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WORLD
August 18, 2011 | By Peter Nicholas, Los Angeles Times
President Obama on Thursday called on Syrian President Bashar Assad to leave office, ratcheting up pressure on the regime to end its violent suppression of demonstrators demanding a new democratic government. The White House also announced that Obama signed an executive order intended to further isolate Assad. The new sanctions bar Americans from making new investments in Syria and ban importation of Syrian oil. "The future of Syria must be determined by its people, but President Bashar al-Assad is standing in their way," Obama said in a prepared statement.
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WORLD
June 7, 2013 | By Raja Abdulrahim
The United Nations launched a  $5.1-billion humanitarian appeal Friday, its largest-ever aid request, for millions of Syrians who have suffered as a result of the conflict that began in 2011. The appeal to donor nations on behalf of Syrians inside and outside the country came as Syrian government forces and its allies seized a strategic town on the Lebanese border and prospects further dimmed for a negotiated settlement. More than 1.6 million Syrians have fled to neighboring countries and 4.25 million have been internally displaced since the uprising began in March 2011.
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WORLD
December 2, 2011 | By Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times
The United Nations' top human rights forum on Friday condemned Syria for "gross and systematic violations" after an independent panel found evidence suggesting the country's security forces had committed crimes against humanity. The resolution approved by the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva adds to pressure on President Bashar Assad's increasingly isolated government, which has faced multiple rounds of sanctions for its violent crackdown on an 8-month-old uprising. Diplomats said it was also a call to action by the U.N. Security Council and General Assembly and the International Criminal Court, although there was no direct mention of those bodies in the approved version of the text.
WORLD
March 26, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
BEIRUT - A Syrian opposition coalition was seated as the legitimate government of Syria at an Arab League summit Tuesday, and the coalition's outgoing leader promptly pushed for the United States to use Patriot missile defense batteries against Syrian warplanes. Moaz Khatib, who resigned Sunday from the opposition coalition amid reports of deep divisions in its ranks, said he put the Patriot missile request to U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry during a meeting last month in Rome.
WORLD
February 28, 2013 | By Henry Chu and Patrick J. McDonnell
ROME -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pledged an additional $60 million in aid to Syrian opposition forces Thursday, including food and medical support directly to armed rebels for the first time but turning aside their demand for weapons. Kerry, on his first foreign trip as America's top diplomat, said that the extra assistance would help "the legitimate voice of the Syrian people," who have been trying in vain for nearly two years to topple President Bashar Assad. Kerry said Assad had "long ago lost his legitimacy...and must be out of power.
WORLD
November 20, 2012 | By Henry Chu
LONDON - The momentum behind a fledgling Syrian opposition coalition grew Tuesday after Britain announced that it was granting formal recognition and extending financial aid to the group. Foreign Secretary William Hague said the British government now considered the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces as the “sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people.” As such, the umbrella organization of dissidents battling the regime of President Bashar Assad would be invited to send a de facto ambassador to London.
WORLD
November 26, 2012 | By Emily Alpert
France is giving more than $1.5 million in emergency aid to a newly formed Syrian opposition coalition, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced Monday. "France, which was first to recognize the coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people, now wants to help it come to the aid of its countrymen in distress,” Fabius said in a statement . The Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces was created this month in an effort to unite the disparate factions opposed to Syrian President Bashar Assad.
WORLD
November 15, 2012 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT -- Turkey on Thursday became the latest nation to recognize the newly created Syrian opposition coalition as the “legitimate representative of the Syrian people,” and the Turkish foreign minister called on other nations to follow suit. Ankara's move comes in the same week that France made a similar declaration, although France went a step further by labeling the opposition bloc the nation's sole legitimate representative. Syrian dissidents are seeking bolstered financial and military aid from allied governments.
WORLD
April 2, 2012 | By Los Angeles Times Staff
BEIRUT - Syria has agreed to an April 10 deadline to abide by a U.N.-backed peace plan that would require its forces to stop shelling opposition-held areas and withdraw tanks and heavy weapons from cities and towns, special envoy Kofi Annan told the U.N. Security Council on Monday. Annan, who proposed the six-point plan last month, has also reached out to the opposition and urged it to halt operations within 48 hours of the regime's ceasing its offensive. But rebels and activists, who have been calling for the fall of President Bashar Assad for a year, expressed skepticism, as they have with previous failed attempts to negotiate with the regime.
WORLD
February 27, 2013 | By Paul Richter
This post has been updated. Please see below for details. WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Wednesday that the United States and allies are jointly planning new ways to accelerate the fall of the Syrian regime, amid signs that Washington may begin directly providing non-lethal aid to opposition fighters. Speaking in Paris one day before a gathering of Syrian opposition officials and world leaders in Rome, Kerry said U.S. officials and allies are discussing ways to convince Syrian President Bashar Assad "that he can't shoot his way out of this.
