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Assad Swears in Government, Urges Reconstruction

Syria's embattled President Bashar Assad swore in his new government on Sunday, saying security and reconstruction would be top priorities and urging ministers to tackle corruption.

The new government, appointed earlier this week after Assad's June re-election, takes office as the death toll in the country's conflict since March 2011 soars past 191,000.

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37 Children Killed in String of Syria Attacks

At least 37 children have been killed in government air strikes and shelling across Syria in the last 36 hours, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said Sunday.

The Britain-based Observatory said 20 children had been killed between midnight on Saturday and Sunday afternoon, with 17 more killed between Friday and Saturday night.

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'Recruiter' for Syrian Jihad Arrested in France

A 22-year-old man suspected of acting as a recruiter for jihadist groups in Syria has been arrested at an airport in the south of France, the interior ministry said Sunday.

The man, who is said to be of Chechen origin, was stopped at the Nice airport on Saturday and taken into custody.

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Zureiqat to Troops Families: Hizbullah Caused Your Sons Captivity, Battle Hasn't Begun

Sirajeddine Zureiqat, a so-called spokesman of the Qaida-linked Abdullah Azzam Brigades, warned Sunday that “the battle has not yet started in Lebanon,” telling the families of the abducted Lebanese security personnel that Hizbullah is to blame for their sons' captivity.

“You must know that had it not been for Hizbullah and its foolish acts, your sons would not have been taken captive. Who other than Hizbullah has implicated Lebanon in the battle?" the fugitive Lebanese cleric said addressing the families on his Twitter account.

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Libya Islamist Militia Says in Control of U.S. Embassy Compound

An Islamist-allied militia group said Sunday it has "secured" a U.S. Embassy compound in Libya's capital, more than a month after American personnel evacuated from the country over ongoing fighting.

An Associated Press journalist walked through the compound Sunday after the Fajr Libya, an umbrella group for Islamist militias, invited onlookers inside.

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Suspicious Car Seized in Akkar after Entering from Syria

A suspicious car that had entered Lebanon from Syria was seized Sunday in the northern region of Akkar, state-run National News Agency reported.

“Agents from the State Security department of Akkar's Qobaiyat seized a white Honda SUV that was hidden in the village of al-Nsoub in the Jabal Akroum region,” NNA said.

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Thai PM Stacks Cabinet with Soldiers

Thailand's coup leader and newly appointed premier Prayut Chan-O-Cha on Sunday received royal endorsement for a cabinet stacked with soldiers, as the military extended its reach into the kingdom's politics.

Nearly a third of the 32-strong cabinet are senior military officers. Among them are Prayut's close allies and key players in the recent years of political turbulence, including generals involved in the bloody 2010 crackdown on "Red Shirt" activists.

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Fresh Round of Mali Peace Talks to Begin in Algiers

Malian government negotiators will sit down with separatist militias on Monday, hoping to end the conflicts that continue to rage in the country a year after it returned to democracy.

Riven by ethnic rivalries, a Tuareg rebellion and an Islamist insurgency in its vast desert north, the west African nation has struggled for stability and peace since a military coup in 2012.

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Bahrain Upholds 10 Year Jail Term for Journalist

A Bahraini appeals court on Sunday upheld a controversial 10-year-jail term against a photojournalist convicted over his presence at a 2012 attack on a police station.

Human rights watchdogs say Ahmed Humaidan was merely covering the Arab Spring-inspired pro-democracy protests that erupted among the Shiite majority in the Sunni minority-ruled Gulf kingdom in early 2011.

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Turkish Army Warns over 'Red Lines' in Kurdish Peace Talks

Turkey's army chief has warned that the army will do whatever is necessary if its "red lines" are not respected in peace talks with Kurdish rebels.

His comments came amid intensified efforts by the government to restart stalled peace talks with the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), which launched an insurgency seeking self-rule in the southeast in 1984. 

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