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*City seen as bastion of loyalty to Assad before uprising. *Businessmen hit by attacks, kidnapping, extortion. AMMAN, Oct 24- Top Syrian businessman Fares Shehabi says he lives in constant fear of being kidnapped by rebels fighting loyalist forces for control of his home city Aleppo.
AMMAN, Jordan-- The foiling of a planned al-Qaida terror plot in Jordan underscores a new subplot in the story of the Arab Spring: Things are heating up for King Abdullah II, a Western-oriented monarch who has run a business-friendly, pragmatic monarchy with some trappings of democracy.
GAZA- The Emir of Qatar embraced the Hamas leadership of Gaza on Tuesday with an official visit that broke the isolation of the Palestinian Islamist movement, to the dismay of Israel and rival, Western-backed Palestinian leaders.
Showtime series "Homeland," is supposed to be Beirut. But it is really in Israel, a country similar enough in some areas to stand in for Lebanon, yet a world away in most other respects. And in Israel, some are peeved that Haifa and even Tel Aviv _ a self-styled nightlife capital and high-tech hub _ apparently appear, to outsiders at least, to be Middle Eastern after all.
BEIRUT-- Syrian warplanes hammered a strategic city captured by rebels, leaving behind scenes of carnage captured Thursday on amateur videos that showed a man holding up two child-sized legs not connected to a body and another carrying a dismembered arm.
BEIRUT-- Syrian activists say a string of government airstrikes on rebel areas in the country's north has killed at least 20 people, leveled buildings and forced residents to dig through mounds of rubble in search of survivors.
BEIRUT-- Syria's state news agency says rebels have blown up two oil and gas pipelines in the northeast near the Iraqi border. The pipelines ran between Deir al-Zour and the city of Palmyra in central Syria. Rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar Assad have repeatedly bombed such pipelines.
CAIRO-- Syria's wealthy, long cultivated by President Bashar Assad as a support for his regime, are seeing their businesses pummeled by the bloody civil war. Assad may not have lost the backing of Syria's business elite, but some are losing faith.
DAMASCUS, Oct 11- Syria said on Thursday a Damascus- bound plane forced to land in Ankara by Turkish fighter jets while en route from Moscow had been carrying legitimate cargo. The Foreign Ministry said the Turkish action violated international law and showed Ankara's "hostile policy" towards Syria.
DAMASCUS, Oct 11- Syria said on Thursday a Damascus- bound plane forced to land in Ankara by Turkish fighter jets while en route from Moscow had been carrying legitimate cargo. "The plane was not carrying any illegal material," Ghaida Abdulatif, head of Syrian Arab Airlines, told reporters in Damascus. "
BEIRUT, Oct 11- Syria's transport minister accused Turkey on Thursday of "air piracy" after Turkish fighter planes forced down a Syrian passenger jet flying from Russia to Damascus, Lebanon's al-Manar Television reported. The channel quoted minister Mahoumd Said as saying the move amounted to "air piracy which contradicts civil aviation treaties."
*Southerners: unity a failure, we can handle al Qaeda ourselves. Secessionists in the south, Houthi Islamist tribal rebels in the north and al Qaeda militants all benefited from the popular upheaval in the Arabian Peninsula country that ousted veteran strongman president Ali Abdullah Saleh in February.
*Russia and Iran will not give up on Assad for now. Posted on the Facebook page of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, it shows the first lady Asma, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, accompanying her daughter and three sons on their first day back at school. Russia and Iran continue to back Damascus.
BEIRUT-- In Syria's cities and towns, entire blocks of apartment buildings have been shattered, their top floors reduced to pancaked slabs of concrete. Although there are some pockets of Syria that have been relatively shielded from the conflict, the destruction in most of the country's major cities is staggering.
BRUSSELS, Oct 9- NATO has plans in place to defend Turkey against attack from Syria, and will aim to provide assistance if Ankara asks for it, senior officials said on Tuesday. NATO ambassadors threw their support behind Turkey in an emergency meeting last week after Syrian shells struck a border town in Turkey killing five civilians.
BEIRUT-- An official said Tuesday that an employee of Lebanon's national airline MEA was fired after a passenger complained in a social media campaign that the worker humiliated travelers from the Philippines at the Beirut airport and told them over the loudspeaker, "Filipino people, stop talking."
*Fifteen firms, consortium bid for Cyprus offshore blocks. NICOSIA, Oct 9- Cyprus is close to short-listing companies bidding for offshore oil and gas contracts in the energy-rich east Mediterranean, officials said on Tuesday.
BRUSSELS, Oct 9- The head of NATO said on Tuesday that the 28- member military alliance had plans in place to defend Turkey against attack from Syria if necessary, but that he hoped the two countries would find a way to stop tensions escalating.
WASHINGTON-- Mitt Romney solely blamed President Barack Obama on Monday for potential defense cuts that Republicans in Congress worked out with the White House and Democrats and left the misimpression that Obama has ignored free trade initiatives.
DUBAI, Oct 7- Arqaam Capital, a Dubai- based emerging market investment bank, has agreed to buy a financial services firm in Libya to tap into economic growth as the country rebuilds after its civil war.