Syria
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'War of Flags' as Iraqi Forces Battle IS Jihadists

From the Islamic State jihadist group's black banner to colorful depictions of revered Shiite figures, the Kurds' golden sun and the official tricolor, a "war of flags" rages in Iraq.

Banners mark control of territory and identify units as they have for thousands of years, but in Iraq they also show the sharp religious and ethnic divisions among combatants, including some on the same side.

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Canada's CBC Websites Hacked by Pro-Syrian Group

Canadian national broadcaster CBC said Thursday hackers had briefly compromised its website in an attack claimed by supporters of Syria's President Bashar Assad.

Several other media websites said they were also affected, including Britain's Independent and Telegraph newspapers.

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War Forces Aleppo Merchants from Souk to Street

Once proud shop owners in Aleppo's picturesque old city market, the merchants of Syria's former economic capital now live off a pittance selling goods on pavements and stalls.

After a major rebel offensive on Aleppo in July 2012, the city's historic souk fell prey to a war that has killed more than 195,000 Syrians and forced nearly half the population to flee.

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Muallem: Damascus, Moscow Back U.N. 'Freeze' Plan

The Syrian regime and key ally Russia have agreed to support a U.N. proposal to suspend fighting in the battered northern city of Aleppo, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said.

Muallem's remarks, reported by state news agency SANA, followed a meeting between President Vladimir Putin and a Syrian government delegation in Sochi, Russia on Wednesday.

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Danish Syria Fighters 'on Benefits while Fighting for IS'

Denmark paid unemployment benefits to 28 people while they were waging war for the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria, the Danish intelligence service was quoted as saying on Thursday.

Out of the 28 Danish people identified by the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) as having received benefits, 15 had been ordered to pay the money back, eight people were still being investigated, and five cases had been dropped due to insufficient evidence, tabloid BT reported.

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Iraqi Forces Hold Off Jihadist Attack on Ramadi

Iraqi forces held off a jihadist assault on the government headquarters in the capital of Anbar province, deploying reinforcements in the key battleground against the Islamic State group, officers said Thursday.

Security forces, backed by tribesmen, managed to defend the complex in Ramadi, which lies 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of the Iraqi capital and is one of the last major urban areas in Anbar under Baghdad's control.

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700 Migrants begin Disembarking on Crete

Around 700 migrants aboard a freighter that had been drifting in the Aegean Sea for two days began disembarking on the Greek island of Crete on Thursday, local officials said.

The migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran and Iraq, include "a lot of women and children", said Theodosis Kalantzakis, the mayor of Ierapetra.

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Report: Joumaa Demands to Stand Trial, Says Negotiations with Nusra 'Waste of Time'

Syrian detainee Imad Jomaa, a member of the al-Qaida-affiliated al-Nusra Front, whose arrest sparked the Arsal unrest in August, reportedly expressed doubt that negotiations with the jihadists entrenched on the outskirts of the town on the porous Syrian-Lebanese border would lead to his release.

Jomaa, according to As Safir newspaper published on Thursday, is demanding to be referred to the judiciary to stand trial as he believes that the negotiations are “a waste of time.”

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U.S. 'Horrified' by Syrian Regime Raids, Slams Assad

The United States said Wednesday it was "horrified" by Syrian regime air strikes in the stronghold Raqa that killed at least 95 people, slamming the government for its "continued slaughter." 

The bombing Tuesday was the deadliest by President Bashar Assad's air force since Islamic State jihadists seized the city last year and declared it their capital.

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Asiri Welcomes Mustaqbal-Hizbullah Dialogue, Denies Naming Aoun for Presidency

Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awadh Asiri noted Wednesday that Riyadh's call for blacklisting Hizbullah as a “terrorist” organization must not have any impact on the domestic Lebanese affairs, voicing support for any dialogue between Hizbullah and al-Mustaqbal movement.

“We back any dialogue that gathers the Lebanese,” Asiri said in an interview with NBN television, revealing that during talks in Ain al-Tineh he sensed insistence by Speaker Nabih Berri to secure the success of dialogue between the two parties.

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