked militant strongholds in the area. The state-run Nile TV gave no further details in a brief report. The army helicopters had targeted two villages south of Sheikh Zuweid, a town near the border with Israel and the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. An army ...

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Syrian Forces Capture Strategic Northern Town: Opposition

Beirut - Syrian forces seized the strategic northern town of Ariha on Tuesday, an opposition group said, in a move that would open the supply line between the coastal stronghold and pockets of army control in a region that is largely rebel controlled. Other activists, however, said the battle was not over and that rebels were still fighting the regime in Ariha, located near a major highway in the northern p ...

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