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Mixed Emotions for Christians Back in Syria's Maalula for Easter

Residents of Maalula returned to the historic Christian town on Sunday to mark Easter, glad that the Syrian army freed it from rebel control but pained at the widespread destruction.

As they strolled into the picturesque town, flanked by reporters on a government-organized tour, President Bashar Assad also paid a rare visit less than a week after his troops recaptured Maalula.

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British Charity Watchdog Warns of Islamist Threat

Islamic extremism is the "most deadly" problem faced by British charities, the head of the sector's watchdog said Sunday.

William Shawcross, the chairman of the Charity Commission, said the regulatory body was trying to take action against charities "sending cash to extremist groups in Syria," in an interview with The Sunday Times newspaper.

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Two Injured in Turkey by Syrian Shelling

Two people were injured in southern Turkey on Sunday when a shell fired in Syria landed on the other side of the border, a Turkish news agency reported.

The incident happened in a rural area near the village of Yayladadi, according to a report by the Dogan agency.

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Iraq Attacks Kill 14 as Suicide Bomber Hits University

Attacks in Iraq, including a suicide bombing at a university in north Baghdad, killed at least 14 people on Sunday, security and medical officials said.

The attacks, which come as Iraq suffers a prolonged surge in bloodshed, took place less than two weeks before a parliamentary election that will be a major test for security forces.

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Syria's Assad Visits Recaptured Christian Town of Maalula

Syrian President Bashar Assad on Easter Sunday visited the ancient Christian town of Maalula, which his troops recently recaptured from rebels, state television said.

"On the day of the resurrection of Christ, and from the heart of Maalula, President Assad hopes all Syrians have a happy Easter, and for the reestablishment of peace and security throughout Syria," the channel announced in a caption at the bottom of the screen, without showing images of the visit.

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Hollande Says France has 'Information' Assad Regime Using Chemical Weapons

France has "information" but no firm proof that Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime is still using chemical weapons, President Francois Hollande said Sunday.

"We have a few elements of information but I do not have the proof," Hollande said in a radio interview after he was asked about reports that Assad was currently using chemical weapons.

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French Journalists Arrive Home after Syria Hostage Ordeal

Four French journalists taken hostage in Syria were reunited with family and colleagues on Sunday in an emotional homecoming after 10 months in captivity during which they were chained together and held in dingy basements.

Looking thin and tired but overjoyed, the men hugged relatives and colleagues waiting at an air base southwest of Paris where they flew in early Sunday from Turkey.

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'Extremist' Syrians Arrested in Bekaa Ambush

The army arrested on Saturday a group of “extremist” Syrians near the town of Beit Lahya in the Bekaa.

"Army intelligence was able to detain several extremist Syrians in an ambush near Beit Layha,” the state-run National News Agency reported.

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Kidnapped Foreign Journalists Still Held in Syria

Several foreign reporters remain captive in Syria, dubbed by a media watchdog as the most dangerous country for journalists, after four French colleagues were freed Saturday after 10 months in captivity.

Thirteen major international news organisations, including the New York Times, BBC News, Reuters, The Associated Press and Agence France-Presse, said in December that more than 30 journalists were being held in the war-ravaged country.

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Mashnouq Announces Plan, with Hizbullah Cooperation, to Help Lebanese Escape Tfeil

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq announced on Saturday a plan to help citizens “safely” escape the Lebanese town of Tfeil, which is located inside Syria.

The plan involves securing a safe passage supervised by Lebanese forces and which would allow the village's residents to escape "without being subjected to any Syrian gunman."

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