April 27, 2012 |
BEIRUT - United Nations monitors on Thursday visited the scene of an explosion in the Syrian city of Hama that antigovernment activists said had killed 70 people, many of them women and children. Homes in the Mashaa al-Tayyar neighborhood were targeted Wednesday, they said, by rockets or shells fired by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad. State media blamed the explosion on a "terrorist group" that accidentally set off an explosive in a house used to make bombs. Sixteen people died and 12 were injured, the report said.
April 9, 2012 |
BEIRUT — The United Nations-backed peace plan to end violence in Syria appeared to unravel Sunday as the Syrian government announced it will not withdraw its forces from cities and towns without written guarantees from opposition groups that they will halt attacks and lay down their arms. Rebels with the Free Syrian Army quickly signaled that they would provide no written guarantees to a government they do not recognize, suggesting that fighting probably will continue past the Thursday deadline for a cease-fire.
April 8, 2012 |
The interventionist liberals of the Obama administration were a doleful bunch last week. It was the 20th anniversary of the siege of Sarajevo, when a Bosnian Serb army battered a city full of civilians with artillery while the United States issued ineffective cries of alarm. The comparison with this year's massacres in Syria was painfully apt. Now, as then, the United Nations Security Council has asked both sides to stop shooting, to no great effect. Now, as then, the United States and its allies are rejecting the idea of military intervention as too difficult, too risky, too likely to add to the violence instead of ending it. In Bosnia, it took the United States more than three years and many massacres to decide that diplomatic measures and sanctions weren't enough.
April 4, 2012 |
DAMASCUS, Syria - He doesn't have a cellphone and doesn't use regular phones. He avoids his home and mostly ventures out under cover of night, a cap pulled low on his head to conceal his identity. "For 11 months, I have not been in a public place, not in a restaurant or a cafe," Yassin Haj Saleh, a former political prisoner, said as he arrived at a previously agreed-upon rendezvous spot as darkness fell. Despite his clandestine existence, Saleh is a prominent Syrian dissident, a prolific writer and columnist with a wide following both in print and on the Internet.
March 28, 2012 |
Syria on Tuesday agreed to a peace plan put forward by former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, but fighting raged on between government forces and rebels, officials and activists said. Some Syrian opposition figures said they held out little hope for the peace plan, which they said did not address their principal demand: the resignation of President Bashar Assad. Assad agreed to the six-point plan, endorsed by the U.N. Security Council, in a letter to Annan, an envoy of the United Nations and Arab League.
March 18, 2012 |
At a small table in a hotel restaurant where elderly men drank coffee and played speed chess, Abu Ismail's phone rang. He picked it up and squinted at the caller ID. "Allo," he said. "A 16? How many? $2,000? If it's clean, bring it, yes. " With that, Abu Ismail bought one M-16 assault rifle for the Syrian rebellion. For months, arms merchants such as Abu Ismail have been buying black-market weapons in Lebanon for the insurgency against Syrian President Bashar Assad.
March 10, 2012 |
Former United Nations chief Kofi Annan is scheduled to be in Syria on Saturday on a special peace mission, but the veteran diplomat faces daunting obstacles in trying to craft a cease-fire in the almost yearlong conflict that has cost thousands of lives. Annan, a joint special envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League, will meet Saturday in Damascus, the Syrian capital, with President Bashar Assad, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters Friday. On the eve of his trip, opposition activists reported scores more killed across Syria as the now-traditional Friday protests took place in many parts of the country.
January 10, 2012 |
In a defiant national address, Syrian President Bashar Assad on Tuesday blamed "foreign conspiracies" for a nearly 10-month uprising in Syria and vowed to "strike with an iron fist" against opponents he labeled terrorists. "What has been decided in dark rooms is now revealed before the eyes of the people," Assad said in Damascus, the Syrian capital. It was a familiar refrain from a leader who critics say has refused to acknowledge the depth of public anger over four decades of Assad family rule.
December 29, 2011 |
The head of an Arab League observer mission came under fire Wednesday for describing conditions in the strife-torn Syrian city of Homs as "nothing frightening" despite the release of amateur video that seemed to show monitors witnessing gunfire and meeting with victims of a violent crackdown against dissent. The observer mission has been the subject of controversy since Syria agreed early last week to admit monitors to determine whether the government is complying with a league-negotiated plan to end months of bloodshed.
December 26, 2011 |
The video was horrific. What appeared to be the bloodied and broken bodies of four men lay in a rubble-strewn street, near downed power lines and damaged cars. "Where are the Arabs? Where is the international community?" a man's voice yelled over women's screams. Opposition activists uploaded the video to YouTube on Monday, saying it was evidence of the carnage in parts of the western Syrian city of Homs on the day that a group of about 50 Arab League observers arrived in the country to begin monitoring implementation of a regional peace initiative.