Syria troops retake Christian town of Maalula

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Syrian regime forces retook the ancient Christian hamlet of Maalula in Damascus province on Monday, four months after mainly Islamist rebels overran it, a security official told AFP news agency.
Syria agreed to scrap its chemical weapons to avoid a possible military strike from the United States after an August chemical weapons attack on civilians outside Damascus. More than 1,400 people were killed. 
Responding to claims that poison gas was used again last week in Syria, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said the United States is trying to establish what really happened before it considers a response. 
Ambassador Samantha Power said Sunday the reports of poison gas use were "unsubstantiated," but the United States will do everything in its "power to establish what has happened and then consider possible steps in response."
Both sides in Syria\’s civil war accused the other of using gas in attacks Friday and Saturday.
In another development, United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay has condemned the use of torture in detention facilities in Syria.
A Monday statement from Pillay said her office has documented a pattern of torture and ill-treatment in facilities run by the government and some rebel groups. 
The abuses include rape, beatings, burnings and humiliation.
More than 140,000 people have been killed and another 2.5 million have fled the country since Syria\’s civil war began in March 2011. 
The conflict started with mass street protests against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and turned into an insurgency after a violent crackdown on demonstrators.
Source: Agencies

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