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Syria army makes fresh gains against rebels

THE LEVANT NEWS — The Syrian army has retaken several areas from terrorist groups in the Arab country gripped by foreign-backed militancy for more than four years. On Tuesday, Syrian army soldiers, backed by fighters from allied popular defense groups, gained control over the town of Burj al-Qasab, located in …

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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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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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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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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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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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Water, Wars and an Uncertain Future

THE LEVANT NEWS – By Sundeep Waslekar* — In December 2009, I met Walid Muallem, Foreign Minister of Syria, in his office in Damascus, along with an eminent British politician. He rolled out before us his vision of peace process with Israel in phases. He had two essential conditions. First, …

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The Water Wars Waged by ISIS

HADITHA DAM, IRAQ

THE LEVANT NEWS — By Ambika Vishwanath for STRATFOR– The Islamic State’s use of natural resources to achieve its strategic goals is nothing new. Oil, one of the group’s biggest sources of funding, plays an especially important role in its calculations — something the countries fighting the Islamic State are …

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