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IS Jihadists Kill 115 in Syria Gas Field Takeover

Jihadists killed at least 115 Syrian regime fighters, civilian security guards and employees when they seized a gas field in Homs province, a monitoring group said Friday, updating an earlier toll.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights described Thursday's takeover of the Shaar field as "the biggest" anti-regime operation by the Islamic State (IS) since it emerged in the Syrian conflict last year.

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IS Jihadists Seize Syria Gas Field near Palmyra

Jihadists on Thursday seized a gas field in the desert region of Palmyra, in central Syria, a monitoring group and the governor of Homs said.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Islamic State (IS) fighters on Thursday morning attacked the Shaar gas field, east of the ancient site of Palmyra, killing 23 guards.

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Germany Vows to Resume Support to Lebanon over Refugees Crisis

Germany is keen to continue supporting Lebanon to help it confront the ongoing Syrian refugee crisis, visiting Christoph Strasser, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, said on Thursday.

“Germany wants to sense the real situation in Lebanon in the presence of more than one million Syrian refugees,” Strasser told reporters after talks with Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil at the Bustros Palace.

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Bulgaria under Fire over Anti-Refugee Border Fence

Overwhelmed by an influx of mostly Syrian immigrants, Bulgaria has taken steps to secure its EU border -- including building a barbed-wire fence -- but now faces criticism from rights groups.

The 30-kilometer (19-mile) fence, standing three meters (10 feet) high and fortified with razor wire coils, was completed this week.

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U.N. Peace Envoy for Syria Seeks Way Forward

New U.N. peace envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura will meet members of the Security Council on Friday as he sets out to revive efforts to end the devastating war.

Diplomatic sources said it will be a first opportunity to discuss the way forward with De Mistura, an Italian-Swedish diplomat with experience in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Mortars on Damascus Kill 4 after Assad Speech

Four people were killed and another 22 wounded by rebel mortars fired into central Damascus Wednesday, just as President Bashar Assad was sworn in for a third term, state news agency SANA said.

The mortars came minutes after Assad's inauguration speech ended.

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Assad Salutes 'Loyal Heroes of Lebanese Resistance'

Syrian President Bashar Assad on Wednesday hailed Hizbullah's fighters who “stood side by side” with the Syrian army, thanking those who considered supporting Damascus equivalent to “defending south Lebanon.”

“I salute the loyal heroes of the Lebanese resistance, who stood side by side with the heroes of our army,” Assad said in a triumphant speech delivered after he took the oath of office for a new seven-year term.

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Istanbul to Take 'Drastic Measures' against Syria Refugees

Turkey is to take "drastic measures" to deal with the influx of tens of thousands of Syrian refugees into its biggest city Istanbul, including forcibly sending them to camps in the southeast, the city's top official said Wednesday.

Istanbul governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu said that there were now 67,000 Syrian refugees in the city and legislation would now be adopted that could see them effectively expelled from the city of 15 million to refugee camps closer to Syria.

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Syria's Assad Sworn In, Takes Swipe at West over Revolt

President Bashar Assad was sworn in Wednesday for a new term, warning Western and Arab governments of the backfire they face for their support of the armed revolt in Syria.

In a triumphant speech before an invited audience after taking the oath of office at a red carpet ceremony in Damascus, Assad mocked the "fake spring" of the 2011 Arab uprisings.

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Plumbly Considers Situation in South 'Dangerous', Urges Self-Restraint

United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly described on Wednesday the situation along the southern Lebanese border as “dangerous,” stressing that all sides must exercise self-restraint.

“The recent developments are a serious source of concern, especially after rockets (hit Israel) for four consecutive days,” Plumbly said in an interview with An Nahar newspaper.

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