World Bulletin/News Desk
Lebanon's army said on Friday it was stepping up security at religious sites and other public places over the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday after a spate of kidnappings in Beirut and protests which blocked the airport road.
"Army units started taking exceptional security measures in the vicinity of religious places, main roads, shopping areas and tourist attractions," the army said in a statement.
A Lebanese Shi'ite clan kidnapped 20 Syrians and a Turkish businessman this week, saying it was holding them to secure the release of a relative captured by Syrian rebels in Damascus.
Sectarian tensions are already running high in Lebanon over the uprising in neighbouring Syria, where mainly Sunni Muslim rebels are seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, whose Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shi'ite Islam.
Eleven Shi'ite Lebanese men have been held in northern Syria by Syrian rebels for more than three months. Families of the captives burned tyres and blocked the Beirut airport road on Wednesday night after reports that some of their relatives had been wounded in a government air strike.
A new oil contract will replace a buy back programme and new joint ventures with international companies once the sanctions are lifted next year
At least five Russian airstrikes have targeted humanitarian aid trucks coming from Turkey to aid Syrian refugees in the past two days
Turkmen factions have launched a ground offiensive and have made noticable advances against Assad regime forces
Israeli Foreign Ministry director visits United Arab Emirates' capital Adu Dhabi to finalize opening of mission
Five people are killed when Russian warplanes strike targets in opposition-held area of Syria's northwestern Idlib province
At least 180,879 civilians have been killed by the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria since March 2011, Syrian Network for Human Rights says
Saudi Arabia has long been deeply suspicious of Hezbollah, a close ally of its regional rival Iran
Thousands of Turkmen reportedly displaced by ongoing assaults by regime and Russian warplanes in Syria's predominantly-Turkmen Bayirbucak region
A dozen people killed in separate bombings and shooting attacks across war-torn Iraq, local sources report
'Next week, I expect to provide my final assessment on all past and present outstanding issues,' International Atomic Energy Agency head Yukiya Amano says
Syrian Network for Human Rights says 20,000 women have been killed in the Syrian conflict, wıth almost 95 percent of them by Assad regime
Regime offensive comes one day after Turkmen fighters retook control of Kizildag town
Russian planes have carried out at least 12 strikes in the area where Turkey downed their fighter jet
The second pilot who ejected from the fighter jet shot by Turkish forces has been picked up by the Syrian army
Sources report that first pilot was killed by opposition forces who shot at him as he landed after ejecting from the plane
Turkish reports say incident happened in border area between Turkey's southern Hatay province and an area in northwest Syria populated by the Turkic-speaking Turkmen minority