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Last update: Tue, 03 May 2016 11am

Middle East

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Syria peace talks to resume on April 11: UN GENEVA: Syria peace talks will likely resume in Geneva on April 11, but regime negotiators will only arrive several days later after the completion of parliamentary elections in the country, the UN said Tuesday. United Nations mediator Staffan de Mistura had previously said he wanted to restart the talks on April 9, but noted there was flexibility in the timeline. UN spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told journalists that de Mistura "expects to start on the 11th" by meeting with the main opposition High Negotiations Committee (HNC). De Mistura is leading indirect negotiations, meaning the various have so far not met face-to-face.Before the previous round of talks paused on March 24, President Bashar al-Assad's representatives had said they would not return to Geneva until after the elections on April 13.The UN does not recognise Syria's upcoming vote and is trying to strike a peace deal that will see fresh general elections, with ...

World - Middle East

UAE court jails Lebanese 'Hezbollah' trio ABU DHABI: An Emirati court sentenced on Monday three Lebanese, including a Canadian dual national, to six months in prison for forming a local affiliate of Iran-backed Hezbollah, local media said.The supreme federal court convicted the trio of "forming a group for the terrorist Hezbollah (movement) in the country," Ittihad daily reported, adding that they will be deported after serving their sentences.They "were found guilty of setting up an office of the militant group in ...

World - Middle East

US, allies conduct 24 strikes against Islamic State: US military WASHINGTON: The United States and its allies conducted two dozen strikes against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria on Sunday, the coalition leading the operations said.In a statement released on Monday, the Combined Joint Task Force said 14 strikes near seven cities in Syria, almost half of them near Al Hawl, hit several tactical units and destroyed vehicles, buildings and improvised explosive devices.In Iraq, 10 strikes near seven cities denied Islamic State access to terrain ...

World - Middle East

First Syrians arrive in Germany under EU-Turkey pact HANOVER: The first Syrians arrived in Germany from Istanbul on Monday under a controversial EU-Turkey migrant pact, an official from the German federal refugee office told AFP.The 16 asylum seekers flew into the northern city of Hanover and were to be taken to a refugee shelter about 140 kilometres (90 miles) away. A second group of Syrians was to arrive in Hanover around midday, the official added. The representative from the Federal Office for Migration ...

World - Middle East

Suicide bombings, mortar fire kill 12 in Iraq: officials BAGHDAD: Three suicide bombers targeting Iraqi forces and mortar fire that struck houses near Baghdad killed at least 12 people on Monday, security and medical officials said.The morning attacks also wounded at least 54 people, the sources said.One bomber targeted a joint police and army checkpoint in north Baghdad, while two others struck pro-government paramilitaries on a street in Mishahada, north of the capital, and in a restaurant outside the southern city of Nasiriyah.Mortar fire ...

World - Middle East

Syria opposition sees US 'ambiguity' on Assad future PARIS: A Syrian opposition figure on Sunday criticised perceived "American ambiguity" on the future of President Bashar al-Assad and urged Washington to confirm he will not be "rehabilitated" in a future government."We have American ambiguity that is very damaging for us," Bassma Kodmani, member of the main opposition High Negotiations Committee which attended last month's peace talks in Geneva.The committee has rejected Assad's demand for any transitional government to include his regime as Syria struggles ...

World - Middle East

Syrian forces seize Islamic State-held town near Palmyra BEIRUT: Syrian and allied forces, backed by Russian air strikes, drove Islamic State militants out of the town of al-Qaryatain on Sunday after gradually encircling it over the past few days, state media said.Surrounded by hills, al-Qaryatain is 100 km (60 miles) west of the ancient city of Palmyra, which government forces recaptured from Islamic State last Sunday.Al-Qaryatain had been held by the militant group since late August. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been trying ...