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Yazigi Says Election of President Safeguards Security, Stability

Greek Orthodox leader Youhanna X Yazigi has stressed that the election of a new president in Lebanon would create stability and help the authorities confront the regional turmoil.

Yazigi, who is the Patriarch of Antioch and All the East, expressed regret that Lebanese lawmakers have failed to elect a successor to President Michel Suleiman, whose term ended in May.

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Report: Government Mulling to Ask for Anti-IS Coalition Support

The Lebanese government is mulling to ask the anti-Islamic State coalition to expand its operations to the Lebanese-Syrian border area from where extremists are carrying out attacks on the Lebanese army, a report said Friday.

High-ranking political sources told the Kuwaiti al-Seyassah newspaper that the cabinet is studying to officially ask the coalition to carry out air raids on the IS and al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front militants.

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Lebanon to File Complaint against Israeli Strikes

Lebanon will file a complaint at the United Nations over the Israeli shelling on Lebanese territories and the death of a Spanish peacekeeper with the U.N. force in southern Lebanon, media reports said on Friday.

According to al-Akhbar newspaper, Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil asked Nawaf Salam, Lebanon's Permanent Representative to the U.N., to file the complaint.

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Syria Kurds Kill 22 Jihadists around Kobane

Kurdish fighters killed 22 jihadists around Kobane Thursday, days after recapturing the Syrian town, but the Islamic State group still controls hundreds of villages in the area, a monitor said.

"Nineteen IS members were killed in fighting against the (Kurdish) People's Protection Units (YPG) in the hills surrounding Manaz to the west of Kobane," said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman.

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Syria Opposition 'Embassy' Renewing Passports in Qatar

Syria's opposition "embassy" in Qatar began Thursday to renew expired passports for some of the estimated 60,000 Syrians living in the tiny Gulf country, its chief said.

Nizar Haraki, the opposition envoy, said this would help thousands of Syrians who fled the country to escape the conflict, which has killed at least 200,000 people since it erupted in 2011.

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EU Plots Counter-Terrorism Strategy Against Militant Islamists

European Union interior ministers met Thursday in Riga to finalize a counter-terrorism strategy targeting radical Islamists weeks after the Paris terror attacks that left 17 people dead.

The ministers recommend more stringent controls on EU citizens leaving and entering the Schengen free travel zone, an air passenger registry to check the movement of suspected Islamist militants and fresh cyber-security measures aimed at intercepting suspect traffic.

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Boroujerdi Arrives in Lebanon: Iran Keen on Preservation of Security in Lebanon

Chairman of Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Committee Alaeddin Boroujerdi arrived in Lebanon on Thursday a day after Hizbullah launched an attack against an Israeli convoy in the occupied Shebaa Farms that left two Israeli troops dead.

He expressed upon his arrival in Beirut his congratulations to Hizbullah on its operation, which was in retaliation to an Israeli airstrike on January 18 on Syria's Quneitra region that left six party members and an Iranian general dead.

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Jordan Arrests Two over Hostage Swap Rumors

Two managers of a Jordanian website have been arrested for spreading rumors that an Iraqi jihadist had been freed in exchange for a Japanese hostage, a judicial source said Thursday.

The owner of the Saraya News site, Hashim al-Khalidi, and editor-in-chief Seif Obeidat could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted.

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State Security Busts Kidnapping Gang Smuggling Syrians to Lebanon

The General Directorate of State Security detained in the eastern city of Zahle on Thursday an abduction gang that is specialized in smuggling Syrians into Lebanon.

The gang reportedly smuggles Syrians into Lebanese territories and kidnaps people in exchange for ransom.

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HRW: Rights Abuses Fueled Rise of Islamic Militants

Governments increasingly view human rights as "a luxury" they can ill afford, Human Rights Watch said Thursday, warning that abuses fuel crises in world trouble spots like Syria and Ukraine.

Western powers, including the United States, are far from blameless and in some cases their wrongdoing has fed the very climate in which serial rights abusers like Islamic State jihadists thrive.

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