Category Archives: Syria

Syrian civil war focuses on aid as foes meet for first time

Syrian opposition leaders and their foes, the Syrian government sit together for the first time at a round table in Geneva.

Syria’s civil war foes held their first face-to-face meetings on Saturday, launching talks aimed at ending nearly three years of conflict which has killed 130,000 people and destabilized the wider Middle East. Government and opposition delegates faced each other across a negotiating table at the United Nations headquarters for a total of three hours in the presence of mediator Lakhdar Brahimi, who described the meetings as “a good beginning”. While political differences which Brahimi says must form the core of their talks appear insurmountable for now, the two sides focused on Saturday on a possible humanitarian deal aimed at building confidence in the negotiating process. Brahimi said he hoped that … Continue reading

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Islamic Front fighters take over Free Syrian Army bases

Members of the Free Syrian Army attend a weapons training session outside Idlib, Syria

The Islamic Front, a recently formed Islamist alliance of several large groups that cooperate with al Qaeda in Syria, has driven Free Syrian Army forces out of bases and a warehouse at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing into Turkey. Late last month, the warehouse and its FSA commanders were taken over by the al Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham. Following an all-night battle between the Islamic Front and FSA units, today Islamic Front fighters seized FSA arms depots containing weapons that had come into Syria through Turkey, according to the activist Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. FSA spokesman Louay Meqdad said the Islamic Front fighters raised their … Continue reading

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Saudi Arabia refuses to take UN Security Council seat

Syrian President Bashar al Assad who is accused by Saudi Arabia of perpetrating the killings of his own people, including with chemical weapons.

Saudi Arabia has rejected to take over its rotating seat on the UN Security Council and says the 15-member body is incapable of resolving world conflicts. The move came just hours after the kingdom was elected as one of the council’s 10 non-permanent members. In a statement made on Friday by the official Saudi press agency, the Saudi foreign ministry said the council had failed in its duties toward Syria. “The kingdom sees that the method and work mechanism and the double standards in the Security Council prevent it from properly shouldering its responsibilities towards world peace,” the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency SPA. … Continue reading

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Russia’s President Putin plays Middle East peace broker

Russian President Vladimir Putin who in the past has sent his commandos to wipe out his opponents, is now playing world peace broker to stop a US attack on Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin has made a direct personal appeal to the American people over the Syrian crisis. He wrote in the New York Times that a US military strike against Syria could unleash a new wave of terrorism. The US had threatened strikes, accusing the Syrian regime of killing hundreds in a poison-gas attack on 21 August. Instead, Russia, an ally of Damascus, proposed that Syria hand over its chemical arsenal. The US and Russia are due to meet later to discuss that plan. The Syrian government, which denies that it has used chemical weapons on its own people, has agreed at least partially to the Russian proposal. The … Continue reading

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Obama set to attack Syria with or without congress approval

The United States Commander-n-Chief, Barack Obama is said to have already made up his mind to attack Syria.

A senior State Department official says US President Barack Obama has made up his mind to attack Syria even without congressional approval. “That’s going to happen, anyway,” the unnamed official said in an interview with Fox News. The official added that that was why Obama, in his Rose Garden remarks over the weekend, was careful to establish that he believes he has the authority to launch a military attack on Syria without congressional authorization. In a speech about Syria last week, President Obama said he will seek authorization from Congress when federal lawmakers return from recess on September 9.  “While I believe I have the authority to carry out this … Continue reading

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U.N. experts prepare to leave Syria, chemical probe needs time

A convoy of UN cars ferries UN inspectors to areas where the chemical attacks are said to have taken place.

A team of U.N. investigators has finished gathering samples and evidence related to a suspected chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of people in suburbs near Damascus last week and is packing up to leave, a U.N. spokesman said on Friday. The team will be leaving Syria on Saturday but will return later to investigate several other alleged poison gas attacks that have taken place in Syria during the country’s 2-1/2 year old civil war, U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said. “The samples that have been collected will be taken to be analyzed in designated laboratories and the intention of course is to expedite the analysis of that sampling that’s been … Continue reading

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Syria conflict: Top US general outlines military options

 using force in Syria would be "no less than an act of war"

The top US military officer has outlined the costs, risks and benefits of possible American military involvement in the Syrian conflict. Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen Martin Dempsey offered five military options, including limited strikes and establishing a no-fly zone. But he said using force in Syria would be “no less than an act of war” and could cost the US billions of dollars. Washington has so far ruled out military intervention in Syria. Its role in the conflict is currently limited to delivering humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees in neighbouring countries and providing non-lethal help to the Syrian opposition. In an open letter to senators, Gen Dempsey analysed … Continue reading

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Syria mediators ‘killed by pro-regime militiamen’

A Free Syrian Army fighter rests on a sofa as he watches television and surveillance monitors inside a room in Aleppo"s Karm al-Jabal district July 15, 2013.

At least six mediators have been killed by pro-government militiamen in the Syrian province of Homs, reports say. The men were reportedly trying to broker talks between Sunni Muslims and members of the minority Alawite sect in the area when they were shot dead. Two of the men were retired military officers, and another was an imam, according to a UK-based activist group. President Bashar al-Assad’s government is dominated by Alawites, while the uprising has been predominantly Sunni. A video posted online by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights purports to show the bodies of the six men and names them. The Observatory said they were trying to set … Continue reading

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Syria rebels want al Qaeda suspect to face trial

The killing of Kamal Hamami, also known as Abu Bassir al-Ladkani, has set liberal rebels and Islamists at each other

Syria‘s main rebel group said on Monday that it wanted an Islamic court to investigate the killing of one of its top commanders at the hands of foreign Islamist fighters last week. The call is the first official reaction by the Western-backed Supreme Military Council to the killing of Kamal Hamami, also known as Abu Bassir al-Ladkani, which has set liberal rebels and Islamists at each other’s throats. Rebel sources said Abu Ayman al-Baghdadi, the main suspect, is in hiding and there is no sign that he will be handed over to the court in the northern city of Aleppo by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, an … Continue reading

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Aleppo residents call for lifting of Syrian rebel siege

Syrian rebels fighting in Aleppo.

Dozens of Syrians in Aleppo have staged protests against a rebel siege of government-held areas in the city, residents have said. Rebels stopped supplies from entering western parts of the city in a bid to weaken the supply routes for President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, they add. They say the blockade has led to severe food and medicine shortages. The World Health Organization has urged Syrians to protect a convoy carrying medical supplies to the city. One protester was reportedly shot dead at a demonstration on Tuesday, according to the UK-based activist group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The group says it was not clear whether the man was shot … Continue reading

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