Syria
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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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Italy Rescues nearly 100,000 Migrants at Sea this Year

The Italian navy said Monday it had rescued more than 2,000 migrants over the weekend from boats in the Mediterranean, bringing the number it has brought ashore this year to nearly 100,000.

It said the latest arrivals included 94 migrants crammed into a 30-meter (98-foot) long sailing boat intercepted off the coast of Calabria by the coast guard, which arrested three Turkish men on board on suspicion of human trafficking.

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Kosovo Police Arrest 40 in Action against Islamic Radicals

Kosovo police said on Monday they had arrested 40 ethnic Albanians suspected of fighting alongside Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria in the largest-ever operation against suspected radicals in the breakaway Balkan state.

The operation by special police forces was carried out early on Monday at some 60 locations throughout Kosovo, including make-shift mosques suspected of serving as recruiting sites.

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Higher Relief Council Delegation Inspects Damage in Arsal

A Higher Relief Council delegation headed by Major General Mohammed Kheir headed on Monday to the northeastern town of Arsal to inspect the damage caused by clashes between the Lebanese army and Islamist militants.

“Our visit is to inspect the damage on the field and to prepare a plan to swiftly aid the residents,” Kheir told reporters.

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Australia, U.S. Appalled at Syria 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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Qahwaji Says Army Averted Deadly Sectarian Strife, Prioritizes Release of Arsal Captives

Army Commander General Jean Qahwaji stressed on Monday that the military institution “saved Lebanon from a deadly sectarian rift,” revealing that the Islamist gunmen in the northeastern town of Arsal were preparing for a “tragedy.”

“The battle of Arsal proved that our army is strong and its morale is high as it cut the road on a scheme to change Lebanon and maybe erase it from the world map,” Qahwaji said in an interview with As Safir newspaper.

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Mashnouq Says Latest Saudi Grant to be Deposited in Central Bank

Interior Minister Nouhad al-Mashnouq said on Monday that the latest Saudi grant made to boost the performance of security apparatuses in Lebanon will be deposited in the Central Bank after the cabinet approves it.

“We are currently drafting a formula to approve the grant based on the highest degrees of transparency,” Mashnouq said in comments published in An Nahar newspaper.

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Lawmakers Weigh U.S. Role against Islamic Fighters

Islamic militants' growing influence in Iraq and Syria is a threat to Americans, lawmakers from both political parties agreed Sunday even as they sharply disagreed on what role the United States should play in trying to crush them.

President Barack Obama last week approved limited airstrikes against Islamic State fighters, whose rapid rise in June plunged Iraq into its worst crisis since the end of 2011, when U.S. troops withdrew from the country at the end of an unpopular eight-year war. Obama said the current military campaign would be a "long-term project" to protect civilians from the deadly and brutal insurgents.

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12 Dead, Wounded Syrian Baby Saved from Mother's Womb

Syrian regime air raids killed 12 people on Sunday and wounded 23, including a mother and a baby boy removed from her womb, according to a monitoring group and amateur video.

The video, broadcast by militants in the city of Raqa in northeastern Syria and whose authenticity could not be verified, shows a frail infant being resuscitated with a respiratory mask on his face and blood-soaked cotton by his side.

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Saudi Jails 4 on Charges Linked to Syria Conflict

Saudi Arabia has jailed four of its citizens for up to nearly three years after convicting them of joining or trying to join the conflict in Syria, media reported Sunday.

Two of the men, who were not identified by name, had traveled to Yemen and then Turkey using falsified passports with the intention of joining rebel groups, news website Sabq.org reported. 

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