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France Raid Nets Three Suspected Jihadists

Two men and a woman have been arrested in a dawn raid in southern France on suspicion of recruiting fighters for Syria and planning attacks at home, police said.

The suspects were arrested in the city of Albi in a joint raid by the DGSI intelligence agency and RAID, an elite police special operations unit.

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U.N. Security Council Denounces Persecution of Iraqi Christians

The United Nations Security Council has denounced militant persecution of Christians and other minorities in Iraq, warning such actions can be considered crimes against humanity.

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Malaysia Airlines Plane Diverts from Ukraine to Syria

Malaysia Airlines has defended itself after confirming that it diverted a London to Kuala Lumpur flight over Syrian airspace when its usual route over Ukraine was closed in the wake of Thursday's MH17 crash.

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Jihadists Sell Syrian Oil to Iraqi Businessmen

The jihadist Islamic State is selling oil and liquid gas products extracted from fields under its control in Syria to Iraqi businessmen across the border, a monitoring group said Monday.

IS has captured large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq, including all of oil-rich Deir Ezzor province's oil fields in eastern Syria.

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Damascus Says Sure of 'Victory', Thanks to Russia

The Syrian regime believes its "victory" over the rebellion is assured, thanks to Moscow and its other allies' support, Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said in a letter to his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

"Syria's unwavering confidence in its victory is thanks to its people's resistance, and to the support of its friends, especially Russia," said Muallem in his letter, sent to mark the 70th anniversary of the opening of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

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Syria Rebels Press Offensive against Jihadists near Damascus

Rebels have expelled jihadists from four areas in the Damascus region, after having lost territory to the Islamic State in the north and east of Syria, a monitoring group said Monday.

IS, meanwhile, has started selling Syrian oil to Iraqi businessmen, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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Nasrallah Contacts Meshaal: The Resistance Stands by Palestinians

Hizbullah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah expressed solidarity on Monday with the Palestinian people, voicing support to Hamas.

In a phone call between Nasrallah and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal, the Hizbullah chief stressed that the Lebanese resistance stands by the intifada of the Palestinians.

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60 Syrian Troops Dead in Battle to Retake Gas Field from IS

At least 60 soldiers have died as the army battles to retake a gas field in central Syria where jihadists killed 270 people, a pro-regime newspaper reported on Sunday.

Al-Watan, citing a military source, give a toll of "60 martyrs" for a counter-offensive against the Islamic State (IS) group around Shaar gas field that a security official said was launched Friday.

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Assad Reappoints Woman VP but Mum on Sharaa

Syrian President Bashar Assad has reappointed Najah al-Attar as his vice president but made no mention of his other deputy, the veteran diplomat Faruq al-Sharaa.

Attar, 81, the only woman to reach that post, took the oath on Sunday, a day after Assad issued a decree re-appointing her as his deputy, the official SANA news agency reported.

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In Damascus, Semblance of Normal Life Returns

Each evening, Zakaria Orchi has been meeting up with friends at a favorite cafe to lounge away the hours, just as they used to during Ramadan nights in Syria's capital before war broke out.

"We get together to chat, smoke a hookah (water pipe), until late," says the tall, slender man in his 40s.

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