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Syria Troops Kill 20 a Day after Peace Plan Accord

Syrian troops killed 20 civilians and arrested dozens on Thursday, a rights watchdog said, a day after Damascus pledged to withdraw its forces from protest hubs under an Arab League plan to end the bloodshed.

"Twenty civilians were killed today in several neighborhoods of Homs where the sound of gunfire can still be heard," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights in a statement received by Agence France Presse.

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Syria Says Reached Agreement with Arab League on Roadmap

Syria and the Arab League have agreed on a roadmap to end violence in the country, Damascus said, but a top official of the regional organization said it was still awaiting Tuesday the expected formal response.

"Syria and the Arab League are in agreement over the final paper concerning the situation in Syria and the official announcement will be made at Arab League headquarters tomorrow (Wednesday)," Syrian state television and the SANA news agency said early Tuesday evening.

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Qatar to Hold Maiden Legislative Polls in 2013

Qatar will hold its maiden legislative polls in 2013, the emir of the Gulf state, which has backed pro-democracy uprisings elsewhere in the Arab world, said on Tuesday.

"We have decided to organize elections for Majlis al-Shura (consultative council) in the second half of 2013," Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani said addressing the all-appointed council, QNA state news agency reported.

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Mansour Stresses Respect for Lebanese-Syrian Agreements

Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mansour has stressed upon his return from Doha the importance of respect for agreements signed between Lebanon and Syria.

In remarks to As Safir daily published Tuesday, Mansour said he would return to Cairo on Wednesday to participate in the extraordinary meeting of the Arab League’s initiative committee to solve the situation in Syria.

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Qatar Emir Meets Muallem, Says 'Keen on Syria Stability'

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Monday held talks with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani on “the current situation in the Arab arena and the situation in Syria,” Syrian official news agency SANA reported.

Muallem and a Syrian delegation on Sunday held talks in Doha with an Arab League ministerial team on ways to end the unrest in revolt-hit Syria.

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Arabs Propose Plan to End Syria Unrest, Doha Warns against 'Maneuvers'

The Arab League on Sunday proposed a plan to end the bloodshed in Syria and expects President Bashar al-Assad's response on Monday, Qatar's foreign minister told reporters.

An Arab ministerial team "agreed on a serious proposal to stop the killing and all forms of violence in Syria," Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani told reporters after more than three hours of talks in Doha between a group of Arab foreign ministers and a Syrian team led by their Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem.

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Qatar Suggests Saudi, Iran Meet over Envoy 'Plot'

Qatar's Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani proposed on Sunday that Saudi and Iranian officials should meet over the alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi envoy to Washington, state media said.

"I think that the best and easiest way to solve this issue is for the two sides to meet," Sheikh Hamad, who also holds the foreign affairs portfolio, said after meeting Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, QNA state news agency said.

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Qatar Reveals for 1st Time that its Forces Joined Libya Rebels in Ground Battles

Qatar revealed for the first time on Wednesday that hundreds of its soldiers had joined Libyan rebel forces on the ground as they battled troops of veteran leader Moammar Gadhafi.

"We were among them and the numbers of Qataris on ground were hundreds in every region," said Qatari chief of staff Major General Hamad bin Ali al-Atiya.

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15 Freed Palestinian Prisoners Arrive in Qatar

Fifteen Palestinian prisoners released as part of a swap deal that saw Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit freed from five years of Hamas captivity arrived in the Qatari capital on Wednesday, an official said.

The freed prisoners landed in Doha on a specially chartered Qatari airplane at 3.00 am (00:00 GMT) and were greeted by Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Abdullah Mahmoud, the Palestinian diplomatic official told Agence France Presse.

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Qatari Emir Hails Syrian Opposition Council

Qatari emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani has hailed as an "important step" the creation of a Syrian opposition front, urging President Bashar Assad to talk to them after months of deadly protests.

"The (formation of the) Syrian National Council marks an important step" said the ruler of the energy-rich Gulf state in remarks aired on Wednesday by the Doha-based Al-Jazeera news channel.

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