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Top U.N. official Says Europe Must Open Borders, Appeals for more Aid to Help Lebanon

The head of the U.N. refugee agency appealed on Saturday to the international community to boost development aid countries hosting Syrian refugees such as Jordan and Lebanon.

"They are the first line of defense for global collective security and they are pillars, essential pillars, for regional security," Antonio Guterres told The Associated Press at a regional World Economic Forum conference held in Jordan.

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Iraq Sunni Politician Brands Ramadi Pullout 'Shameful'

One of Iraq's leading Sunni Arab politicians, Deputy Prime Minister Saleh Mutlaq, branded as "shameful" Friday the army's chaotic pullout from Anbar provincial capital Ramadi.

Mutlaq, who is himself from the overwhelmingly Sunni province, said the Shiite-led government would discipline officers who had given up the fight as Islamic State jihadists overran the city last Sunday.

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Jordan Rejects Syria Charge of Training 'Terrorists'

Jordan on Tuesday rejected Syrian accusations that "terrorists" were being given military training on its soil, insisting Amman favored a political solution to its neighbor’s conflict.

The Syrian foreign ministry, in a protest letter sent to the United Nations on Monday, alleged Jordan "provides logistical support to armed terrorist groups, including (al-Qaida affiliate) al-Nusra Front".

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Syria Accuses Jordan of Training 'Terrorists'

Syria has accused Jordan of training "terrorists" on its soil and urged the U.N. Security council to force an end to Amman's backing of rebel groups.

The accusation came in a letter sent Monday by the foreign ministry to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the president of the U.N. Security Council, the official news agency SANA said.

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Israel Holds Canadian-Jordanian Businessman For 'Hamas Ties'

A wealthy Canadian-Jordanian businessman, who was invited to the West Bank for an investment conference, has been arrested by Israel and held without legal advice, his lawyer said Monday.

According to Avi BarAm, Ibrahim Siyyam tried to cross from Jordan into the West Bank with a group of businessmen earlier this month but was detained by Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency and questioned without access to a lawyer.

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War-Torn Somalia 'Turning Around', Kerry Says in Landmark Visit

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that war-torn Somalia was facing a better future, as he made a landmark visit as the most senior U.S. official to visit since Washington's doomed military intervention more than two decades ago.

The top U.S. diplomat spent just a few hours in the capital, Mogadishu, and did not venture out of the heavily-fortified airport, where he met Somalia's internationally-backed President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and Prime Minister Omar Abdirashid Ali Sharmake.

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Last Overland Route Closure Chokes Off Exports

Lebanon's land exports to Gulf markets have been choked off, leaving millions of dollars in goods stranded after the closure of a vital crossing on the Syrian-Jordanian border last month.

The Nasib border point was the last remaining gateway for Lebanese truck drivers transporting agricultural and industrial products to Iraq and Gulf countries.

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Tensions Brew in Jordan over Muslim Brotherhood Rift

Jordan's authorization of a breakaway wing of the Muslim Brotherhood has sent tensions soaring between the decades-old organization and the government, accused of exploiting the rift to weaken the kingdom's main opposition force.

In early March, the government gave its consent to the formation of the splinter Brotherhood group, led by a former head of the movement.

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Canada Pledges Funds to Jordan for Refugees, Security

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged Can$122.8 million Wednesday to help Jordan cope with a massive influx of Syrian refugees and boost its counterterrorism capabilities.

Both Canada and Jordan are part of the U.S.-led military mission targeting the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria with airstrikes.

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Week of Fighting in Iraq's Ramadi Kills 30 Police

A week of heavy fighting between security forces and the Islamic State jihadist group in the Ramadi area of Anbar province killed 30 police, a top officer said on Monday.

"The city of Ramadi witnessed heavy confrontations and fighting last week between security forces" and IS, Anbar police chief Staff Major General Kadhim al-Fahdawi said, putting the toll at 30 police killed and 100 wounded.

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