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Battle-Weary Syrian Forces Struggle despite Russian Air War

Devastated by years of fighting, Syria's battle-weary armed forces are struggling to make significant gains despite intense Russian air support for a series of new offensives.

Nearly three weeks of air strikes have given Bashar Assad's regime and his forces a morale boost, analysts say, but so far the effect on the ground has been negligible.

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U.S. Troop Extension Hands Afghanistan a Lifeline - for Now

The United States' decision to extend its military presence in Afghanistan beyond 2016 has thrown the war-ravaged country's government a much needed lifeline even as its dysfunctionality, blamed for the Taliban's revival, shows no signs of abating.

It has been just over a year since Ashraf Ghani was sworn in as president as part of a U.S.-brokered unity government with his main election rival, former anti-Soviet fighter Abdullah Abdullah, as chief executive.

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A Year on, Germany's PEGIDA Radicalized by Refugee Influx

They gather in the dark, wave German flags and vent their fury at foreigners they fear are overrunning their homeland -- next week Germany's anti-Islamic PEGIDA movement turns one year old.

Radicalized by Germany's record influx of refugees and migrants, the long-dormant protest movement has come back with a vengeance onto the streets of Dresden in the former communist East.

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Brotherhood Missing from Ballots as Egypt Readies to Vote

One party -- the banned Muslim Brotherhood -- will be conspicuously absent from ballot papers Sunday when Egypt's voters head to the polls for long-delayed parliamentary elections.

What had been Egypt's main opposition group for decades fell foul of the authorities after army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 and was elected to succeed him last year.

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Central Asia Falls in Line with Putin's Syria Strikes

Abdurahim Haitov, a Muslim from ex-Soviet Tajikistan, says Russia should have started bombing Islamic State jihadists in Syria a long time ago.

"Islam was never a religion that spread hate," the pensioner said breathlessly as he hobbled to prayers at the sky blue-colored central mosque in the capital Dushanbe.

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Obama Troop Plan just Enough to Prop up Afghan Army, Say Experts

The decision to keep thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan drives home the hard truth that despite billions of dollars and years of training, Afghan security forces are far from ready to go it alone.

But experts are divided on whether the troop levels outlined on Thursday by President Barack Obama are sufficient to prop up the weakling Afghan army.

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With Nothing to Lose, Gazans Join Palestinian 'Intifada'

Samir rushes forward and hurls the flaming bottle with all his might at the observation tower and the Israel soldiers inside, his contribution to the "intifada."

"We either kick out the Jews or we die," says the 20-year-old Palestinian, one of hundreds protesting violently near the Gaza Strip's border with Israel.

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Fed up and Angry, Generation Oslo Leads Palestinian Unrest

An 18-year-old Palestinian, his face covered with a black-and-white keffiyeh, is fed up with talk about negotiations.

"We're going to keep throwing stones at soldiers," he said at an Israeli checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah, where youths have been gathering daily to protest.

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Ankara Attack Aimed to Tip Turkey over the Edge

The perpetrators of the worst attack in Turkey's modern history appear intent on seeking to throw the country into chaos by provoking already explosive existing tensions, analysts say.

The twin blasts carried out by suspected suicide bombers on Saturday ripped through a gathering of leftist and pro-Kurdish activists outside Ankara's main train station, killing at least 97 people.

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Refugee Influx to Shake up Germany's Muslim Community

Germany's Muslim community is bracing for a culture shock when masses of Arab migrants join millions of residents of Turkish origin.

But experts suggest the change could be positive for it could broaden outlook, and say fears of Islamist radicalism may be overblown.

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