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Assad: No Iran Bases in Syria, Premature to Talk of Hizbullah Withdrawal

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said Wednesday that it is “premature” to talk about the possibility of Hizbullah's withdrawal from Syria.

“Hizbullah is an essential element in this war and the battle is long and the need for these military forces will continue for a long time,” Assad told Iran's al-Alam TV when asked whether Damascus has asked Hizbullah to pull its forces out of the country.

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Woman Killed as Floods Wreak Havoc in Bekaa Border Towns

A woman was killed on Wednesday as flash floods invaded the Bekaa border towns of Ras Baalbek and al-Qaa.

The floods came from the Eastern Mountain Range according to the National News Agency.

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STL Reschedules Filing of Final Briefs, Oral Closing Arguments

The Trial Chamber of the U.N.-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon has ordered the Prosecutor and the Legal Representatives of Victims in the Ayyash et al. case to file their final trial briefs by Monday 16 July 2018 and the Defense counsel for the four Accused by 13 August 2018, the STL said on Wednesday.

In a revised scheduling order issued Tuesday, the Trial Chamber stated that it will hear oral closing arguments from the parties and participating victims in the weeks of Monday 27 August to Friday 7 September 2018.

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Hariri Asks Putin to Help in Returning Refugees to Syria

Prime Minister-designate Saad Hariri held talks Wednesday at the Kremlin with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The one-hour meeting tackled the various developments in Lebanon and the region and the ties between the two countries,” Hariri's office said.

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Geagea Says Bassil Attacking LF for Impeding 'Power Ships Deal'

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea has lashed out at Free Patriotic Movement chief MP Jebran Bassil, saying the latter is “attacking” the LF's ministers in connection with their role in blocking what he called the “power ships deal.”

“If you want to know the motive behind Bassil's attack on the LF's ministers, from health to social affairs, look for the power ships deal. The more we stand our ground in the face of the shady deal, the more the campaigns against us increase,” Geagea said in an interview with al-Markazia news agency.

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Richard Vows Continued Aid as U.S. Delivers 4 Aircraft to LAF

The United States has delivered four A-29 Super Tucano aircraft to the Lebanese Army at the Hamat Air Base, the U.S. embassy said on Wednesday.

“It is just great to be back at Hamat Air Base to mark another milestone in the remarkable development of the Lebanese Armed Forces as one of the most capable militaries in this region,” U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Elizabeth Richard said in a speech at the air base.

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Bassil: U.N. Policy Forbids Refugees’ Return, Lebanese Policy Encourages It

After a controversial decision that Lebanon will freeze residency permits for U.N. refugee staff, caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil visited the refugee-crowded town of Arsal where he stressed the need for “safe and rapid return” of Syrian refugees.

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Report: Investigation Reveals 40 ‘Non-Eligible’ Individuals for Lebanese Nationality

The names of 40 individuals included in a controversial naturalization decree have been proven “unqualified to be granted the Lebanese nationality,” MTV channel said on Wednesday.

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Report: Aoun Rejects FPM, President Cabinet's Share Proposed by Hariri

President Michel has reportedly refused a Cabinet lineup draft allocating nine ministerial portfolios instead of ten as a joint share between the Free Patriotic Movement and the president, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Wednesday.

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Bassil Says Important to Preserve FPM-Hizbullah 'Strategic' Alliance

Free Patriotic Movement chief and caretaker Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil on Tuesday called for preserving his movement's “strategic agreement” with Hizbullah.

“We maybe parted ways with Hizbullah democratically in the latest elections, but we preserved our strategic agreement and what's most important is the continuation of this agreement,” Bassil said during an iftar banquet in the Jbeil town of Almat.

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