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Syrian presidential election law excludes most opposition leaders

By Stephen Kalin BEIRUT (Reuters) - Syria's parliament has set residency rules for presidential candidates, state media said on Friday, a move that would bar many of President Bashar al-Assad's foes who live in exile as the uprising in the major Arab state enters its fourth year.

U.N. appeals to Russia, U.S. to salvage Syria peace talks

By Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed to Russia and the United States on Wednesday to help revive stalled peace talks aimed at ending Syria's three-year-old civil war, saying it was time to put an end to the bloodshed that has torn Syria apart. "Syria is now the biggest humanitarian and peace and security crisis facing the world, with violence reaching unthinkable levels," Ban's press office said in a statement issued on the third anniversary of the Syrian uprising.

Family of freelance Canadian photographer says he was killed in bomb attack in Syria

BEIRUT - The sister of a Canadian freelance photographer says her brother was killed in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Justina Rosa Botelho says 29-year-old Ali Moustafa of Toronto was killed in a bomb attack Sunday. Botelho says she learned of his death after activists sent her a photograph of her brother's corpse. Botelho spoke to The Associated Press by telephone. Aleppo-based activist Abu Hassan al-Marea also confirmed that Moustafa was killed after a crude barrel bomb landed near where he and firefighters were standing.

Syria opposition 'not yet ready for Arab League seat'

Syria's seat at the Arab League will remain vacant until the opposition completes the formation of its institutions, the pan-Arab group's secretary general Nabil al-Arabi said on Sunday. "The last Arab summit in Doha in March 2012 adopted the principle of granting Syria's seat within the League to the opposition, but it has not yet established its institutions and must take further steps in this regard," Arabi said after a meeting of the Arab Ministerial Council.

Syria opposition 'not yet ready for Arab League seat'

Syria's seat at the Arab League will remain vacant until the opposition completes the formation of its institutions, the pan-Arab group's secretary general Nabil al-Arabi said on Sunday. "The last Arab summit in Doha in March 2012 adopted the principle of granting Syria's seat within the League to the opposition, but it has not yet established its institutions and must take further steps in this regard," Arabi said after a meeting of the Arab Ministerial Council.

Canadian photographer killed in Syria dedicated to documenting injustice: sister

TORONTO - The sister of a Toronto photojournalist killed in a Syrian air strike says he worked tirelessly to document for the world the "tragedies" carried out in the volatile region. A Syrian activist says Ali Moustafa, 29, was killed alongside seven other people Sunday after Syrian government aircraft dropped two explosive-laden containers in the rebel-held Hadariyeh area of Aleppo. Moustafa's sister, Justina Botelho, says the freelance photographer had been in Turkey in recent weeks but made his way into Syria to record the unrest in that country's ongoing civil war.

Syrian journalist killed covering fighting: Al Mayadeen TV

DUBAI (Reuters) - A Syrian journalist has been killed covering clashes between government forces and opposition fighters in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor, a regional broadcaster said. Beirut-based Al Mayadeen said on its website that its cameraman Omar Abdelqader was shot in the neck on Saturday and was pronounced dead in hospital shortly afterwards. Syria was the deadliest place for journalists in 2013 for the second year, the Committee to Protect Journalists, a media rights group based in New York, said in December.

Charity video turning London into Syria goes viral

A charity's video transposing the effects of the Syrian civil war onto an ordinary girl growing up in London has gone viral on the Internet. Save the Children UK's 94-second clip, released on Wednesday, had racked up around 14 million hits on the YouTube video-sharing website by Saturday. The clip invites viewers to imagine "if Britain were Syria". Starting with the smiling girl blowing out nine candles on a birthday cake, it shows one-second glimpses of her life, which slowly changes from playing with toys and learning the recorder as war takes hold.

Six dead in Syria raids on Yabrud

Syrian helicopter gunships killed at least six people Friday when they dropped barrel bombs on the strategic rebel stronghold of Yabrud, close to the Lebanese border, a monitoring group said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attacks followed a string of raids by regime warplanes around the town, which the army is trying to recapture. The raids came a day after loyalists backed by Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite movement, killed at least 17 Islamist fighters in the battle for Yabrud.

Syrian warplanes pound key rebel area

Syrian warplanes pounded an area near the rebel-held town of Yabrud near the Lebanese border Friday, a day after at least 17 jihadists were killed in fighting there, a monitor said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Islamist fighters were killed during an offensive by loyalist forces backed by Hezbollah, aimed at seizing hills surrounding Yabrud, which is north of Damascus. Regime aircraft launched six raids on the Al-Aqaba region on Friday, according to the Britain-based watchdog, which relies on reports from activists and medics on the ground.
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