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Hizbullah, Syrian Army Take Control of New Hilltop in Qalamoun

Hizbullah backed by the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad allegedly captured Saturday a new site in al-Qalamoun battle.

Fighters reportedly seized Sadr al-Bustan hilltop, inflicting casualties among the ranks of jihadists, Hizbullah's mouthpiece al-Manar said.

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Arsal Municipal Chief Fears Fate of Town, Warns of Dragging it into Battle

Arsal municipal chief Ali al-Hujairi expressed concern Saturday over attempts by Hizbullah and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to drag the northeastern border town into battle.

“They are trying to pull Arsal into a dark tunnel of blood and fire,” Hujairi said in comments published in the Kuwaiti al-Anbaa newspaper.

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Berri on Electing a President: 'I See no Light on Horizon'

Speaker Nabih Berri lamented the lawmakers' failure to fill the vacuum at the top state post in the country saying that he “still does not see light on the horizon.”

“Leaving the democratic game is what brought us to this end. Its a pity that the parliament held two dozen sessions to elect a president (and failed) and I still do not see light on the horizon,” Berri told al-Mustaqbal daily in comments, expressing regret and sorrow.

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Aoun Says FPM Seeking to End Presidential Vacuum: A Matter of Existence

Change and Reform bloc MP Alain Aoun stressed Saturday that Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun's presidential initiative is set to reach a mechanism that ends the vacuum at the Baabda Palace.

“We are seeking solutions... the core of the problem is Christian and not linked to a person... it's a matter of rights,” Aoun said in an interview with An Nahar newspaper.

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Release of Nusra-Taken Captives Reaches Crucial Moment

The release of captives taken hostage by the al-Qaida-affiliate al-Nusra Front reached zero hour as the Lebanese state is carrying out the necessary measures to conduct a prisoners swap deal with the group.

Judicial sources told al-Mustaqbal newspaper published Saturday that the state is “preparing the files of several inmates” who will be released in exchange for the abducted servicemen.

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Regional Conflicts Impeding Presidential Elections

Every few weeks for the past year, Lebanon's parliament has met, exchanged pleasantries, and made the same announcement: that it has again been unable to elect a president.

Pluralistic but divided Lebanon has now been without a head of state for 12 months, the longest time the post has been vacant since the devastating civil war ended in 1990.

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Hariri Deplores Qatif Attack, Says It Serves Interests of 'Iran-backed Militias'

Al-Mustaqbal movement leader ex-PM Saad Hariri on Friday condemned as “terrorist” the suicide bombing that rocked a Shiite mosque in the eastern Saudi region of Qatif, noting that it is aimed at “stirring sedition” and that it serves the interests of Yemen's Huthi rebels and other Iran-backed “militias.”

“The objectives of this criminal attack are obvious, because it is part of a vicious cycle seeking to stir sedition among the sons of the kingdom and to jeopardize its stability,” Hariri said in a statement.

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Hizbullah Holds Riyadh Responsible for Qatif Shiite Mosque Blast

Hizbullah on Friday held Saudi authorities “responsible” for a deadly suicide bombing that rocked a Shiite mosque in the kingdom's east, accusing Riyadh of “negligence” and “incitement.”

“We hold Saudi authorities fully responsible for this heinous crime, due to its sponsorship, embracement and support for the criminal murderers at the ideological, journalistic, political, material and operational levels … and due to its negligence in providing protection to its citizens who live in the Eastern Province and its incitement against them,” Hizbullah's media department said in a statement.

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Change and Reform Concludes Presidential Initiative Tour

Change and Reform lawmakers finished Friday a tour the bloc kicked off earlier this week to garner support for Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun's initiative to end the lingering presidential crisis.

“The Christian voice isn't being heard... despite its importance” to end the presidential crisis, MP Simon Abi Ramia said after talks with Lebanese Democratic Party leader Talal Arslan at his residence.

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Mustaqbal Slams Raad's 'Aggression,' Says Hizbullah will be Held Accountable

Al-Mustaqbal bloc described on Friday alleged threats by Hizbullah MP Mohammed Raad against the movement's officials as an “aggression on civil peace,” saying they were a reflection of “terrorism” proliferating in the Middle East because of the party's main backer Iran.

Raad's threat to al-Mustaqbal Secretary General Ahmed Hariri and Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi, “which is assault on civil peace, is the other face of the extremist and terrorist movements that are proliferating in the region because of the way Iran behaves and orders its followers,” the bloc said in a statement.

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