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Egypt Destroys Homes for Possible Gaza Buffer Zone

Updated: Sunday, September 1 2013, 08:56 AM EDT
Egyptian security officials and residents say the military has demolished 13 homes along the Gaza Strip border in the Sinai peninsula as a buffer zone is considered to reduce weapons smuggling and illegal crossings by militants.

Northern Sinai government officials said Sunday the military envisions creating a house-free zone with no trees 500 meters  (1640 feet) wide and 10 kilometers  (6 miles) long starting at the Rafah border crossing. The officials said the homes with tunnels underneath them were bulldozed over the last 10 days as a test of the idea.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The Egyptian military has closed much of the once-bustling tunnel system, but some remain at the 15-kilometer (9-mile) stretch of border.

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.Egypt Destroys Homes for Possible Gaza Buffer Zone

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The Syrian civil war, (also known as the Syrian uprising or Syrian crisis) is an ongoing armed conflict in Syria between forces loyal to the Ba'ath government and those seeking to oust it. A part of the larger Middle Eastern protest movement known as the Arab Spring, the conflict began March 15th, 2011 with local demonstrations that grew in scope to become nationwide by April 2011.

Protesters demanded the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, as well as the end of Ba'ath Party rule, which began in 1963.

The Syrian Army was deployed in April of 2011 to stop the uprising, and soldiers fired on demonstrators across the country. After months of cities and neighborhoods being cut-off by the Army the protests evolved into an armed rebellion.

The Arab League, United States, European Union, and other countries condemned the use of violence against the protesters. The Arab League suspended Syria's membership as a result of the government's response to the crisis, but granted the Syrian National Coalition, a coalition of Syrian political opposition groups, Syria's seat on 6 March 2013.

According to the UN, about 4 million Syrians have been displaced within the country and 2 million have fled to other countries.

Syrian government supporters include Russia and Iran, while Qatar and Saudi Arabia are providing material and weapons to the rebels.

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