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Lavrov Warns Strikes on Syria Would Destabilize Region, Rejects U.S. Arguments

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned against a military solution to the Syria conflict, saying it would destabilize the country and the Middle East region, the foreign ministry said Wednesday.

In a telephone conversation with U.N.-Arab League Syria envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, Lavrov "emphasized the lack of alternative to a diplomatic solution and that attempts for a military solution will lead only to a further destabilization of the situation in the country and the region," the ministry said.

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Hagel: No U.S. Plans to Cut off Egypt Military Aid Yet

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said on Wednesday that he opposes cutting off U.S. military aid to Egypt but vowed Washington would keep pressing for "reconciliation" in the country.

The United States earlier this month condemned Egyptian security forces for firing on protesters backing ousted president Mohammed Morsi, in a crackdown that left nearly 1,000 people dead.

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Lawmakers Urge Obama to Seek Congressional OK on Syria

Dozens of U.S. lawmakers are calling on President Barack Obama to consult with Congress and gain its approval before intervening militarily in Syria.

The United States is poised to launch a military strike on Syria in coming days after determining that President Bashar Assad's regime used chemical weapons during an attack outside Damascus last week which killed hundreds of civilians.

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Foreign Policy: U.S. Intel Heard Syrian Army on Chemical Weapons

U.S. intelligence services overheard a Syrian defense ministry official in "panicked phone calls with the leader of a chemical weapons unit" after last week's deadly chemical attack, Foreign Policy magazine reported Tuesday.

"Last Wednesday, in the hours after a horrific chemical attack east of Damascus, an official at the Syrian Ministry of Defense exchanged panicked phone calls with leader of a chemical weapons unit, demanding answers for a nerve agent strike that killed more than 1,000 people," the report said.

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Canada Agrees, No Doubt Syria Launched Gas Attack

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper agrees with the White House, that the Syrian government launched last week's devastating chemical weapons attack, his office said Tuesday.

Harper made it clear to U.S. President Barack Obama in a telephone chat that he "shares the view that the recent chemical weapons attack was carried out by the Syrian regime," said a readout of their conversation.

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Pre-Trial of Gadhafi's Son Next Month in Tripoli

The case against Seif al-Islam, son of slain Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, will be presented to a court in Tripoli on September 19, Libya's public prosecutor announced Tuesday.

"The prosecutor's office has decided to try 30 people linked to the former regime, including Seif al-Islam Gadhafi (and former spy chief) Abdullah al-Senussi," Abdelkader Radouan said.

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Iraq Attacks Kill Nine as Violence Spikes

Attacks in Iraq on Tuesday killed nine people, including at least five who died in twin bombings targeting the home of a tribal leader, the latest in spiraling violence.

In the deadliest attack, two bombs went off in short succession near the home of a tribal leader just southeast of Baghdad.

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France's Hollande to Meet Head of Syrian National Coalition

French President Francois Hollande will meet with the head of Syria's main opposition group on Thursday, the presidency announced Tuesday.

The talks with Ahmad al-Jarba will take place just over a week after an alleged deadly chemical attack took place in the suburbs of Damascus, prompting increasingly strident calls for action against the Syrian regime.

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Experts: Punitive U.S. Strike on Syria Not Enough

A punitive salvo of U.S. cruise missiles of the kind being contemplated in Washington will do little to bring Bashar Assad's chemical-armed Syrian regime to heel, experts warn.

U.S. warships are on standby in the eastern Mediterranean to unleash a barrage of guided weapons if President Barack Obama decides to respond to Assad's alleged use of chemical weapons against Syrian civilians.

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White House Says No Doubt Syria Launched Gas Attack

The United States Tuesday pledged to release its intelligence findings into the Syria chemical attack this week, but said it was "preposterous" that anybody would blame anyone other than the Assad regime.

Underlining signals that an expected U.S. military action would be of limited scope, the White House said it was not seeking to bring about "regime change" in Syria and refused to say whether it would seek a U.N. mandate to strike.

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