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Syrians trade blame over 'poison' attack on town

Syrian state television and medical sources in central Hama province swapped accusations Saturday over an attack that reportedly caused "suffocation and poisoning" of residents. Medics quoted by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights NGO said people choking from poisoning had been hospitalised after air raids with barrel bombs Friday on the town of Kafr Zita. "Regime planes bombed Kafr Zita with explosive barrels that produced thick smoke and odours and led to cases of suffocation and poisoning," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said.

'Fiercest' fighting in Syria's Aleppo since mid-2012

Syrian troops battled rebels around a military intelligence base in Aleppo in what a monitoring group said Saturday was the fiercest fighting in the northern metropolis since mid-2012. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights director Rami Abdel Rahman said the overnight clashes were "the fiercest since the fighting began in Aleppo and the closest yet to the intelligence base in the Zahra neighbourhood."

Lebanon in vaccination drive against polio spreading from Syria

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon launched a fourth round of polio immunisation on Friday, trying to prevent the disease spreading from neighboring Syria along with the tide of refugees fleeing the three-year conflict. Protection against polio requires several vaccinations but aid workers are concerned that coverage in Lebanon has been falling off because parents were unaware of the need for multiple inoculation.

Iraq insurgents use water as weapon after seizing dam

FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - Insurgents in Iraq have added water to their arsenal of weapons after seizing control of a dam in the west of the country that enables them to flood certain areas and prevent security forces from advancing against them. The dam helps distribute water from the Euphrates river on its course through the western province of Anbar, and is located some 5 km south of the city of Falluja, which was overrun by militants early this year.

Ship ready to destroy Syria's chemical arms at sea

By Fiona Ortiz ON BOARD THE CAPE RAY, Spain (Reuters) - Experts on board a cargo ship transformed into a multi-million dollar chemical weapons destroyer said on Thursday they were ready to start working on Syria's stock of toxic arms in the middle of the Mediterranean as early as May. Now they just have to hope the weather holds and Damascus delivers on time.

At 'Donkey Springs', bombers choke off Iraq oil exports

By Ziad al-Sinjary and Ahmed Rasheed MOSUL/BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Militants whose bombs have shut Iraq's main northern oil export pipeline for 40 days are preventing repairs, threatening to extend an outage that is already the longest since the days of sanctions in the 1990s. Targeting the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline where it crosses a stretch of desert known as Ain al-Jahash, or Donkey Springs, the saboteurs - described as Islamists by Iraqi officials - have set several more bombs since a first blast halted oil on March 2.

Jazz guitar legend John McLaughlin plays for Palestine

The Palestinian territories are rarely a destination for jazz musicians let alone stars of an art form that is more at home in big cities such as New York and Chicago. Which makes the performance of jazz guitar legend John McLaughlin before a packed auditorium in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday night all the more remarkable. McLaughlin toured areas of the West Bank before enthralling the mostly local audience who attended his "solidarity concert" for Palestinians with a fusion of Western and Eastern sounds.

Twin car bombs kill 25 in Syria's Homs: state media

At least 25 people were killed on Wednesday when two car bombs exploded in the central Syrian city of Homs, the state-run SANA news agency reported. The attacks wounded another 100 people in the Karam al-Luz district, according to SANA, which blamed the bombings on "terrorists," the government's term for all those fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

Twin car bombs kill 25 in Syria's Homs: state media

At least 25 people, including women and children, were killed on Wednesday when two car bombs exploded in the central Syrian city of Homs, the state-run SANA news agency reported. The attacks wounded another 100 people in the Karam al-Luz district, according to SANA, which blamed the bombings on "terrorists," the government's term for all those fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

Twin car bombs kill 25 in Syria's Homs: state media

At least 25 people, including women and children, were killed on Wednesday when two car bombs exploded in the central Syrian city of Homs, the state-run SANA news agency reported. The attacks wounded another 100 people in the Karam al-Luz district, according to SANA, which blamed the bombings on "terrorists," the government's term for all those fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
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