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WORLD
March 28, 2014 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
HOMS, Syria - On the ragged fringes of the Old City, aid workers, clerics and government troops stood vigil, awaiting a U.N. convoy evacuating women, children and the aged from the besieged ancient quarter of a town known to many as ground zero in the Syrian civil war. But the buses disgorged a very different class of passengers: scores of young men, haggard and sallow-faced, blankets draped over their shoulders and fear evident in their eyes....
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WORLD
April 9, 2014 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT - They fled Kasab at daybreak, amid the clamor of artillery and word that Islamist rebels were advancing toward them from Turkey. About 2,500 residents, most of them ethnic Armenians, gathered documents and what few possessions they could carry. They piled into cars and minibuses that carried them 40 miles down mountain roads to the government-held city of Latakia. Only some elderly remained behind, residents said. "We escaped with the clothes on our back," said one of those who eventually made it to Lebanon.
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WORLD
March 5, 2014 | By Raja Abdulrahim and Richard Winton
In an expletive-laced online video, two men say they are Los Angeles gang members who are “gangbanging” in Syria and fighting the “enemigos” in the bloody three-year conflict. The men identify themselves as “Wino” from the Westside Armenian Power gang and “Creeper” from the Sun Valley GW-13 gang, which has links to the Mexican mafia. Dressed in camouflage and ammunition vests and holding Kalashnikov rifles in an unknown location, the pair appear more interested in theatrics than ideology.
OPINION
April 1, 2014 | By David Schenker
Three years into the Syrian civil war, neighboring Lebanon is fraying at the seams. Over the last year, as Lebanese Sunni Muslim jihadis and their counterparts in the Shiite militia Hezbollah fought each other in Syria, at least 16 car bombs detonated in Lebanon, in both Shiite and Sunni neighborhoods. In December, a leading Sunni politician was assassinated. Meanwhile, more than 1 million mostly Sunni refugees have streamed in from Syria, increasing Lebanon's population by more than 20% and skewing its delicate sectarian balance.
NEWS
August 30, 2013 | By Paul Thornton
Remember that "red line" President Obama drew on Syria and chemical weapons? Perhaps it's more of a dotted line. At least twice since the president made the remark in August 2012 that the use of poison gas in the Syrian civil war would be a game-changer in the U.S. decision on whether to intervene militarily, Bashar Assad's forces appear to have crossed that line. So far, no U.S. missiles have been lobbed toward Damascus. Several readers have noticed. Only now it looks as if the Obama administration will follow through on its threat of military action against Assad.
ENTERTAINMENT
September 4, 2013 | By Hector Tobar
Books can start wars, or shape how they are fought. Abraham Lincoln famously told Harriet Beecher Stowe that her book, “Uncle Tom's Cabin,” started the Civil War. In the 1990s, two books helped inform the policies of President Clinton in the Balkans. Robert D. Kaplan's "Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History" portrayed many centuries of  irreconcilable ethnic enmity and gave the impression of a morass that would swallow up any country that intervened there; David Remnick of the New Yorker called it a “marvelous alibi for inaction.” But later Clinton read Noel Malcolm's "Bosnia: A Short History," which portrayed the conflict in that country as the product of the Machiavellian political calculations of Slobodan Milosevic.
WORLD
February 4, 2014 | By Ken Dilanian
WASHINGTON -- At least 50 Americans have joined the mix of extremist groups that are fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad, and some could try to mount terrorist attacks at home, U.S. intelligence officials said Tuesday. Intelligence officials say the Syrian civil war has become one of the biggest magnets for Islamic extremists around the globe since CIA-backed militants fought to oust Soviet troops from Afghanistan in the 1980s, a war that ultimately gave rise to Al Qaeda.
WORLD
January 2, 2013 | By Ned Parker
BEIRUT, Lebanon --An American journalist was reported missing in Syria on Wednesday, six weeks after he was reportedly abducted by armed men. James Foley, 39, was taken by gunmen on Nov. 22 in the northern province of Idlib, his family said. Foley, a freelancer, had reported previously from Syria, Iraq and Libya, where he was held prisoner in 2011 by government forces during that country's civil war. Most recently, he had been shooting videos in Syria for Agence France-Presse.
WORLD
April 25, 2013 | By Alexandra Zavis and Emily Alpert
Syria is believed to have a large stockpile of chemical weapons. U.S. intelligence agencies now suspect that Syrian President Bashar Assad's government has used small amounts of these chemicals against rebels fighting to unseat him, an assessment shared by Britain, France and, most recently, Israel. So what is known about Syria's chemical weapons? A report citing Turkish, Arab and Western intelligence agencies estimated that Syria has about 1,000 tons of chemical weapons stored at about 50 sites, mostly in the north of the country.
NEWS
November 27, 2011 | By Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times
REPORTING FROM BEIRUT -- Arab efforts to reach a compromise with Syria over its bloody crackdown on dissent appeared  to be all but over Sunday as foreign ministers meeting in Cairo voted overwhelmingly to impose punishing sanctions against the embattled regime of President Bashar Assad. The rare move by the Arab League, an organization often criticized as spineless and ineffective, came after Syria repeatedly ignored deadlines for accepting Arab observers to monitor a peace agreed to earlier this month.
