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Syria Envoy: Israeli Golan Cabinet Meeting 'Provocative'

Syria's envoy to the United Nations on Monday denounced as "provocative" an unprecedented Israeli cabinet meeting held in the Golan Heights, which the Jewish state annexed decades ago.

"It is an irresponsible provocation committed by Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister of the Israeli occupation force," Bashar al-Jaafari said of Sunday's cabinet meeting, which was the first ever to be held in the territory seized from Syria in 1967.

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Aleppo Clashes Kill 22 Civilians, Threatening Fragile Truce

Twenty-two civilians were killed in an exchange of fire in Syria's second city Aleppo, a monitor said Sunday, in one of the highest single tolls since a fragile truce came into force.

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Syria Opposition Negotiator Urges Attacks on Regime despite Truce

The Syrian opposition's chief negotiator on Sunday called for renewed attacks on regime forces, despite the shaky truce deal between government troops and rebel fighters.

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Assad Party Wins Expected Majority in Syria Parliamentary Vote

Syria's ruling Baath party and its allies won a majority of seats in parliamentary elections last week across government-held parts of the country, the national electoral commission announced late Saturday.

In a widely expected victory in polls labeled a "farce" by Syria's opposition, President Bashar Assad's Baath movement and its allies ran under the "National Unity" coalition and won 200 of the parliament's 250 seats.

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Syria Regime Blocking Crucial Aid Deliveries, Says U.N.

Restrictions on humanitarian convoys imposed by Syria's government have frustrated efforts to deliver life-saving aid to besieged people in the war-ravaged country, U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura said Thursday.

A 17-country United Nations panel, co-chaired by the United States and Russia, has been working since February to boost aid deliveries to an estimated 450,000 Syrians stranded in besieged areas, as well as 4 million others in places the U.N. describes as hard-to-reach.

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IS Seizes Syria Villages near Turkish Border

Islamic State group jihadists have seized a string of opposition-held villages in Syria's Aleppo province near the Turkish border, a monitoring group said Thursday.

Areas around Aleppo have seen a spike in violence on several fronts in recent days, sparking concern over a fragile six-week truce as a new round of peace talks gets under way in Geneva.

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Pentagon Says First Step in Anti-IS Battle in Iraq, Syria 'Complete'

The U.S.-led coalition campaign against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria has successfully completed its first "phase" of operations, a U.S. military spokesman said Wednesday.

The coalition is working through three main steps as it wages its 20-month-old fight against the IS group, Baghdad-based spokesman Colonel Steve Warren said.

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Syria Peace Talks Resume as Violence Surges

Talks to end Syria's brutal five-year conflict were to resume in Geneva Wednesday, although the negotiations were likely to be overshadowed by a surge of violence that threatened a fragile truce.

Adding more tension, Syrians began voting in government-controlled areas in a parliamentary election which is not recognized by the United Nations or by President Bashar Assad's main opponents.

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Syria Holds Parliamentary Polls in Regime-Held Areas

President Bashar Assad's regime held parliamentary polls in areas of Syria under its control on Wednesday, with some voting enthusiastically but others dismissing the elections as a sham.

Assad pressed ahead with the vote despite the start Wednesday of another round of U.N.-brokered peace talks in Geneva aimed at ending the devastating five-year conflict, with a political transition and the Syrian leader's future key sticking points.

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Moscow: Two Russian Military Pilots Killed in Syria Helicopter Crash

Two Russian military pilots were killed when their helicopter crashed near the central Syrian city of Homs, the defense ministry said on Tuesday, adding that the aircraft had not been under fire.

"Two crew members died," the defense ministry said in a statement.

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