February 15, 2014 |
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. - President Obama is weighing a "wide range of policy tools and options" for stepping up pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad to end his government's attacks on civilians and rebel forces, a senior White House official said Saturday. Obama is also looking at ways to counter the rising threat of Islamist extremists in Syria, said the senior advisor, who asked not to be identified while discussing internal deliberations. In his last planned public remarks of the weekend, Obama told reporters Friday that he was looking at options other than military ones.
February 13, 2014 |
When Omar Naasir wants a restful night's sleep in Aleppo, he says, he stays as close as possible to the front line of the ongoing clashes between Syrian rebel and government forces. Farther back in his rebel-controlled neighborhood, Naasir says, the risk of death greatly increases because of the barrel bombs and other explosives raining down daily amid the government's bombardment campaign. "Between us and the regime army is sometimes less than 100 meters, so they don't drop barrel bombs there so they don't strike their positions," he said via Skype, referring to the deadly oil drums filled with TNT. "With barrel bombs, there is a feeling of paralysis that is indescribable," said the former peace activist turned rebel.
January 29, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - Syria has delivered less than 5% of its deadliest chemical weapons agents to international authorities a week before a deadline to surrender the entire cache, officials said Wednesday. The government of President Bashar Assad, which is fighting a bitter civil war against insurgent militias, has transferred about 32 tons of the so-called Category 1 chemical agents to the Syrian port of Latakia, where it has been loaded onto ships for destruction at sea. But about 670 tons remain in collection points, and officials say it is unlikely that Syria will meet the Feb. 5 deadline.
January 24, 2014 |
We don't know their names but we know their numbers, and we can see the evidence of their torture, thanks to a former crime-scene photographer who says he became a reluctant documenter of murder "on an industrial scale" committed by Bashar Assad's regime in Syria. The photographer, code-named Caesar to protect his identity after his defection from Syria, says he worked in the military police for 13 years documenting crime scenes and accidents. But after the civil war began, Caesar says, Assad's government put his skill-set to a different use: photographing the bodies of detainees who had been killed by the regime.
January 5, 2014 |
AMMAN, Jordan - Infighting among Islamist antigovernment groups in northern Syria continued for a third day Sunday, as more moderate rebel factions engaged in a large-scale rout of an extremist group affiliated with Al Qaeda. The Mujahedin Army, a new coalition of ostensibly moderate Islamist groups, as well as factions affiliated with the Western-backed Free Syrian Army and the Islamic Front, consolidated their gains against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, in what activists hailed as a "second revolution.
December 26, 2013 |
One of the saddest unintended consequences of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has been the progressive de-Christianization of the country, home to churches that trace their lineage to the earliest days of the religion. In reporting on Christmas Day bombings in Christian areas of Baghdad, the New York Times noted that there were 1.5 million Christians in Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003 but that the number is now half that. The attrition of the Christian population may not have been foreseen by President George W. Bush (who, ironically, was suspected by some Muslims of plotting a literal "crusade" in the region)