April 25, 2013 |
BEIRUT - The Syrian government says its forces this week seized a strategic township east of Damascus after weeks of fighting, but some opposition activists dispute the asserted regime victory. Several official Syrian press outlets reported that government troops had assumed "total control" of Otaiba, considered an important supply hub for opposition forces based in the Ghouta region. Forces opposed to President Bashar Assad's government have for months been closing in on Damascus, the capital, from suburban and rural areas.
May 18, 2010 |
When the Obama administration came to power, it began to dismantle the diplomatic "box" that had been built around Syria, a box meant to isolate it for its destabilizing behavior in Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories. Administration officials argued that the international will to pressure Syria no longer existed and that an attempt at distancing it from Iran was worthwhile. The United States' gentler approach has included sending senior officials to Damascus, refraining from public criticism of President Bashar Assad and his government, and nominating a U.S. ambassador to Syria for the first time in five years.
August 22, 2012 |
BEIRUT - Syrian opposition activists reported heavy shelling Wednesday in Damascus, the capital, as authorities in neighboring Lebanon said a cease-fire had taken hold in a city in that country that has become a center for spillover violence. The Syrian military has mounted a campaign this week to root out rebel fighters and sympathizers in several areas of Damascus and its suburbs, including the Kfar Souseh and Nahr Aisha districts, according to antigovernment activists. The shelling of the two districts Wednesday could have been aimed at opposition mortar teams that have recently targeted a military airport, the Associated Press reported.
April 16, 2010
Israeli officials this week accused Syria of providing the armed Islamic group Hezbollah with medium-range Scud missiles, which would make the Lebanese militants the first irregular army to possess such weapons, and would enable them to target virtually all of Israel. U.S. officials have not confirmed that the weapons were actually delivered, and Syria adamantly denies the charge. Israel and Syria each are warning that the other is preparing for war, raising concerns about a new military conflict in the region and prompting Republican calls for President Obama to delay sending a U.S. ambassador to Damascus for the first time in five years.
August 17, 2012 |
BEIRUT - At least 60 charred bodies were found Thursday in a suburb of the Syrian capital of Damascus in what activists described as another massacre committed by government forces. The bodies, all with their hands tied behind their backs, were found in a landfill in Qatna. Online video showed twisted corpses, some of them still burning. Hours after the discovery, opposition activists were still trying to find out who the victims were and what happened. Those slain in Qatna were among an estimated 200 people killed across Syria on Thursday as the daily death toll in the ongoing conflict between opposition fighters and President Bashar Assad's forces continues to rise.
April 18, 2012 |
BEIRUT - United Nations monitors in Syria on Wednesday witnessed government forces shooting at protesters in a suburb of Damascus, the capital, activists said. At least 20 protesters were injured, four critically, and a U.N. vehicle was damaged during the incident in Arbeen, an activist group said. Thousands of residents had surrounded U.N.-marked vehicles to speak with the monitors or to chant slogans critical of President Bashar Assad's government. But soon, activists said, regime forces began shooting at the protesters and throwing nail bombs.
February 12, 2012 |
As the evening call to prayer sounded through the alleyways of old Damascus, the aging storyteller known as Abu Shadi clambered into an elevated chair at the Nawfara cafe, slipped on a pair of rimless reading glasses and turned to the page where he'd left off. An expectant silence settled over the smoke-filled room, interrupted by the clink of coffee cups and tea glasses. For two decades, Abu Shadi has regaled his audience of shopkeepers, university students and tourists with epic tales of war and romance, heroes and rogues from the classics of Arabic literature.
February 19, 2010 |
Five years ago this month, Washington withdrew its ambassador to Damascus to protest the Assad regime's presumed role in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. For the State Department, which instinctively believes in the power of diplomacy, yanking its top diplomat was equivalent to the nuclear option. But after decades of Syrian targeting of Americans and Washington's regional allies, the Hariri slaying proved a bridge too far. On Tuesday, President Obama nominated Robert Stephen Ford to be the new ambassador to Syria.
February 19, 2012 |
Thousands of mourners braved a snowstorm and heavy security presence to march Saturday through a strategic Damascus neighborhood, turning a funeral procession into a bold opposition statement in a Syrian capital that has remained largely loyal to President Bashar Assad. The march, in the upscale Mezzeh district, started out peacefully but turned violent, opposition activists said, as security men unleashed barrages of live rounds. At least one person was reported killed and several injured, though there was no official confirmation.
December 22, 2012 |
BEIRUT - A car bomb exploded in eastern Damascus on Saturday, an insurgent spokeswoman said, and the Syrian government reported that a gunman killed a state television journalist in the capital. The car bomb exploded in the capital's Kaboun area and left six people dead and 10 wounded, an opposition spokeswoman in Damascus identified as Lena Shami said by Skype. There was no way to independently confirm the death toll. The official Syria Arab News Agency also reported the bombing, blaming terrorists, the government's usual description of rebels seeking to overthrow President Bashar Assad.