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SANA (Syria), AL ARABIYA (UAE), FARS (Iran), BBC (UK)

Worldcrunch

Here are the latest developments on the Syrian conflict:

→Syrian state-run TV announced Monday morning that Prime Minister Riad Hijab had been sacked, amid rumors that he has defected to Jordan.

#Syria is controlled by security & army apparatus, PM is just a tool, yet his defection is good news indeed.

— Majd Arar (@MajdArar) August 6, 2012

→A bomb targeted Syria's state television and radio headquarters in Damascus Monday morning.

State-run Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported that Omran al-Zoubi, Minister of Information, said that there were no fatal injuries and that employees were safe.

"We know politically speaking who stands behind these terrorist operations and who funds them and who wants to silence the voice of the people's conscience…We know who wants destruction for this country and who wants to block the truth," said al-Zoubi.

Al-Zoubi has insisted that the pro-government television networks will continue to operate. A pro-government TV station, Al-Ikhrabiya, published a video showing workers inspecting the material damage in the third floor of the broadcasting center.

Al Arabiya published a video Saturday showing Syrian rebels who have kidnapped 48 Iranians, who they report are members of Iran"s Revolutionary Guard.

In the video, Free Syrian Army fighters announce that the men captured in Damascus were on a reconnaissance mission in the capital, whilst Iran's Fars News Agency has insisted that the Iranian captives are pilgrims.

→Tensions are high in Aleppo as 20,000 Syrian military troops are said to be preparing for an offensive on the country's largest city, the BBC reports.

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President Vladimir Putin will sign an agreement on the annexation of 18% of Ukrainian territories

Cameron Manley, Chloe Touchard, Sophia Constantino, and Emma Albright

Russian President Vladimir Putin will sign the annexation Friday of four occupied regions of Ukraine to become part of Russia, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced this morning.

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The Kremlin will host a ceremony on Friday where agreements will be signed on the annexation of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. Peskov said the ceremony would take place on Friday at 3 p.m. local time. Taken together the regions in the east and south make up 18% of Ukraine’s territory. The move follows the 2014 annexation of Crimea, which many consider the less violent pre-cursor to Russia's all-out invasion of Ukraine.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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