WORLD
March 25, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
BEIRUT - The head of a U.S.-backed Syrian opposition coalition resigned his post Sunday, a major blow to a group that the United States and other nations have lauded as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people and a potential interim government. The departure of the charismatic Moaz Khatib, a moderate Islamist who has championed national reconciliation, plunged the fractious Syrian dissident alliance into disarray as the escalating Syrian conflict showed fresh signs of spreading instability beyond its borders.
WORLD
March 3, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT - Syrian rebels must give up their weapons before the government will agree to hold peace talks with them, Syrian President Bashar Assad said in a newspaper interview published Sunday. “We are willing to negotiate with anyone, including militants, who surrender their arms,” Assad told Britain's Sunday Times in a rare interview with a western publication. “We can engage in dialogue with the opposition, but we cannot engage in dialogue with terrorists. We fight terrorism.
OPINION
March 1, 2013
President Obama's decision to provide the Syrian opposition with another $60 million in aid - while continuing to withhold weapons - will disappoint those who have argued that the United States should step up its role in the battle to overthrow President Bashar Assad. But the administration is right: Arming the rebels now would be a mistake. On Thursday, Secretary of State John F. Kerry announced the new aid program, which he said would help the Syrian opposition coalition deliver food, medicine, sanitation and education.
WORLD
February 28, 2013 | By Henry Chu and Patrick J. McDonnell
ROME -- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pledged an additional $60 million in aid to Syrian opposition forces Thursday, including food and medical support directly to armed rebels for the first time but turning aside their demand for weapons. Kerry, on his first foreign trip as America's top diplomat, said that the extra assistance would help "the legitimate voice of the Syrian people," who have been trying in vain for nearly two years to topple President Bashar Assad. Kerry said Assad had "long ago lost his legitimacy...and must be out of power.
WORLD
February 27, 2013 | By Paul Richter
This post has been updated. Please see below for details. WASHINGTON -- Secretary of State John F. Kerry said Wednesday that the United States and allies are jointly planning new ways to accelerate the fall of the Syrian regime, amid signs that Washington may begin directly providing non-lethal aid to opposition fighters. Speaking in Paris one day before a gathering of Syrian opposition officials and world leaders in Rome, Kerry said U.S. officials and allies are discussing ways to convince Syrian President Bashar Assad "that he can't shoot his way out of this.
WORLD
February 4, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
BEIRUT - A faint glimmer of hope of breaking the diplomatic standoff on Syria has emerged as two key allies, Russia and Iran, reacted positively to a leading opposition figure's surprise offer of conditional talks with the government of President Bashar Assad. Officials from the two countries spoke approvingly of the offer at a global security meeting that ended Sunday in Munich, Germany. At the same time, Israel's defense minister seemed to acknowledge that his country was responsible for last week's airstrike on Syrian territory - an attack that Israel has not officially confirmed but which has raised the ominous specter of a wider regional war. Defense Minister Ehud Barak told reporters at the Munich conference that the attack in Syria was "proof that when we say something, we mean it. " The comment was widely interpreted as indirect confirmation that Israeli warplanes conducted the Wednesday strike, which reportedly targeted a Syrian arms convoy destined for the militant group Hezbollah, Syria's ally and Israel's avowed adversary.
OPINION
June 22, 2011
Having already killed as many as 1,300 of his own people, Syrian President Bashar Assad is now promising constitutional reform and an end to bloodshed. In a speech Monday, he called for a "national dialogue," suggested that rival political parties would be allowed, and urged refugees to return from Turkey. His opponents were unimpressed, and thousands of protesters took to the streets after the address. If President Obama is similarly skeptical — as he ought to be — he should do what he has so far refused to do: call on Assad to step down.
WORLD
February 24, 2012 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
With deep divisions preventing forceful international action, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton suggested security forces long loyal to Bashar Assad and his family could oust the Syrian president and end the bloodshed that is ripping his country apart. A much-anticipated gathering of representatives of more than 60 countries held Friday in the Tunisian capital highlighted divisions at multiple levels: within the anti-Assad international coalition, the fractured Syrian opposition and the people of Syria, where Assad maintains considerable support among minorities fearful of a takeover by Islamists.
WORLD
January 8, 2013 | By Ramin Mostaghim and Emily Alpert
TEHRAN - Iranian officials again threw their support to Syrian President Bashar Assad on Tuesday, backing the peace plans the embattled Assad laid out in a rare televised speech. While European leaders dismissed the speech as nothing new and the U.S. State Department panned the Sunday address as “detached from reality," Iranian officials and some pundits said just the opposite. The ideas raised by Assad are “based on the realities in the Arab state,” Hossein Naqavi-Hosseini, spokesman for an Iranian parliamentary committee on foreign policy, was quoted as telling the official Islamic Republic News Agency on Tuesday.  Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi also praised the plan laid out by Assad to end Syria's 21-month-old civil war, saying it “rejects violence and terrorism and any foreign interference in the country and outlines a future for the country ... through a comprehensive political process," state media reported Monday.
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