Syria
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Al-Basha'er Association Head Killed in Shelling on Qalamun

The head of a Tripoli-based association was killed in Syrian troop shelling on al-Qalamun region in the neighboring country, media reports said on Tuesday.

"Head of al-Basha'er association Abou Mohammed al-Rifai and others were killed” in the latest battles in Syria, LBCI television said.

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Pentagon Cites Progress Destroying Syria Chemical Arms

The Pentagon said Tuesday it had made progress in destroying Syrian chemical weapons, saying specialists on a U.S. military ship had neutralized "100 percent" of a precursor used to make lethal Sarin gas.

After a global outcry over deadly chemical attacks in a Damascus suburb last year that may have killed as many as 1,400 people, President Bashar Assad's regime agreed to an international plan to destroy its stockpile.

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Syria Says 1,000 Iraqi Families Fled over Border

Nearly 1,000 Iraqi families fleeing advances by the jihadist Islamic State group have taken refuge in the Syrian province of Hassakeh, the Syrian government said on Tuesday.

The U.N. agency for refugees, UNHCR, meanwhile, put the number of Iraqis who had fled to Syria at 10,000 to 15,000 people.

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U.N. Rights Monitors Urge Urgent Action to stop Yazidi 'Genocide'

U.N. rights monitors called Tuesday for the global community to take urgent action to avoid a potential genocide against the Yazidi community in Iraq.

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U.S., Australia to Take Foreign Jihadist Fighters Issue to U.N.

The United States and Australia agreed Tuesday to take concerns about the threat posed by jihadist foreign fighters in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere to the United Nations, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said.

"We intend to join together in order to bring this to the United Nations meeting this month and put it on the agenda in a way that will elicit support from the source countries as well as those countries of concern," Kerry said after joint security talks in Sydney.

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Salam Seeks Qatar, Turkey's Assistance to Ensure Safe Release of Arsal Captives

Prime Minister Tammam Salam revealed on Tuesday that he recently contacted Qatari and Turkish authorities to help Lebanon guarantee the safe release of the security personnel taken hostage by Islamist gunmen in the northeastern town of Arsal.

“Speaker Nabih Berri and I seem to have confluence on contacting Qatari and Turkish authorities to help the government ensure the safe release of the troops,” Salam said in comments published in As Safir newspaper on Tuesday.

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U.N. Security Council Takes Aim at Iraq, Syria Jihadists

The U.N. Security Council on Monday began fine tuning a draft resolution aimed at choking off the flow of foreign fighters and financial support to jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

Fighters from the extremist Islamic State(IS) have made dramatic gains in Iraq, prompting U.S. President Barack Obama to order air strikes to halt their advance and air drops to help tens of thousands of fleeing civilians.

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Syrian Family among 10 Killed in Aleppo Air Raid

Syrian regime forces dumped barrel bombs Monday on a rebel-held area of Aleppo killing 10 civilians, including a family of four, a monitoring group said.

An Agence France Presse correspondent who later toured the area said the raids also caused heavy destruction in Bab al-Nairab neighborhood in the old district of Aleppo, Syria's second city.

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Australia, U.S. Appalled at Decapitated Head Photo

A shocking image of what is believed to be the young son of an Australian man holding a decapitated head in Syria shows how barbaric the Islamic State "terrorist army" is, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Monday.

He made the comment while announcing Australia will likely join airdrops of supplies to Iraqi civilians besieged by jihadist IS militants on a barren mountain.

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Syria Gags Domestic Opposition

Syria's government on Monday banned the so-called tolerated domestic opposition from holding a news conference, activists said, denouncing the ban as an unprecedented move.

Two opposition groups allowed to operate inside the country by the government, as opposed to those mostly based in exile and seeking President Bashar Assad's ouster, were due to hold the joint news conference in Damascus on Monday.

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