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Q&A: Syria's Assad Sets Sights on Idlib, the Final Showdown?

After eight months of relative calm, Syria's northwestern province of Idlib is once again a theater for bloody military operations: heavy bombardment, airstrikes and waves of civilian displacement as Syrian government troops, backed by Russia, push their way into the rebel-held enclave in a widening offensive.

The violence of the past week threatens to completely unravel a crumbling cease-fire agreement reached between Turkey and Russia at the Black Sea resort of Sochi in September last year, which averted a potentially devastating assault by the Syrian government to retake the province.

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Iran Sends Letters on Partial Withdrawal from Nuclear Deal

Iran has delivered letters to ambassadors outlining its partial withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, state television reported Wednesday, without elaborating on what steps it plans to take.

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Lebanon Stock Trading Suspended over Central Bank Strike

The Beirut Stock Exchange suspended trading on Monday due to an open-ended strike declared by the employees of Lebanon's central bank, adding to the country's economic crisis as the government discusses an austerity budget to avoid an economic crash.

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U.S. Sends Naval Strike Group to Middle East in 'Message' to Iran

The United States is sending an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East in a "clear and unmistakable" message to Iran, National Security Advisor John Bolton said Sunday.

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Baby Wait Goes on for Meghan, Prince Harry and Royal Fans

The baby wait goes on for Meghan, Prince Harry and royal-watchers around the world.

Media and well-wishers were camped out in Windsor on Saturday — as they have been for days — awaiting the birth of the couple's first child.

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U.S. Still Pondering Military Options in Venezuela

The Trump administration ended a week of pointed but vague threats of a military response to the Venezuelan political crisis with a meeting at the Pentagon to consider its options, though there was still no sign any action was on the horizon.

Shortly after Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and other senior officials reviewed options in light of a failed effort earlier this week by Venezuelan opposition leaders to fuel an uprising, President Donald Trump said he discussed the situation with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Plane with 143 Aboard Crashes into Florida River, No Deaths

A charter plane carrying 143 people and traveling from Cuba to north Florida ended up in a river at the end of a runway Friday night, though no critical injuries or deaths were reported, officials said.

A Boeing 737 arriving at Naval Air Station Jacksonville from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with 136 passengers and seven aircrew slid off the runway into the St. Johns River, a NAS Jacksonville news release said.

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Syrian Government Has Few Options to Battle Fuel Sanctions

The Syrian government is scrambling to deal with its worst fuel crisis since the war began in 2011, aggravated by U.S. sanctions targeting oil shipments to Damascus.

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Cabinet Resumes Discussing Austerity Budget at Grand Serail

Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Wednesday chaired a Cabinet meeting at the Grand Serail dedicated to resume discussions to approve the country's draft austerity budget.

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UN Envoy Optimistic of Syria Constitution Committee Soon

The U.N. special envoy for Syria said Tuesday that he is "optimistic" an agreement can be reached on the long-sought formation of a committee to draft a new constitution for the war-torn country so it can meet this summer.

Geir Pederson told reporters after briefing the Security Council that he based his optimism on the "intensive" and "very good" dialogue he has had with the Syrian government and opposition — as well as "tangible progress," including on the committee's rules of procedure and composition.

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