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96 Dead, Including 41 Troops, as Syria Rebels Go on Attack and Protesters March

The army took a pounding at the hands of rebels in northern Syria, a watchdog said on Friday, as tensions between Damascus and Ankara escalated over cargo seized from a Syrian passenger plane.

A rebel offensive killed more than 130 soldiers in two days, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

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Nasrallah Admits Sending Drone over Israel, Says Fighters Killed Defending Lebanese-Inhabited Syrian Towns

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Thursday acknowledged that his group sent a sophisticated unmanned drone over Israel last week, saying the device was built by the Jewish state's arch-foe Iran, while denying reports that Hizbullah was fighting alongside the Syrian regime.

Nasrallah's acknowledgment of the drone which Israel shot down on October 6 came shortly after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed at Hizbullah and vowed to defend his country against further "threats."

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Nasrallah to Make Televised Address Thursday on Latest Developments

Hizbullah Chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah will have a televised appearance on Thursday to discuss current issues on the Lebanese and regional scenes, including rumors of a Lebanese drone crossing into Israeli airspace.

Al-Manar TV reported on Wednesday that Nasrallah will speak at 8:30 p.m. to tackle the latest developments regarding his party's alleged involvement in Syria's events.

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Aoun Slams Christian Foes over Electoral Law Delay, Accuses Them of Harming Christians

Free Patriotic Movement leader MP Michel Aoun on Tuesday complained that “no progress has been made concerning the electoral law” under which the 2013 parliamentary polls will be held, blaming his Christian rivals, the Lebanese Forces and the Phalange Party, for the delay.

“I hold responsible those who are rejecting the laws proposed by the Orthodox Gathering and the government, because they are obstructing justice, especially the LF and the Phalange Party. Their stance is a commodity for sale and they are claiming to be defending the rights of Christians,” said Aoun after the weekly meeting of the Change and Reform parliamentary bloc.

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Erdogan Again Warns Syria as Army Chief Visits Troops on Border

Turkey warned Syria again on Tuesday that it would not hesitate to retaliate for any strike on its soil as the country's top military commander visited troops stationed at the reinforced border.

"It has become inevitable for our armed forces to retaliate in kind... as the Syrian administration maintains its aggressive position," Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told lawmakers from his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

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Hizbullah Buries Fighter Killed in 'Syria Border Area'

More than 2,000 Hizbullah supporters gathered in the Bekaa Valley on Monday to bury one of their fighters who a security source said was killed in the border area with Syria.

Hussein Abdul Ghani al-Nimr, 35, "died while he was performing his jihadist duty," said a Hizbullah spokesman from the eastern city of Baalbek.

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Jumblat Calls for Reconsidering Officials' Salaries, Reform in Public Administration

Progressive Socialist Party Leader MP Walid Jumblat said on Monday that refraining from slashing the salaries of MPs, ministers and officials will only lead to deepening the rift between the citizen and society.

In his weekly editorial in al-Anbaa newspaper, Jumblat called for reconsidering the financial disbursement of Lebanese officials “at the expense of citizens and the public treasury”.

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Shaaban Slams Reports of Role in Samaha Case as 'Polemics that Don't Deserve a Response'

Syrian President Bashar Assad's media adviser Buthaina Shaaban has declined to comment on a probe in Lebanon into her possible involvement in a plot by former minister Michel Samaha and Syrian security chief Ali Mamlouk to carry out strife-inciting bombings in Lebanon, sources close to Shaaban told Agence France Presse on Sunday.

The sources said Shaaban has rejected to comment on “the leaks” about her in Lebanon, dismissing them as “part of the polemics and political debates that Lebanon is known for and which do not deserve any response or comment.”

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In Maarab, Connelly Urges Insulating Lebanon from 'Effects of Syria Violence'

U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Maura Connelly on Friday said “the United States calls on all parties to work together to insulate Lebanon from the effects of the violence in Syria resulting from the Assad regime’s brutal crackdown on the Syrian people.”

Speaking after a meeting with Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea in Maarab, Connelly said she discussed with the LF leader their “deep concern over the destabilizing actions of Syria in Lebanon.” 

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Reports: Hizbullah Commander, Several Fighters Killed in Homs

A Hizbullah commander and several fighters have been killed inside Syria, a Lebanese security official told the Associated Press on Tuesday, a development that could stoke already soaring tensions over an alleged role for the Lebanese group in the civil war next door.

Hizbullah has stood by Syrian President Bashar Assad since the uprising began 18 months ago, even after the group supported revolts in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Bahrain. The group says it is backing the Syrian regime because of its support for the anti-Israel resistance movements in Lebanon and Palestine and because it is willing to implement political reforms.

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