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Report: U.S., France Pressured Qatar over Arsal Mediation

Qatar has come under U.S. and French pressure over the negotiations with the kidnappers of Lebanese soldiers and policemen amid a report of money transfers to the militants who are deployed on the Lebanese-Syrian border.

As Safir newspaper said on Friday that the Qatari leadership has recently received messages from Washington and Paris to speed up its mediation in the case of the troops and police who were taken hostage in August.

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Turkish Foreign Ministry, Norway Embassy Targeted by 'Suspect Packages'

The Turkish foreign ministry and Norwegian embassy in Ankara on Thursday received suspicious packages, officials said, the latest in a string of such incidents in the country.

Turkey's emergencies management agency AFAD said in a statement that both reported receiving the suspect packages in the morning.

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Syria Denounces Turkey over Kobane Reinforcements

Syria accused Turkey on Thursday of a "flagrant violation" of its sovereignty, as Ankara allowed Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters and opposition rebels to cross its border to battle jihadists.

"Once again, Turkey has shown its conspiratorial role... by allowing foreign forces and terrorist groups to enter Syria," said a foreign ministry statement reported by state television.

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Turkish Soldier Dies of Wounds after Attack in Southeast

A Turkish soldier who was shot by masked men has died of his wounds, the army said on Thursday, the latest killing of a member of the security forces in the Kurdish-majority southeast of the country.

Non-commissioned officer Nejdet Aydogdu was shopping with his wife in Turkey's biggest Kurdish-populated city of Diyarbakir Wednesday afternoon when he was fired at by two masked gunmen at close range.

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Peshmerga at Turkish Border to Reinforce Besieged Kobane

Heavily armed Iraqi peshmerga forces reached the Turkish border Thursday and a first group entered the town of Kobane as they prepared to join fellow Kurds battling the Islamic State group.

The group of 10 fighters were to coordinate with local Kurdish militia who have been holding off an assault by IS jihadists for six weeks, a monitoring group said.

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Plumbly Rules Out Naturalization of Syrian Refugees

U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Derek Plumbly ruled out the naturalization of Syrian refugees, denying international pressure to keep the displaced in Lebanon.

In remarks to As Safir daily published on Thursday, Plumbly said: “The issue of the naturalization of the Syrian refugees is out of the question.”

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Gunmen Badly Wound Turkish Soldier in Kurdish City

A Turkish soldier was on Wednesday fighting for his life in hospital after being shot by two masked gunmen in Turkey's biggest Kurdish-populated city of Diyarbakir in the southeast of the country, the army said.

Non-commissioned officer Nejdet Aydogdu was out shopping with his wife in central Diyarbakir when he was fired at by the gunmen at close range, it said in a statement.

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Austria Arrests 14-year-Old 'Terror' Suspect

A 14-year-old boy in Austria was remanded in custody Wednesday after telling police he planned to plant a bomb in a public area and join jihadists in Syria, authorities said.

The unnamed boy, a Turkish citizen living in Austria for at least the past eight years, had been under investigation since early October and was arrested on Tuesday, police said.

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Hopes Fade for 18 Trapped Turkish Miners

Hopes faded Wednesday of finding alive 18 Turkish coal miners trapped when their shaft was engulfed by water, as rescue workers made last-ditch efforts to find survivors.

The accident in southern Turkey was the latest to hit the country's disaster-prone mining industry after 301 workers were killed in a coal mine explosion in May.

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Erdogan Unveils Turkey's Controversial New Presidential Palace

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday unveiled a new presidential palace on the outskirts of Ankara that has been denounced as an environmental blight and evidence of his autocratic tendencies.

Erdogan hosted his first official event at the new palace, a ceremony congratulating dignitaries on the annual Republic Day marking the foundation of modern Turkey in 1923 out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire.

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