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U.S. cautions citizens against travel via Baghdad airport due to 'specific threat'

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The U.S. Embassy in Iraq has cautioned its citizens against travelling via Baghdad airport through April 8 due to information regarding a "specific threat" to security, ahead of elections later this month. The statement said embassy personnel were prohibited from using Baghdad International Airport "at this time" and urged American citizens all across Iraq to remain on alert. No further details were given.

U.S. cautions citizens against travel via Baghdad airport due to 'specific threat'

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The U.S. Embassy in Iraq has cautioned its citizens against travelling via Baghdad airport through April 8 due to information regarding a "specific threat" to security, ahead of elections later this month. The statement said embassy personnel were prohibited from using Baghdad International Airport "at this time" and urged American citizens all across Iraq to remain on alert. No further details were given.

Jordanian policemen, Syrian refugees hurt in camp riots

Twenty-two Jordanian policemen and three Syrian refugees were hurt in clashes in a northern camp Saturday as police fired tear gas to disperse dozens of rioters, security officials said. Eyewitness said a Syrian refugee woman was killed in the rioting, which was denied in a statement by Public Security Directorate. "Dozens of Syrian refugees at the Zaatari refugee camp rioted after police detained a group of refugees after leaving the camp illegally," the statement said.

Mortar shells slam into Syrian capital

Mortar shells slammed into several areas of the Syrian capital on Saturday, with one hitting near the Russian embassy without causing injuries, a monitoring group said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also said regime troops battled rebels in Eastern Ghouta near the capital, while opposition forces tightened their siege of a military base in Idlib province of northwest Syria. The Observatory reported mortar fire near the Ummayad area and the Russian embassy in the upscale Mazraa neighbourhood of Damascus, with no casualties reported.

Alawite leader in Lebanon charged for 'terror ties'

A senior member of an Alawite party in Lebanon's restive northern city of Tripoli was charged Saturday with being part of an "armed terrorist group," a judicial source said. Rifaat Eid, the political leader of the Arab Democratic Party, was accused along with 11 others of "belonging to an armed terrorist group with the aim of carrying out terrorist acts," the source told AFP. They are also suspected of possessing weapons illegally, and "inciting sectarianism".

Lebanese Alawite leader, 11 others charged with "terrorist" activity

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Lebanon has charged a dozen people including a prominent Alawite leader with belonging to an "armed terrorist organization", judicial sources said on Saturday, part of a drive to control sectarian violence fuelled by the war in Syria. Around 30 people have been killed in the past month in Lebanon's northern coastal city of Tripoli in clashes between Sunni Muslims and members of the Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam to which Syrian President Bashar al-Assad also belongs. The rebels fighting Assad's forces are mostly Sunni.

Turkey returns artillery fire into Syria

Turkey on Friday fired artillery into Syria to retaliate after cross-border shelling hit its territory without causing injuries or damage, the army said. "Six shells hit in Yayladadi in Hatay province and caused no damage," said the Turkish armed forces in a statement. "In accordance with the rules of engagement, Turkish artillery shelled the area where the fire originated." Turkey, a staunch opponent of the Damascus regime, hosts about 800,000 refugees from the three-year-old Syrian conflict, many of them in camps along the border.

Syrian forces step up anti-rebel operations

Regime tanks and warplanes pounded besieged Mleiha east of Damascus on Friday, pressing a campaign to take control of the opposition-held town, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Syrian warplanes also raided a rebel-held district in the northern city of Aleppo, killing at least 11 people, and 22 were wounded when mortar rounds slammed into central Damascus, the monitor said. In Mleiha at least eight fighters, including a rebel commander, were killed in fierce fighting with government forces, said the Britain-based Observatory.

Deadline risk over Syria weapons delay

Syria can still meet a June deadline for getting rid of its chemical weapons, but to do so must resume stalled weapons transfers now, an international coordinator told the UN Security Council Thursday. Syria has suspended the transfers for what it says are security reasons, but on Sunday said it planned to resume them in the "coming days."

Deadline risk over Syria weapons delay

Syria can still meet a June deadline for getting rid of its chemical weapons, but to do so must resume stalled weapons transfers now, an international coordinator told the UN Security Council Thursday. Syria has suspended the transfers for what it says are security reasons, but on Sunday said it planned to resume them in the "coming days."
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