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US encouraged coup againt Assad in 2011: WSJ

THE LEVANT NEWS — WASHINGTON: U.S. officials held secret communications with members of President Bashar Assad’s government to try to limit violence in Syria, and explored ways to encourage a military coup in 2011 as the civil war got under way, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. American intelligence officials …

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Families of ISIS fighters to leave south Damascus in UN deal

BEIRUT: Hundreds of families of ISIS militants and some wounded fighters are expected to leave rebel-held areas in southern Damascus under a U.N.-brokered deal, activists said on Thursday. Rami Abdulraham, head of the U.K.-based Observatory for Human Rights, said safe passage would be given from the Palestinian refugee camp of …

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Syrian government ready to join UN talks to end conflict

THE LEVANT NEWS — A close adviser to Syrian President Bashar Assad said Wednesday Damascus was ready to join U.N.-sponsored peace talks with its position bolstered by both Russian backing and the West’s retreat from a hardline anti-Assad approach. Bouthaina Shaaban said her government approved of U.N. resolutions passed last …

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Algeria: opposition figure Hussein Ait-Ahmed dies

THE LEVANT NEWS — ALGIERS: Hocine Ait-Ahmed, one of the fathers of Algeria’s struggle for independence from France and then a longtime opposition figure, died in Lausanne, Switzerland Wednesday, his Socialist Forces Front party said. Ait-Ahmed, 89, was the last of the nine so-called “sons of Toussaint,” who launched the …

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Lebanon: Hostage families warn of escalation

THE LEVANT NEWS — BEIRUT: Families of the nine Lebanese soldiers still being held captive by ISIS have warned of escalatory measures in order to pressure the government into negotiating for their release, a relative of one of the soldiers said Wednesday. “Our aim is to see the return of …

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Somalia no longer a failed state: UN

THE LEVANT NEWS — Somalia is no longer a failed state but a recovering fragile country, the top UN official for war-torn Somalia has said. In the last three years the country has stabilised but there is still a lot of work to do, Nicholas Kay, the outgoing representative for …

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Iraqi troops storm into Ramadi

THE LEVANT NEWS — Iraq’s armed forces stormed the center of Ramadi on Tuesday, a spokesman for the counter-terrorism units said, in a drive to dislodge Islamic State militants from their remaining stronghold in a city they captured in May. The operation to recapture Ramadi, a Sunni Muslim city on …

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Hezbollah Holds Massive Funeral for ٍٍSamir Kuntar

Hezbollah held on Monday a massive funeral for the Dean of the Liberated detainees in Israeli prisons martyr Samir Kuntar who embraced martyrdom in the Israeli air raid on Syria’s city of Jaramana, in the southern suburb of Beirut. The head of Hezbollah Executive Council, Sayyed Hashem Safieddine, led the …

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No sign of peace for Turkey’s Kurds after Erdogan victory

THE LEVANT NEWS — SILVAN, TURKEY:  BY AYLA JEAN YACKLEY for Reuters — The shepherd’s widow no longer asks God for peace. Like many Kurds in Turkey’s southeast, Sevgi Gezici, 22, believed President Tayyip Erdogan might relent in a clampdown against Kurdish militants after his party won back its majority in …

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Miss Universe: Miss Colombia mistakenly crowned as winner

THE LEVANT NEWS — The host of the Miss Universe has apologised after mistakenly naming the wrong woman as winner, leaving Miss Colombia empty-handed. After the error, Ariadna Gutierrez was instead declared runner-up and surrendered her crown to Miss Philippines, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach. #MissUniverse2015 became Twitter’s biggest trend of the …

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Lebanon: Questions About Trash Export Deal

THE LEVANT NEWS — BY Philip Issa for The Daily Star –BEIRUT: The Free Patriotic Movement has promised to raise sharp questions about exporting trash at Monday’s Cabinet session, where the 5-month-old trash crisis will be the only item on the agenda. Ministers will consider a decision to authorize exports, …

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Syrian army makes strategic gains in north

