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Kidnapped Spanish journalists’ emotional reunion

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Ricardo García Vilanova and Javier Espinosa greeted with hugs and kisses from family members on arrival at Madrid airportIt was late afternoon yesterday when the families of Ricardo García Vilanova and Javier Espinosa got the reunion they had waited 194 days for. As the pair, tired and visibly skinnier, stepped off the plane at the Torrejón air base in Madrid, they were greeted with hugs and kisses from family members.It was Espinosa, the award-winning El Mundo journalist based in the Middle East since 2002, who broke the news that the ordeal was over. Just after 9pm on Saturday night, he called the newsroom after their captors had delivered them to Turkish authorities. “Hi, it’s Javier Espinosa,” he calmly told the receptionist.

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Spanish journalists freed in Syria after six-month ordeal

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Javier Espinosa and Ricardo Villanova Garcia released but Islamist extremists still hold over 40 other western hostagesTwo Spanish journalists kidnapped in northern Syria last September were freed by their captors on Saturday night, ending a six-month ordeal in the hands of an extremist Islamic group that continues to hold more than 40 other western hostages.Javier Espinosa, a veteran correspondent for the Spanish daily El-Mundo, and Ricardo Villanova Garcia, a freelance photographer working with him, were handed over to Turkish authorities near the Syrian town of Tal Abiyad, not far from where they were seized 194 days ago.

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Car bomb hits Lebanese army checkpoint

At least three soldiers killed in suicide car bomb attack on army checkpoint in border town of Arsal, officials say.

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Car bomb kills three soldiers in attack on Lebanese army checkpoint

Border town attack hit just hours after a speech by Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah

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Syrian crisis: where the US stands on Assad, the rebels and the refugees

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As the fourth year of conflict begins, the US prepares to reassess its policy with a Senate foreign relations committee this weekVladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula have dominated US foreign policy in the last few weeks, and President Barack Obama, at a European summit, lambasted the Russian leader for being a menace to the international system built over decades. But this Middle East returns to the agenda as the Senate foreign relations committee held a hearing Wednesday on “what’s next” for US policy in Syria after the latest round of failed peace talks in Geneva.Syria entered its fourth year of conflict in mid-March, with no signs it will abate soon. The regional nature of the conflict has alarmed many countries and international groups, as desperate refugees have fled abroad and armed clashes erupted along borders with neighboring countries.The situation and our options may have grown more complicated, but we believe there is still strong, bipartisan support in the Senate for developing and implementing a comprehensive Syria strategy, one that will break the stalemate on the ground and enable a political solution that paves the way for Assads exit.The Syrian government’s massive and indiscriminate use of violence is the single most important factor driving the humanitarian crisis The report is very clear on this and in pointing to the government’s failure to implement the resolution’s provisions.

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Syrian conflict put Bashar al-Assad’s home village under threat

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Syria’s civil war has edged closer to Bashar al-Assad’s home village, with opposition groups mounting their second sustained attack on the area. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Syrian rebels slowly advancing in Latakia

Clashes rage over another coastal town in northern province, days after rebels seized border crossing.

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UK ship to join Syria weapons convoy

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British warship HMS Montrose is to join a convoy transporting chemical weapons from Syria, Foreign Secretary William Hague says.

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Pope Francis Is Man of The Year

The new pontiff gets the nod over a shortlist that included Edward Snowden, Ted Cruz and Bashar al-Assad.

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Syria Will Attend Geneva Peace Talks

The Syrian government announced that a delegation will be approved by President Bashar al-Assad and that it does not intend “to hand over power to anyone.”

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Assad Says Foreign Support for Syrian Rebels Must End

A meeting between President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and the special United Nations envoy illustrated the wide gulf between the various sides in Syria’s conflict.

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Syrian Officials Sound a Conciliatory Note Toward the Opposition

In an interview, Qadri Jamil, a deputy prime minister, was critical of his government’s handling of the war, while President Bashar al-Assad told a German magazine that he had made mistakes.

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Snipers shoot at UN chemical weapons team in Syria

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Snipers shot at a UN team set to inspect the site of a suspected deadly chemical weapons attack on Monday, further ratcheting up tensions as the West warned of possible military action against Damascus. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Damascus dead have mouths full of foam

<!– google_ad_section_start –> They are among the most horrific images of the two-year Syrian civil war – many too shocking to show. Rows of pale lifeless bodies of children lined up on floors of makeshift hospitals and others with oxygen masks on their faces as paramedics attended to them. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Russia says Syria peace talks unlikely before October

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Russia wants a Syria peace conference to be held as soon as possible but it is unlikely to go ahead before October because there is a busy diplomatic schedule before then, a Russian diplomat said on Tuesday. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Rebel Groups Claim Assad Was Targeted in Mortar Attack

The Syrian government on Thursday denied claims from two rebel groups that they had attacked President Bashar al-Assad’s motorcade as he headed to a mosque in Damascus, the Syrian capital.

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Syria ballistic missiles killing hundreds including children, watchdog says

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Ballistic missiles used by the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad are killing many civilians, including children, an international rights group said on Monday. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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Syria’s Assad ‘sure of victory’ over rebels

<!– google_ad_section_start –> Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he was “sure of victory” over rebels fighting to topple him, in an Army Day message carried by state media on Thursday. <!– google_ad_section_end –>

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New July 2013