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Syria's Civilian Opposition, Rebels to Coordinate

Syria's civilian opposition and army rebels have agreed to coordinate their struggle against President Bashar Assad's regime, an official said Thursday.

The first meeting between the Syrian National Council and the Free Syrian Army earlier this week in Turkey appeared to mark a change of tack from the SNC's previous reluctance to back the armed struggle.

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Kuwait Frees 24 Held over Parliament Storming

Kuwait's public prosecutor on Thursday ordered the release on bail of 24 youth activists who had been held in detention over the storming of parliament last month, their lawyer said.

"A decision has just been issued to release all the 24 people on a bail of 1,000 dinars ($3,600) each," al-Humaidi al-Subaie, who heads the legal defense team of the activists, told Agence France Presse.

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Rights Groups Urge U.N. to Refer Syria Crackdown to ICC

Amnesty International and rights activists on Wednesday called on the U.N. Security Council to refer the Syrian government's deadly crackdown on protests to the International Criminal Court.

A Syrian activist forced into exile by President Bashar Assad's government said there has to be "regime change" in the country, but with no foreign intervention.

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Amnesty Accuses Saudi of Repression

Amnesty International has accused Saudi Arabia of conducting a campaign of repression against protesters and reformists since the Arab Spring erupted, in a newly published report.

"The last nine months has seen a new wave of repression in Saudi Arabia as authorities have cracked down on protesters and reformists on security grounds," the rights watchdog said in a statement issued late Wednesday.

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'Millions' Deposited in Kuwaiti MP Bank Accounts

Millions of dollars have been deposited suspiciously into the bank accounts of 15 Kuwaiti MPs suspected of money laundering, reports citing informed sources said on Thursday.

The central bank had told prosecutors that bank accounts held by the 15 lawmakers "have received suspicious deposits and the anti-money laundering law applies to them,"al-Jarida newspaper reported.

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Syria Sanctions Target Assad Brother, 16 Other Senior Figures

The brother of Syrian President Bashar Assad, several ministers and telecom magnate Rami Makhlouf are on a list of 17 senior figures to be targeted by Arab League sanctions, officials said Thursday.

Under the economic measures agreed this week by the 22-member organization, they would be banned from travelling in the region and have any assets in Arab countries frozen, if the list is confirmed at a meeting on Saturday.

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Barak: No Iran Strike 'for the Moment’

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday ruled out a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities "for the moment," in remarks to public radio, but said that the Jewish state would keep all options open.

"We have no intention of acting for the moment... We should not engage in war when it is not necessary, but there may come a time or another when we are forced to face tests," Barak said.

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18 Dead in Attacks in Iraq's Diyala

Attacks in Iraq's confessional mixed Diyala province, north of Baghdad, killed 18 people on Thursday, 10 of them in a market bombing in the town of Khalis, medical and security officials said.

The bloodshed came as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was in Iraq to usher in a new phase in relations between Washington and Baghdad nearly nine years after the U.S.-led invasion.

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Clashes in Yemen’s Taez Kill Eight

Clashes between forces loyal to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and dissident tribesmen in the country's second-largest city Taez killed eight people, five of them civilians, on Thursday, medics said.

"Eight people, including five civilians, were killed and 30 wounded," a medic from the city's al-Rawda neighborhoods told Agence France Presse.

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Top Islamic Body Urges Syria to Cooperate with Arab League

Foreign ministers of the world's largest Muslim body urged Syria on Wednesday to cooperate with the Arab League, which imposed unprecedented sanctions on Damascus over its crackdown on months of protests.

Ministers from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) called on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad to "respond to the decisions of the Arab League," according to a statement released at the end of emergency talks on Syria.

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