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Kidnapped Syrians Escape from Families of Arsal Hostages

Eighteen Syrians, who were kidnapped by the relatives of Lebanese soldiers and policemen taken hostage by jihadists, have escaped, the state-run National News Agency reported Tuesday.

NNA said the relatives of the captives abducted the Syrians in Shmestar in Baalbek.

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Report: Nusra Front Demands al-Rahi's Apology over Burning of ISIL Flag

Al-Nusra Front is reportedly demanding Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi to apologize for the burning of an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant flag by youth in Beirut's Ashrafiyeh district.

Sources close to the Muslim Scholars Committee said in comments published in the pan-Arab daily al-Hayat on Tuesday that “the group (al-Nusra Front) will not release the soldiers and policemen without anything in return.”

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Al-Rahi in U.S. Next Week to Attend Conference on Christians

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi is expected to head to the United States on September 8 to participate in a conference on the conditions of Christians in Lebanon and the region.

According to al-Joumhouria newspaper, al-Rahi will travel on Monday to the U.S.

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Army Engages in Overnight Battles with Gunmen on Outskirts of Arsal

Intense clashes erupted between the Lebanese army and gunmen on the outskirts of the northeastern border town of Arsal overnight Monday.

The state-run National News Agency said that rocket fire could be heard in Lebanon's Eastern Mountain Range, in particular, in the Sweid valley.

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HRW Says Alleged Beheading of Sayyed 'War Crime'

Human Right Watch described on Tuesday the alleged beheading of Lebanese army sergeant Ali al-Sayyed as a “war crime.”

The rights group (HRW) considered in a statement “the alleged beheading of al-Sayyed

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Report: Al-Mashnouq a 'Guest of Honor' at GCC Ministers Meeting

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq has been invited to the Gulf Cooperation Council's interior ministers' meeting scheduled to be held in Doha next week, al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Tuesday.

Al-Mashnouq will be the “guest of honor” in the meeting that would also be attended by five cabinet ministers from the GCC countries, the daily said.

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Report: Beirut a Possible Stop in Ban's Regional Tour

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon could include Lebanon in his tour to the region to discuss with Lebanese officials the situation in the country, An Nahar newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The daily said, however, that the issue hasn't been settled yet.

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France and Saudis 'Finalizing' $3bn Arms Deal, Hollande Says Lebanon is 'Vulnerable'

France and Saudi Arabia are close to signing a $3 billion arms deal for Lebanon, the Elysee Palace said Monday following talks between President Francois Hollande and the Saudi crown prince.

"It will not be signed Monday but it is being finalized," an aide to the president said.

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Kataeb Urges Unity against Extremist Threat: Releasing Captive Soldiers Must Be Daily Priority

The Kataeb party expressed on Monday its fears over the spread of Islamist extremism in the region and Lebanon, stressing the need for internal unity to face this threat.

It added after its weekly politburo meeting that the release of captive soldiers and policemen held by Islamists should be a “daily priority.”

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Al-Sayyed's Body Handed Over to MSC, Any Swap 'Won't Involve' Convicts

The Muslim Scholars Committee was on Monday handed over the corpse of Sergeant Ali al-Sayyed who had been reportedly taken hostage by Islamic State militants, as the government seemed inclined to swap non-convicted Roumieh inmates for the security personnel who are still in the captivity of jihadist groups.

Al-Sayyed's body was handed over in the outskirts of the Bekaa border town of Arsal and the Red Cross transfered it to the military hospital in Beirut.

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