Main headlines

February 16, 2014

Iraqi troops killed militants in Ramadi earlier this week as clashes continue between ISIS and government troops in Anbar province (Azhar Shallal/AFP)
09:45 GMT

An Al Qaeda fringe group has claimed responsibility for the death of 15 Iraqi military troops who were killed in their barracks this week near Mosul.

PM Tammam Salam used compromise to form the new Lebanese cabinet - Hezbollah are represented next to Sunni politicians in the new formation. (AFP/File)
08:59 GMT

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has congratulated Lebanon on the formation of the new Lebanese cabinet, and called on Premier Tammam Salam to bring stability to the restive Levant country.

At least 10 tunnels between Gaza and Egypt were destroyed this weekend as part of Egypt's effort to create a buffer zone on its shared border with the Palestinian territory (File Archive)
08:20 GMT

Egyptian authorities destroyed at least 10 tunnels and seven homes Saturday as part of its "new campaign to create a buffer zone" along its shared border with Gaza.

Aid agencies are struggling to bring relief to the thousands of suffering refugees in Yarmouk. (AFP/File)
08:13 GMT

A spokesman for the UN's Palestine refugee agency said Saturday that UNRWA has been unable to distribute aid in Yarmouk for the past week, leading to a potentially "life-threatening" situation for those trapped in the besieged camp.

Regime delegate Bashar Al Jaafari told reporters that the decision to put the opposition representatives on the terrorism list had nothing to do with the Geneva talks (Phillippe Desmazes/AFP)
07:59 GMT

Syria's government has added the Geneva talk's opposition delegates to a "terrorist list" and seized their assets.

Sabbahi is the only candidate that has officially announced his bid for the presidency thus far (Courtesy of The Cairo Post)
07:17 GMT

Leftist politician Hamdeen Sabbahi invited army chief Abdel Fattah El Sisi to take part in a debate ahead of Sisi's proposed presidential run.

Morsi's trial has been postponed on several occasions (File Archive)
07:00 GMT

Morsi's trial for espionage, along with other 35 co-defendants, is set to commence Sunday.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is working closely with Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu to bring about Mideast peace. (AFP/File)
06:48 GMT

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zihri criticized Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying he has no authority or negotiate with Israel and the U.S. on behalf of the Palestinian people.

February 15, 2014

Firefighters extinguish fire from Baghdad's historic Shorjah market, which dates to the Abbassid era over 700 years ago, after it was hit by two bomb blasts on February 13, 2014 killing at least two people and wounding at least 11. [AFP]
18:32 GMT

Iraqi troops backed by helicopter gunships fought on Saturday to retake full control of a northern town from militants who overran parts of it earlier this week, Reuters reported the mayor and other local officials as saying.

 A second round of peace talks between Syria's warring sides broke off on February 15, 2014 without making any progress and without a date being set for a third round, Brahimi said. [AFP]
13:18 GMT

U.N. mediator Lakhdar Brahimi on Saturday apologized to the people of Syria after the first two rounds of the peace talks in Geneva have not achieved any progress.

Syrian Arab Red Crescent workers offload aid from a lorry as Syrians evacuated from rebel-controlled districts that were besieged by the army, arrive at a government-ruled area, in the central Syrian city of Homs, on February 12, 2014. [AFP]
12:10 GMT

Fighters remaining inside besieged Old Homs and human rights workers say they fear an imminent government military onslaught aimed at eliminating the rebel-stronghold after a U.N.-brokered cease-fire and evacuation deal conclude

"Nobody has authorized you (Abbas) to speak on behalf of the Palestinian people, or on behalf of Hamas or any other faction," a spokesman of Hamas said. [AFP]
10:44 GMT

A spokesman for Hamas said Friday that the faction would regard any international military presence within a future Palestinian state as "occupation" forces.

Members of parliament from the ruling AK Party and the main opposition Republican People's Party scuffle during a debate on a draft law which will give the government tighter control over the appointment of judges and prosecutors, at a parliamentary session in Ankara on February 15, 2014. [AFP]
10:25 GMT

Turkey’s parliament on Saturday passed a contested bill giving the government more control over the judiciary, after violent scuffles broke out in the assembly, according to Agence France-Presse.

“There will be some intermediate steps that we can take to apply more pressure to the Assad regime.” Obama said on Friday. [AFP]
07:58 GMT

The United States is considering further steps to put pressure on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, President Barack Obama said on Friday.

US President Barack Obama listens while King Abdullah II of Jordan makes a statement for the press before a meeting at The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands February 14, 2014 in Rancho Mirage, California. [AFP]
07:36 GMT

U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday pledged $1 billion in loan guarantees for Middle East ally Jordan and the renewal of a five-year aid package.