THE LEVANT NEWS — The Syrian army, backed by Russian airstrikes, captured a rebel stronghold in the northern province of Aleppo Sunday, as rescue workers and residents said suspect Russian warplanes killed scores of people in the center of rebel-held city of Idlib. State news agency SANA said that army …

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Hezbollah vows to avenge Kuntar

THE LEVANT NEWS — BY Hussein Dakroub for The Daily Star –The killing of Hezbollah commander Samir Kuntar in an Israeli airstrike near Damascus will likely trigger a Hezbollah retaliation against the Jewish state, security sources said Sunday, in a tit-for-tat development that could ignite hostilities in the volatile border …

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Syria war: Third of rebels share IS aims, report claims

THE LEVANT NEWS — About a third of rebel groups in Syria – some 100,000 fighters – share the ideology of so-called Islamic State (IS), new research suggests. The Centre on Religion and Geopolitics, linked to former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, said defeating IS militarily “would not end global …

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Lebanese condemn deadly Israeli raid

THE LEVANT NEWS — BEIRUT: Lebanon Political leaders and parties Sunday condemned an Israeli air raid on a residential building in Syria that killed a former Lebanese prisoner who was released as part of a 2008 swap deal between Israel and Hezbollah. Hezbollah’s Al-Manar television channel said Samir Kuntar was …

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Fidel Castro in funny fotoshoped pictures

THE LEVANT NEWS — In 2006 Fidel Castro had announced  his official resignation as President of Cuba and commander-in-chief after almost 50 years in power. His  brother Raul has continued running the country. To say our goodbye to Fidel Castro after some 50 years, Freakingnews site has photoshoped him in funny …

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Iran will keep backing Assad government

THE LEVANT NEWS — TEHRAN: Iran will maintain its backing for the Syrian government, a senior Iranian official said, after the U.N. Security Council unanimously endorsed a plan to end the war. “We will continue to give our support to Syria,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian. Iran will …

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Lebanese fighting with ISIS killed in Syria

THE LEVANT NEWS — BEIRUT: A Lebanese national fighting alongside ISIS in Syria was said to be killed in the neighboring country, media reports said Saturday. “Louay Al-Rifai, from the neighborhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh in the northern city of Tripoli, was killed in battles in Syria,” reported Facebook page Bab …

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Erdogan meets Hamas leader in Istanbul

THE LEVANT NEWS — ISTANBUL: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan met with Khaled Meshaal, leader of Palestinian militant group Hamas, on Saturday in Istanbul, Turkish presidential sources said, a day after Israel and Turkey said they were close to patching up five-year political rift. A source from Erdogan’s office said Meshaal …

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Lebanon: Questioning Yaacoub for his “involvement” in Hannibal Gadhafi kidnapping

THE LEVANT NEWS — BEIRUT: The Internal Security Forces’ Information Branch Saturday referred former Lebanese MP Hasan Yaacoub to Mount Lebanon’s First Investigative Judge Jean Fernini for his alleged involvement in last week’s Hannibal Gadhafi kidnapping, the state-run National News Agency reported Saturday. The security agency wrapped up investigations with …

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ISIS ’emir’ for north Lebanon arrested

THE LEVANT NEWS — BEIRUT: Lebanese General Security said Saturday that it has arrested two members of ISIS, one of whom confessed to being the extremist group’s official “emir” for the north Lebanon district of Akkar. The two, identified as B.F. and Aa.M., were arrested on charges of “forming a …

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Hizbullah and Al-Qaeda: Friends or foes?

NOTE: THIS IS ARTICLE HAS BEEN WRITTEN IN AUG 20, 2014 AND PUBLISHED IN THE DAILY STAR BUT THE SYRIAN WAR HAS PROVEN ITS APPROACH. http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Opinion/Commentary/2004/Aug-20/93887-hizbullah-and-al-qaeda-friends-or-foes.ashx THE LEVANT NEWS — By Dr. Haytham Mouzahem – The final report of the Sept. 11 Commission in the US argued that Al-Qaeda had …

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