Results tagged “Syria”
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President Assad said he will not step down before elections. The father of the deputy foreign minister was kidnapped in Daraa. The rebel Judicial Council, which includes the Tawheed Brigade, al-Sham Liberals, and the Al Nusrah Front, clashed with another rebel group, the Ghurabaa al-Sham, which the Judicial Council had accused of plundering factories in Aleppo. Four Judicial Council members were killed, but the Ghurabaa al-Sham has retreated, and dozens of its members are being held captive by the Judicial Council. Rebels captured several Alawite villages in Hama.
Russia delivered advanced Yakhont antiship missiles to Syria under an existing contract; they have a range of some 180 miles. Two archbishops kidnapped by Arabic-speaking rebels on April 22 are still missing.
The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, released a video showing the terror group executing 11 captured Syrian troops. The US State Department intends to add Al Nusrah's emir, Sheikh Abu Muhammad al Julani, to the list of global terrorists. Russia has not abandoned efforts to broker a diplomatic solution to the conflict. A possible use of chemical weapons by government troops last month was reported.
Rebels detonated two car bombs simultaneously outside the central prison in Aleppo, attempting to free inmates, including al Qaeda members. The Free Syrian Army vowed to punish a member of the Farouq Brigade who was videotaped mutilating corpses. The UK and France have asked the UN to designate the Al Nusrah Front a terrorist organization. The UN passed a nonbinding resolution calling for a political transition in Syria.
A Syrian rebel attempted to defend his mutilation of the bodies of government fighters, shown on video. The Al Nusrah Front executed three captured army officers in Raqqa. The UN Human Rights Commissioner called for an investigation of alleged human rights abuses by rebel fighters. A new Syrian opposition group, called the Union of Syrian Democrats, was formed; it has 250 members and wants a civil, democratic state.
The opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the two-year conflict has killed at least 82,000 people so far and 12,500 are missing. The Assad regime, which is accused by both Turkey and the Syrian opposition of executing a recent deadly bombing in the Turkish border town of Reyhanli, denied responsibility for the attack. The Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, has established control over the provincial capital of Raqqah and its nearby oilfields. The UK plans to ask the UN to add Al Nusrah to its terrorist list. Four Filipino UN peacekeepers were released after being kidnapped by the rebel Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade.
A Russian official backtracked on the recently announced US-Russian plan to convene a meeting between the Assad regime and the opposition to resolve the conflict; he said holding such a meeting by the end of May is "impossible." The US ambassador to Turkey is said to have met with a rebel commander at a Turkish border crossing who asked the US to lift its arms embargo. Government forces and rebels battled over key highways linking the capital with Aleppo and Daraa.
Hezbollah leader Nasrallah said Syria will provide the terror group with "game-changing weapons" as a strategic response to Israeli airstrikes on Hezbollah weaponry in Syria. US Secretary of State Kerry warned that Russia's plan to supply Syria would destabilize Israel's security; he also said President Assad would not be part of any transitional Syrian government. The Syrian Army is trying to retake lost territory in Qusayr, Aleppo, and Idlib.
The rebel Yarmouk Martyrs Brigades seized four Filipino UN peacekeepers in the Golan Heights; the same group seized 21 Filipino UN peacekeepers in March, holding them for several days. The US and Russia agreed to try to convene a meeting later this month between the Assad regime and the opposition in an effort to resolve the Syrian conflict, which has killed over 70,000 people and displaced 4.25 million more inside the country.
Carla del Ponte, a leading member of the UN team investigating possible use of chemical weapons in Syria, said there were "strong concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof" that sarin gas had been used by Syrian rebels. The UN team later issued a statement stressing it had reached no conclusions, and the White House expressed doubts that the rebels had used chemical weapons. Israel said it is not on the side of the rebels, but Hezbollah claimed that recent Israeli airstrikes show Israel and the rebels have the same goals. As many as 100 Syrian solders are said to have been killed in the strikes. Rebels in the east shot down an army helicopter, killing all eight troops on board.
Israeli jets carried out the second strike in 48 hours, allegedly against Hezbollah stocks of Fateh-110 missiles supplied by Iran. A military research facility at Jamraya was targeted, as were areas near Maysaloun on the Lebanese border and the nearby Dimas air base. State media claimed the attacks caused massive damage and many casualties. The government condemned the attacks and warned that Israel had "opened the door to all possibilities."
Government forces launched intense assaults against rebel forces in Homs and Deir al Zour. Sectarian fighting raged in Qusair. A clash broke out in the Turkish border town of Akcakale between police and Free Syrian Army fighters trying to enter Turkey. The opposition Syrian National Council denounced Hezbollah's "threat" to intervene in Syria. Israel is growing more concerned that Syria's arsenal, including chemical weapons, may fall into the hands of Hezbollah or the "Islamists of the opposition," including the Al Nusrah Front.
A bomb attack in Damascus on the convoy of the Prime Minister killed six people but he escaped the assassination attempt. A UN team is investigating available information on the use of chemical weapons but has not been allowed into the country. A Free Syrian Army commander said Hezbollah is leading rebel forces in the town of Qusayr in Homs province.
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel said that the military has evidence that the Syrian government has used sarin twice "on a small scale." Young men from Kyrgyzstan are beginning to join rebel groups in Syria.
An Electricity Ministry official was killed by an IED attack on his car; several government officials have been assassinated in recent weeks. Two Syrian bishops abducted last week are still missing. Rebels have threatened to take the conflict into Lebanon.
Israel alleged that Syrian government forces had used chemical weapons, but US officials remained skeptical. Two Syrian bishops who had been abducted were reportedly freed; they are said to have been kidnapped by non-Syrians who spoke Arabic. The reports of their release have not been confirmed.
The EU for the first time relaxed Syrian sanctions, in order to ease shortages and provide economic support in rebel-held areas; the export of crude oil from those areas will be allowed, as will EU investments and the import of gas and oil technology. Gunmen kidnapped a Greek Orthodox bishop and an Assyrian Orthodox bishop as they traveled in a rebel-held area from Turkey to Aleppo; the gunmen killed the bishops' driver. Government forces are focusing on Damascus and strategic areas connecting the capital with Homs and the coast.
Clashes between the Al Nusrah Front and villagers from al Masreb in Deir Ezzour resulted in the deaths of 17 villagers and 20 Nusrah fighters; Al Nusrah also took 13 villagers captive and burned houses in the village. The director of the Aleppo mosque has disappeared since being taken by government forces on April 9. Heavy fighting continued in Homs near the contested town of Qusair, close to the border with Lebanon.
President Assad accused the West of supporting al Qaeda fighters in Syria and Libya, and warned that the militants would later strike back at the US and Europe. He also accused Jordan of allowing thousands of anti-regime fighters to enter Syria. US intelligence is reviewing allegations that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons. Rebels captured a military base in Homs.
Rebel forces repelled a government attempt in Idlib to capture the main highway into Aleppo; the artery remains contested. Rebels have advanced near the Turkish and Jordanian borders, while government forces have held on to central Damascus and over half of Homs. Tensions between Islamist and more moderate rebel forces are said to have hampered rebel efforts in Idlib. Many of the latter forces have moved on to towns in the northeast recently seized by Islamist brigades, including Raqqa. Four non-Syrian jihadists with the Al Nusrah Front were killed in Aleppo.