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Lebanese border towns become fuse for sectarian conflict

By Alexander Dziadosz ARSAL, Lebanon (Reuters) - From the Lebanese border town of Arsal, you can see the smoke as Syrian government warplanes bomb rebel positions across the frontier. But its problems are even closer. Arsal is Sunni Muslim and the neighboring town of al-Labwa is Shi'ite. Their fate shows just how dangerous the war in Syria has become for Lebanon as it still recovers from its own civil conflict.

4 dead in new Syria-linked clashes in Lebanon's Tripoli

The toll in renewed fighting in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli rose to four on Friday, as Syria-linked clashes flared again, a security source told AFP. In the east of the country, meanwhile, two shepherds -- one Lebanese, one Syrian -- were killed by fire from across the border in Syria. The deaths in Tripoli were the latest in a round of fighting between gunmen in the Sunni district of Bab el-Tebbaneh and fighters in the Alawite Jabal Mohsen neighbourhood.

Renewed Syria-linked clashes kill 2 in Lebanon's Tripoli

Two people were killed overnight in renewed clashes in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli tied to the conflict in neighbouring Syria, a security source told AFP on Friday. The deaths come a week after the latest round of clashes in the town began, pitting gunmen in the Sunni district of Bab el-Tebbaneh against fighters in the Alawite Jabal Mohsen neighbourhood. The source said one person was killed in Bab el-Tebbaneh and a second in Jabal Mohsen overnight, as gunmen fired from both sides.

4 dead in new Syria-linked clashes in Lebanon's Tripoli

The toll in renewed fighting in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli rose to four on Friday, as Syria-linked clashes flared again, a security source told AFP. In the east of the country, meanwhile, two shepherds -- one Lebanese, one Syrian -- were killed by fire from across the border in Syria. The deaths in Tripoli were the latest in a round of fighting between gunmen in the Sunni district of Bab el-Tebbaneh and fighters in the Alawite Jabal Mohsen neighbourhood.

French parents alone against Syria jihad recruiters

By Nicholas Vinocur and Pauline Mevel TOULOUSE, France (Reuters) - When Dominique Bons' timid son stopped smoking overnight and started praying frequently at his home in the southern French city of Toulouse, she alerted the authorities. They did nothing because Nicolas was not suspected of any crime. One day last year he disappeared. Then Bons was sent a text message saying the 30-year-old had been "martyred" on December 22 driving a truck bomb in the Syrian city of Homs.

Syria army retakes famed Crusader castle in border push

Syrian troops recaptured a famed Crusader castle from rebels Thursday, marking a significant advance in their drive to seal off the Lebanese border and sever enemy supply lines. The army "raises the flag of the nation over the Krak des Chevaliers castle in Homs province, after crushing the terrorists who were holed up there," state television said. Government forces entered the fort, held by the opposition since July 2011, after fierce clashes in the nearby village of Al-Hosn.

Evidence does not show British unlawfully killed Iraqi civilians-lawyers

LONDON (Reuters) - There is insufficient evidence to support allegations that British soldiers unlawfully killed Iraqis detained at an army camp in 2004, lawyers for relatives of the Iraqis said on Thursday. The Al-Sweady inquiry, which has cost 22.2 million pounds ($36.91 million) so far, was set up to investigate allegations by Iraqis that British soldiers captured up to 20 men alive and later killed them at an army camp, and that British soldiers mistreated up to nine detainees.

Over half Syria's chemical arms surrendered

Syria has surrendered more than half of its chemical weapons arsenal, the joint mission overseeing the dismantling of the banned stockpile said on Thursday. "As of today 53.6 percent of the Syrian Arab Republic's chemical weapons material has been removed from or destroyed in the Syrian Arab Republic," the joint mission said. The mission of the United Nations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said the milestone represented "important progress."

Syrian army retakes Crusader castle from rebels

By Oliver Holmes BEIRUT, Lebanon (Reuters) - Syrian soldiers have raised the national flag on the battlements of a 900-year-old Crusader castle after a three-month siege that ended on Thursday when rebel fighters fled. The recapture of Crac des Chevaliers, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a real and symbolic victory over divided rebel factions.

Syria army seizes famed Crusader fort in border push

Syrian regime forces seized the famed Crusader fort Krak des Chevaliers on Thursday, marking a significant advance in their drive to seal the Lebanese border and sever rebel supply lines. "The Syrian Arab Army raises the flag of the nation over the Krak des Chevaliers castle in Homs province, after crushing the terrorists who were holed up there," state television said. The government forces entered the fort, which had been under opposition control since July 2011, after fierce clashes in the nearby village of Al-Hosn.
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