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Derbas Denies Assistance Has Stopped for Syrian Refugees

Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas has denied that aid for Syrian refugees was cut because of obstacles placed by the Lebanese government.

“The assistance provided by the UNHCR (the U.N. refugee agency) has not stopped and Lebanon does not interfere in it,” Derbas told An Nahar newspaper published on Monday.

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Hizbullah Fighters Escort Journalists on Tour of Qalamoun Mountains

In the pockets of the rugged mountains near the Lebanese border, the distinctive yellow flag of Hizbullah now flies where al-Qaida militants once held sway.

These gains in the Qalamoun Mountains represent a bright spot for embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad's government, now reeling from a unified insurgent assault in the country's northwest. And again, they show the influence of the Lebanese group in Syria's civil war, grinding on into its fifth year after more than 220,000 people were killed.

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Northern Young Man Killed Fighting alongside IS

A young man who hails from northern Lebanon has been killed fighting alongside the Islamic State jihadist group, according to media reports.

“Raed Khaled Taleb, aka Abu Anas al-Lobnani, has been killed in Iraq while fighting alongside the Islamic State,” As Safir newspaper reported on Sunday.

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Al-Rahi Hopes Officials Would 'Freely' Elect New President

Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi lamented on Sunday the ongoing vacancy in the presidency, urging officials to perform their constitutional duties to stage the presidential elections.

He hoped during his Sunday sermon that lawmakers would “bravely arm themselves with the freedom of choice and opinion” in electing a candidate.

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Salam from Higher Islamic Council Elections: We Fear for Fate of Moderation in Lebanon

Prime Minister Tammam Salam emphasized on Sunday the role of Sunni and Muslim unity in confronting potential dangers facing Lebanon, while stressing the importance of moderation in the country.

He said: “We fear for the fate of moderation and centrism in Lebanon as we depend on them in our political practices.”

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Arsal Municipal Chief Says Hizbullah's Qalamoun Battle Has Not Reached Town

Municipal chief of Arsal Ali al-Hujeiri stressed that the battles between Hizbullah and the Syrian regime against opposition groups have not reached the northeastern border town, reported the Kuwaiti daily al-Anba on Sunday.

He told the daily: “Hizbullah does not have any fighters in Ras Baalbek or on the outskirts of Arsal.”

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Report: FPM to Suspend Participation in Cabinet over Security Appointments Dispute

MP Michel Aoun's Free Patriotic Movement ministers have reportedly decided to suspend their participation over the dispute over security appointments, reported the Kuwaiti al-Anba daily on Sunday.

Sources told the daily that the FPM took this decision after reaching a dead end with the Mustaqbal bloc over security and military appointments.

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Rifi Says Arsal Hostages Deal in 'Final Phase', Kidnappers Procrastinate over Financial Conditions

Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi stated on Saturday after meeting families of the Arsal captives that part of the thorny file could be heading towards the final stages of a solution, in light of reports that the kidnappers are trying to benefit financially from a set of new conditions before closing the deal.

“The efforts exerted to solve this file are immense, and part of the file could be heading towards the final stages of a solution,” said Rifi.

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Salam Meets Prominent Security Officials, Discuss Developments

Prime Minister Tammam Salam chaired on Saturday a meeting that was attended by high-ranking security officials to discuss the latest security developments in the country.

Media reports described the meeting as “positive.”

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Female Dentist Briefly Kidnapped in Wadi Hmeid

Dentist Huda Karkaba, who was kidnapped on Saturday morning by masked gunmen in the Wadi Hmeid area of the northeastern border town of Arsal, was released the same day, the National News Agency reported on Saturday.

Dr. Karkaba was with her husband, Abdul Karim Youssef Zaarour, when she was kidnapped, said NNA.

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