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Islamists Advance in Fierce Clashes for Syria's Idlib

Islamist rebels made fresh advances Friday on the edges of Idlib city in northwest Syria, after fierce clashes that have left dozens of dead, a monitoring group said.

"The fighters have advanced on the northwestern and southeastern sides of the city," said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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Syrian Army Turns to Women on Damascus Front Lines

Perched on a makeshift bench taking turns with a sniper rifle, the Syrian army's top markswomen await their "prey" on the front line in east Damascus.

Sergeant Rim, 20, and Chief Sergeant Samar, 21, belong to the First Women's Commando Brigade of the Republican Guard, an elite unit stationed on some of the most dangerous battlegrounds on the outskirts of the Syrian capital. 

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Israel Says Golan Resident Spied for Syria

Israel on Friday charged a Druze resident of the occupied Golan Heights with spying for Syria, the Shin Bet internal security service and police said.

A Shin Bet statement said that Sudki Sleiman Makat from the border village of Majdal Shams was charged with espionage, having contact with a foreign agent and passing information to the enemy in time of war.

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Turkey Army Chief Visits Historic Tomb inside Syria

Turkey's army chief General Necdet Ozel and top commanders have for the first time visited the new location of a historic tomb inside Syrian territory, the military said on Friday.

Army chief of staff Ozel and the land and air forces commanders on Thursday went inside Syria to visit the Turkish soldiers guarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of the Ottoman empire's founder Osman I.

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Bassil Hands Arab League General Secretariat Lebanon's Constant Principles

Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil reportedly handed over to the Arab League general secretariat a publication to confirm Lebanon's decision to hold onto its dissociation policy and calling for the formation of a joint Arab military force.

He stressed in his document, according to As Safir newspaper, that Lebanon refuses to intrude in the differences between Arab countries.

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Mountain Says International Support Group for Lebanon Could Meet in Beirut

Ross Mountain, the U.N. Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, has warned that the needs of the region's states, including Lebanon, are growing as result of the war in Syria, hoping that donor countries would assist the country at the upcoming conference in Kuwait.

He also revealed that the International Support Group for Lebanon could meet in Beirut this year.

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U.S. Drops 60,000 Propaganda Leaflets on IS in Syria

The U.S. military dropped 60,000 leaflets on the Islamic State group's de facto capital in Syria showing a grisly depiction of extremist recruits being fed into a meat grinder, the Pentagon said Thursday.

An F-15E fighter jet last week unloaded a canister containing the graphic leaflets on the northern city of Raqa, the latest in an effort by a U.S.-led coalition to undermine the IS extremists' own extensive propaganda and recruiting efforts.

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Assad Says Syria Open to Dialogue with U.S.

Syrian President Bashar Assad is open to dialogue with the United States, the leader said in an interview with U.S. television network CBS Thursday.

Assad said such dialogue would need to be based on "mutual respect," but that so far there has been no contact from the Americans.

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U.N. Says 440,000 Syrians Besieged in 'Savagery' of War

About 440,000 Syrians are now trapped in areas besieged by fighting, more than double the total from last month, as the war reaches "breathtaking levels of savagery", U.N. aid chief Valerie Amos said Thursday.

Amos told the U.N. Security Council that Islamic State fighters are laying siege to government-controlled neighborhoods in Deir Ezzor, northeast Syria, adding 228,000 people to the growing list of civilians in need of aid.

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U.S. Air Strikes Trigger Final Push on Iraq's Tikrit

Iraqi forces buoyed by the first U.S.-led coalition air strikes on Tikrit made a final push Thursday to flush diehard jihadists out of Saddam Hussein's hometown.

U.S.-led warplanes carried out 17 air strikes against Islamic State jihadists in Tikrit overnight in the first wave of coalition bombing raids in support of an Iraqi government offensive to recapture the town, the U.S. military said Thursday.

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