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Syria Peace Talks Pushed back to April 13, Says U.N.

U.N. Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said Thursday that the next round of peace talks will begin on April 13 after he completes a diplomatic tour, including stops in Damascus and Tehran.

The United Nations had previously said that the negotiations in Geneva would resume on April 11 after the last round ended on March 24.

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U.N. Says Planning 'Major' Medical Evacuation from Besieged Syrian Towns

The United Nations said Thursday it is aiming to begin a large-scale evacuation of wounded and sick people from four besieged towns in war-ravaged Syria within the next week.

Jan Egeland, who heads a U.N.-backed humanitarian taskforce for Syria, said "a very major" medical evacuation was planned for Madaya and Zabadani, two towns near Damascus blockaded by the regime and their allies, and Fuaa and Kafraya, which are besieged by rebels in Syria's northwest.

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U.S., Turkey Want to Push IS further East in Syria

U.S. and Turkish authorities are discussing plans to intensify support to the moderate Syrian opposition in a bid to push the Islamic State group back from the Turkish border, the U.S. Ambassador to Ankara said Thursday.

"We have had some progress in recent weeks as these groups pushed further east along the border," John Bass told journalists.

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Security Forces Arrest Syrian IS Member Planning Attacks against Military

The General Security agency announced on Thursday the arrest of a Syrian member of the extremist Islamic State group.

The suspect, identified as M.F., confessed to taking part in clashes against the army in the northeastern border town of Arsal in 2014.

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Nusra Front in Syria Confirms Death of Spokesman

Al-Qaida's Syrian affiliate confirmed on Wednesday the death of its spokesman Abu Firas al-Suri in a U.S. air strike earlier this week.

In a statement circulated on Twitter, Al-Nusra Front said Suri and other members "were killed during a Crusader (Western) air strike... on April 3, 2016."

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Syrian Arrested in Germany on War Crimes Charges

German authorities Wednesday arrested a Syrian national on war crimes charges, on suspicion of commanding a rebel militia in Aleppo that committed atrocities and plundered artifacts for sale.

Federal prosecutors said in a statement that the 41-year-old accused identified only as Ibrahim Al F. had been detained in the western region of Westphalia on a German arrest warrant.

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Syria Talks 'Doomed' Unless Assad Fate on Table, Says Opposition

Syrian peace talks which fail to address the question of President Bashar Assad's fate are "doomed to failure", a spokesman for the main opposition grouping involved in negotiations said.

Riad Naasan Agha, of the Riyadh-based High Negotiations Committee, said that the talks which are set to resume on April 11 in Geneva must focus on the future of the Syrian leader.

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Turks Probed for 'Clubbing Syrian Teens who Stole Bread'

Turkey has detained two shopkeepers accused of savagely beating two teenage Syrian refugees with clubs after spotting them stealing bread in the south of the country, reports said Wednesday.

Security camera footage, which caused outrage on social media, showed two men racing out of their shops in the Hatay region of southern Turkey as the two teens took several loaves of flatbread from a display case.

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Syria 'Heart-Eating' Rebel Killed, Says Monitor

A Syrian fighter who appeared in a gruesome video cutting out the heart of a regime soldier and eating it has been shot dead by rival rebels, a monitoring group said.

Known by his nom de guerre Abu Sakkar, the rebel reportedly joined the Al-Qaida-affiliated Al-Nusra Front about a year ago, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

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Syria Rebels Edge towards Key IS-Held Town Dabiq

Rebels in Syria are edging closer to the key northern town of Dabiq held by the Islamic State group, pushing the jihadists out of more than a dozen villages, a monitor said Tuesday.

Rebel forces are now within 10 kilometers (six miles) of Dabiq, a town of significant symbolic importance to the jihadists, said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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