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Syria Regime Forces Advance on IS Town near Palmyra

Syrian regime forces were locked in fierce clashes with Islamic State group jihadists on Tuesday on the outskirts of a key town near the ancient city of Palmyra, a monitor said.

Just two days after seizing Palmyra from IS, pro-government fighters advanced southwest towards the jihadist-held town of Al-Qaryatain.

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Bassil Urges Unilateral Lebanese Steps to Stop Naturalization: Displacement Feeds Terrorism

Foreign Minister Jebran Bassil warned on Saturday that there are indirect efforts to naturalize Syrian refugees in Lebanon, while warning that terrorism is a product of the refugee crisis.

He urged during a press conference “the adoption of unilateral and sovereign steps, otherwise naturalization will be imposed on us.”

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U.N. Says 50 Staff Dead, Detained or Missing in Syria

More than 50 U.N. staff members have been killed, imprisoned or gone missing in war-wracked Syria, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Friday.

In a statement to mark International Day of Solidarity with Detained or Missing staff members, OCHA said the war had also hit the Red Cross and Red Crescent as well as international and local NGOs.

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Syria Opposition Says Russia Key to Progress at Geneva Talks

Syria's main opposition said Thursday that a just-concluded round of peace talks "laid the basis" for substantive negotiations next month, but warned that any real progress depended on Russia pressuring the government.

United Nations mediator Staffan de Mistura was expected to announce later Thursday the date for the next round of talks .

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Kerry in Moscow to Urge Putin to Soften Assad Stance

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in Moscow on Thursday to see if President Vladimir Putin can be convinced to support an end to Bashar Assad's rule in Syria.

Kerry met his counterpart Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and was later to head to the Kremlin for talks with the Russian leader and sound him out on the crises in Syria and Ukraine.

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Syria Allows Aid Deliveries to more Besieged Areas

Syria's government has given a U.N.-backed taskforce permission to deliver aid to more besieged areas, but two opposition strongholds and a city controlled by the Islamic State group remain off limits, a U.N. official said Wednesday.

Jan Egeland, who heads the humanitarian taskforce co-chaired by the United States and Russia, said there has been sustained progress in delivering life-saving supplies.

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No Foreign Powers Should Have Say in Syria Peace Talks, Says Damascus

No foreign power should be permitted to interfere in the ongoing Syrian peace talks in Geneva, the lead government negotiator said, denying that high-level U.S.-Russian meetings in Moscow will impact the process.

"When we say that the dialogue must be between Syrians, without outside intervention, this also applies to the Russians and Americans," Bashar al-Jaafari told AFP in an interview.

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Syrian Refugees Rescue German Neo-Nazi after Car Crash

A German neo-Nazi politician who crashed his car into a tree was rescued by Syrian refugees who happened to be passing, German media reported on Tuesday.

Stefan Jagsch, 29, a member of the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD), was badly injured in the crash last week, local newspapers and national news agency DPA said.

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Syrian Trapped for a Year at Istanbul Airport Moved to Detention Center

A Syrian refugee who was trapped for over a year at Istanbul's main airport after being refused entry to Turkey has been transferred to a detention center, Amnesty International said Tuesday.

On Saturday, Fadi Mansour, who is reported to be in his twenties, left the windowless "problematic passengers room" at Ataturk airport where he was being held for a migrant detention center in Istanbul, Amnesty said.

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Regime Says Assad's Fate Still 'Excluded' from Syria Peace Talks

Syria's regime on Monday reiterated its stance that peace talks in Geneva will not address President Bashar Assad's future, after the U.N. urged Damascus to submit plans for political transition.

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