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Syrian army recaptures falling military positions in Aleppo

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The Syrian army recaptured military positions the rebels had stormed earlier on Saturday in southern Aleppo province in northern Syria, according to pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV and a military source.

A military source told Xinhua on condition of annoying that the Syrian army restored positions the rebels stormed earlier in the day at the Artillery College base in the southern countryside of Aleppo.

He added that large numbers of the rebels were killed, while the rest were from positions they stormed an adjacent military college near the artillery base.

The source said the Syrian forces and allied fighters are targeting the withdrawing rebels with heavy artillery.

Meanwhile, pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV cited its reporter in Aleppo as confirming that the rebel were no longer in control of any part of the military colleges.

The TV also stated that the rebels could not take control over the al-Ramuseh town, whose control would enable them to break the government forces’ siege on the rebel-held eastern part of Aleppo.

Still, battles are still raging back and forth and the decisive results are yet to appear clearly.

Earlier in the day, the Syrian air force intensified airstrikes on the areas the rebels stormed inside the artillery collage, also cutting all routes the rebels could possibly open into Aleppo city, the national Syrian TV said.

The airstrikes destroyed tens of vehicles with their occupants on several routes that could lead the rebels into breaking the government siege on the eastern part of Aleppo city.

The report said the airstrikes isolated the battle sites in the vicinity of the military colleges in southern Aleppo, supporting the ground operations fought by the Syrian army against the sites infiltrated by the rebel groups in parts of the artillery college base.

“The airstrikes paralyzed the movement of the terrorist groups southwest of Aleppo, cutting by fire all routes into the city,” said the TV.

The fresh development came after an array of extremist groups, mainly the Fateh Army, succeeded to storm parts of the artillery college base in southern Aleppo, engaging in intense battles with the Syrian army in that base and the adjacent military colleges.

The aim of the rebels was to open a route from the al-Ramuseh town in southwest Aleppo into the besieged rebel-held areas in eastern Aleppo.

Last month, the Syrian army intensified battles against the rebels in Aleppo, cutting their last supply route into the eastern part of that city, in a bid to force them to surrender.

But battles flared as several rebel groups in Aleppo unleashed repeated attacks to break that siege.

Middle East

UN appeals for countries to take in 1,300 Libyan refugees

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Libyan refugees

The UN has appealed to countries worldwide to take in 1,300 mainly African refugees stranded in Libya. Many of them were mistreated while being detained appalling conditions.

Niger has agreed to temporarily host the most vulnerable of the evacuees, including unaccompanied children and single mothers, pending their processing and departure for resettlement, Reuters said.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Monday that it “urgently requests 1,300 places for resettlement” to be made available by the end of March. The UNHCR intends to evacuate between 700 and 1,300 people from Libya to Niger by the end of January 2018.

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Middle East

‘Don’t buy from Arabs’, says Israeli Defense Minister

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Avigdor Lieberman

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has called on his fellow citizens to boycott the Palestinian market of the Wadi Ara region of north-east Israel, after riots broke out there on Saturday over the American decision to move their embassy to Jerusalem.

Three people were injured when protesters began hurling stones at a bus. “I am calling for a boycott of Wadi Ara. Don’t go there and don’t buy there. They need to understand that it is impossible to demonstrate with Hezbollah flags, Palestinian flags and pictures of [Hezbollah leader Hassan] Nasrallah.

To accept billions from the National Insurance [Institute] and to also destroy us from within,” Haaretz quoted Lieberman telling Army Radio.

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Hamas leader calls for ‘new intifada in the face of Israel’

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Ismail Haniyeh

Palestinian Islamist group Hamas has called for a new uprising against Israel following US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital of the Jewish state.

“We should call for and we should work on launching an intifada in the face of the Zionist enemy,” said Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, in a speech in Gaza Thursday, Reuters reports.

Anti-US protests erupted almost immediately after Trump’s declaration Wednesday, with Palestinians first to take to the streets, calling for three days of rage against the move.

World leaders expressed serious concern over the decision and its potential to destabilize the region.

The decision has been welcomed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who thanked Trump, and said he be believes “many” other nations will follow suit in recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Pope Francis said he could not “remain silent” and spoke of his “great anxiety” surrounding the decision, while the EU voiced “serious concern.”

“I cannot remain silent about my deep concern for the situation that has developed in recent days,”Francis said at his weekly general audience at the Vatican.

“Jerusalem is a unique city,” he added, “sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, where the Holy Places for the respective religions are venerated, and it has a special vocation to peace.”

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