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Palestinian Leader in Syria for Talks, Ahead of Lebanon Visit

Syrian Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa (r) receives Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is in Syria for talks with President Bashar al-Assad and meetings with leaders of some exiled Palestinian factions.

The Damascus visit is expected to include a meeting between Mr. Abbas and the exiled head of the Palestinian militant group Hamas Khaled Meshaal. Sources say he is also is likely to meet with officials from the militant Islamic Jihad organization.

Mr. Abbas' Fatah movement has lost political ground to Hamas in recent elections in the Palestinian territories, and has postponed parliamentary polls that originally were set for July 17.

Mr. Abbas visits Lebanon Friday for talks with Palestinian refugee leaders in 12 camps across the country. He also is expected to hold talks with President Emile Lahoud on pledges to help Lebanon disarm militants in the camps.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.