WORLD
March 28, 2014 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
HOMS, Syria - On the ragged fringes of the Old City, aid workers, clerics and government troops stood vigil, awaiting a U.N. convoy evacuating women, children and the aged from the besieged ancient quarter of a town known to many as ground zero in the Syrian civil war. But the buses disgorged a very different class of passengers: scores of young men, haggard and sallow-faced, blankets draped over their shoulders and fear evident in their eyes....
WORLD
March 27, 2014 | By Christi Parsons, Kathleen Hennessey and Laura King
ROME - After spending four days in Europe dealing with the crisis over Russia's annexation of Crimea, President Obama now turns to a diplomatic challenge of another sort: trying to smooth relations with Saudi Arabia without making the longtime U.S. ally seem like an afterthought. Obama is scheduled to arrive in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, shortly before sunset Friday to meet with King Abdullah, whose inner circle is riled by how the United States has handled Iran's nuclear ambitions and Syria's civil war. Some with close ties to the royal family have talked about breaking ranks with Western partners.
OPINION
March 24, 2014 | By Dennis Ross
President Obama will visit Saudi Arabia this week. Based on what I hear from key Saudis, he is in for a rough reception. Rarely have the Saudis been more skeptical about the United States, and if the president is to affect Saudi behavior, it is important for him to understand why. Fundamentally, the Saudis believe that America's friends and interests are under threat, and the U.S. response has ranged from indifference to accommodation. The Saudis see Iran trying to encircle them with its Quds Force active in Bahrain, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen and their own eastern province.
WORLD
March 22, 2014 | By Nabih Bulos and Patrick J. McDonnell
IRBID, Jordan - The Free Syrian Army commander, head of a moderate rebel force fighting just across the border in southern Syria, watched helplessly for months as better-funded Islamist militant groups peeled off half the 2,000 fighters from his brigade. That changed in February when an intelligence operative from a country he refuses to name handed him an envelope full of cash - salaries for his remaining combatants. "It's a good amount of money; I can keep my fighters," the commander said, as scented smoke from his arghileh [water pipe]
WORLD
March 19, 2014 | By Patrick J. McDonnell and Nabih Bulos
BEIRUT - Authorities said roads across Lebanon were reopened Wednesday following a tense evening of road-closing protests linked to the war in neighboring Syria. Clashes erupted late Tuesday between demonstrators and security forces as protesters used burning tires to block a number of roads throughout the country. The army fired warning shots and used tear gas to disperse protesters and several injures were reported, according to local media accounts. Fallout from the Syrian war has resulted in a wave of sectarian-fueled car bombings, gun battles and rocket and mortar strikes in Lebanon, causing profound instability.
WORLD
March 19, 2014 | By Batsheva Sobelman
JERUSALEM -- Tensions between Israel and Syria remained high Wednesday, with stern warnings and mutual accusations following the recent eruption of violence along their border. Early Wednesday, Israeli warplanes struck Syrian military targets hours after an explosion injured four Israeli soldiers on the Golan Heights. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused "Syrian elements" of cooperating with the attack on the soldiers. “Our policy is very clear, we attack those who attack us,” he said ahead of a cabinet meeting . Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said Israel holds Syrian President Bashar Assad responsible for what goes on in his territory.
WORLD
August 29, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
Syrian President Bashar Assad wields command over the world's biggest stockpile of chemical weapons, international security experts say, and he is expected to emerge from any punitive Western airstrikes with his arsenal intact. With an estimated 50 storage sites, many situated in or near urban centers, any attempt to destroy or degrade the Assad government's supply of poison gases and nerve agents would require a massive invasion of ground forces that no nation considered part of the emerging "coalition of the willing" would be likely to support.
OPINION
January 24, 2014 | By Colleen Graffy
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.
WORLD
March 16, 2014 | By Patrick J. McDonnell and Nabih Bulos
BEIRUT - Syrian forces have overrun a strategic rebel stronghold close to the Lebanese border, the military said Sunday, in the latest battlefield victory for the government of President Bashar Assad. The official news service reported that Syrian troops were in "full control" of Yabroud, a longtime rebel bastion and key logistics base for opposition supplies and insurgents entering Syria from Lebanese territory. Aiding Syrian troops in the battle were militiamen from Hezbollah, the Lebanese group that has dispatched units to fight alongside Assad's forces.
WORLD
March 14, 2014 | By Raja Abdulrahim
When the women's militia of an Al Qaeda splinter group recently raided a high school in the northern Syrian city of Raqqah, it found a range of violations of its strict interpretation of Islam. Ten young women were deemed guilty of donning a face veil that was too transparent, having visible eyebrows or wearing a hair clip under her hijab , or head covering. Each student was whipped 30 times, said one opposition activist, who asked to remain unidentified because he is wanted by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the militant group that until recently was affiliated with Al Qaeda.
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