Xinhua Middle East news summary at 2200 GMT, Jan. 2

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BEIRUT -- Deputy Speaker of Lebanese Parliament Elie Ferzli said Wednesday that a government will be formed before Beirut hosts the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit later this month, local media reported.

"We will witness the formation of the government in the coming few days before the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit," Ferzli told Voice of Lebanon radio channel. (Lebanon-Cabinet Formation)

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DAMASCUS -- A convoy of 30 vehicles carrying Kurdish fighters left Syria's northern city of Manbij on Wednesday toward areas on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River, the Syrian Defense Ministry said.

The withdrawal of the Kurdish fighters is part of a deal to "restore normal life to areas in the north of the country," the ministry said in a statement. (Kurds-Syria-Manbij)

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DAMASCUS -- The al-Qaida-linked militants captured 13 villages during the current battles with the Turkey-backed rebels in northern Syria, as the latter declared mobilization to face the al-Qaida-linked groups and retake all the fallen areas, the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen TV reported on Wednesday.

The Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the umbrella group of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front, attacked several villages on Wednesday and succeeded to advance in the battles against the Turkey-backed National Liberation Front (NLF), an alliance of Turkey-backed rebels, in the western countryside of Aleppo province in northern Syria, according to the report. (Syria-Turkey-Al-Qaida)

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KHARTOUM -- Sudanese parliament on Wednesday agreed on two presidential decrees extending state of emergency in Kassala State in eastern Sudan and North Kordofan State in western Sudan, Ashorooq net reported.

The parliament approved the extension of the state of emergency in the two states until June 20, 2019, the report said. (Sudan-Emergency) Enditem

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