Despite ongoing violence involving the Lebanese group Hezbollah, Syria's regime has signalled that it is ready to talk peace.
A regime offensive in southern Syria has threatened to displace thousands near the Jordanian border. The US has warned Damascus of upending a ceasefire in the area, saying it will take "firm and appropriate measures."
Angela Merkel is set to meet with leaders in Jordan and Lebanon. The two countries have the world's highest number of refugees per capita — an issue expected to be a central theme of the German chancellor's trip.
Lebanon's foreign minister has accused UNHCR workers of "spreading fear" and hindering the return of Syrian refugees. Lebanon says their presence has strained public services.
Hezbollah emerged alarmingly strong from Lebanon's parliamentary elections, writes Kersten Knipp. The party is likely to aggravate tensions in the Middle East and take a whole country hostage with its policies.
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