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Syrian President Bashar Assad

December 7, 2011 | By Alexandra Zavis, Los Angeles Times
President Bashar Assad has denied ordering a deadly crackdown in Syria, saying "no government in the world kills its people unless it's led by a crazy person. " In an interview with ABC's Barbara Walters that is scheduled to air Wednesday night, the Syrian leader acknowledged that mistakes had been made but maintained that "there was no command to kill or be brutal. " "There's a difference between having a policy to crack down and between having some mistakes committed by some officials," he said, according to excerpts released by ABC News.
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....
December 17, 2004 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Jamil Assad, 71, the youngest brother of the late Syrian President Hafez Assad, has died. There was no official announcement in Syria, but sources in Damascus said Assad died Wednesday at a French hospital where he had been treated for about a month. Assad, the uncle of current President Bashar Assad, had not played a significant political role in recent years despite having been a member of Syria's Parliament since 1971.
January 30, 2014 | By Paul Richter
WASHINGTON - The Obama administration on Thursday slammed Syria for failing to fulfill its pledges to surrender its most dangerous chemical weapons for destruction and voiced concern that the entire project could now be in jeopardy. In a statement to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the Netherlands, U.S. Ambassador Robert P. Mikulak accused Syria of “open-ended delaying” of the disarmament process in an attempt to renegotiate the deal it agreed to last fall.
January 24, 2012
Syrian President Bashar Assad has rejected an Arab League plan that would have eased him out of power and laid the groundwork for elections, calling it "flagrant interference" in Syria's internal affairs. That's not surprising, but it's too bad. The proposal was a sensible one that could have stopped the bloodshed. The problem is that Assad lacks sufficient incentive — at this point anyway — to comply with it. The Arab League had already imposed sanctions on Syria, suspended the country's membership and dispatched a team of monitors.
January 12, 2012
Speaking from what he apparently considers a position of strength, Syrian President Bashar Assad this week condemned the "terrorists," "traitors" and "outsiders" he said were leading the 10-month-old uprising against him and threatened to strike his enemies with an "iron fist. " Preventing such an offensive by the regime, which has complied only fitfully with a demand by the Arab League that it restrain itself, will be difficult. But the Arab League and the United Nations can and must do more to minimize the violence and brutal repression in Syria, which has continued unabated since the uprising began.
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.
July 28, 2012 | By Sergei L. Loiko, Los Angeles Times
MOSCOW - Russian officials, who have strenuously resisted U.S.-led efforts to push Syrian President Bashar Assad from power, are beginning to question whether the beleaguered leader can hang on, but say they have little influence over him as rebels take the fight to his country's biggest cities. Even though Russia has been a close Syrian ally for decades, officials and analysts acknowledge that they have limited insight to Assad's true situation and mind-set. Although some fear that Russia missed a chance to help find a solution to the conflict, now in its 17th month, others say that it never had that kind of clout.
December 13, 2012 | By Sergei L. Loiko and Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
MOSCOW - A high-level Russian diplomat conceded Thursday that Syrian rebels could succeed in ousting President Bashar Assad, becoming the first top Kremlin official to say publicly that the government of Moscow's staunchest Middle Eastern ally could be teetering. The comments of Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov came as two more explosions rocked the restive suburbs of Damascus, the Syrian capital, the latest in a string of deadly car bombings that appear to be part of an insurgent offensive on the city.
September 17, 2010 | By Sarah Birke and Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times
U.S. Middle East envoy George J. Mitchell traveled to Damascus on Thursday in a bid to persuade Syrian President Bashar Assad to support Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. U.S. and Syrian officials said little about the meeting, but Syria is thought to be skeptical about the talks and prospects for its own negotiations with Israel. Syrian officials don't believe Israel's leadership would be willing to return the Golan Heights, which Israel captured in the 1967 Middle Est War, and doubt an Israeli-Palestinian peace would last without the approval of the militant group Hamas, a foe of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas that controls the Gaza Strip.
November 19, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT - A pair of suicide bombings at Iran's embassy that killed an Iranian diplomat and at least 24 other people underscored how the violence in Syria has traversed borders and fanned sectarian tensions across the Middle East. Lebanon has long been a secondary theater of the Syrian conflict, but Tuesday's twin blasts in Beirut were a blow aimed directly at Iran, one of the major foreign backers of the embattled government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Beginning with peaceful protests during the "Arab Spring" that challenged Assad's autocratic rule, Syria's strife has devolved over the last 32 months into a regional proxy war stoked by sectarian malice.
October 15, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT - For much of Syria's civil war, President Bashar Assad has been a man in retreat. Rebels control vast stretches of his country. A little more than a month ago, he faced the prospect of U.S. military strikes that might have finally tipped the military balance. But the U.S.-Russian deal to eliminate Syria's chemical arms, which headed off a U.S. missile barrage, has changed that. Assad is now an essential partner in a process that will last until at least mid-2014, and could drag on much longer.
September 26, 2013 | By Paul Richter and Shashank Bengali
UNITED NATIONS - Russia agreed Thursday to back a United Nations Security Council resolution that demands that Syria relinquish its chemical weapons by mid-2014, but stops short of threatening President Bashar Assad with military force if he doesn't comply. The Obama administration hailed the draft agreement as a breakthrough despite the U.S. failure after nearly two weeks to persuade Russia, Assad's strongest international backer, to support a resolution that would invoke Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter and could authorize the use of force or other action if Syria doesn't hand over its chemical arms.
September 12, 2013 | By Paul Richter and Sergei L. Loiko
WASHINGTON - Secretary of State John F. Kerry and his Russian counterpart huddled Thursday in Geneva in a push to disarm Syria of chemical weapons, even as Syrian President Bashar Assad warned that he wouldn't surrender his toxic arsenal unless the Obama administration stopped arming rebels battling to overthrow his government. Assad's comments suggested another hurdle for the hastily arranged talks, which were already fraught with considerable risk, and threatened a separate diplomatic process at the United Nations.
September 8, 2013 | By Jessica Gelt
Veteran reporter Charlie Rose announced Sunday that he had secured a highly coveted scoop: He interviewed Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus. Later, from Beirut, Rose discussed aspects of the interview on CBS' "Face the Nation. " The interview will run in its entirety Monday night on the "Charlie Rose" show on PBS. The world's attention is keenly focused on the perilous situation in Syria, particularly now that Assad has been accused of using chemical weapons against his own people.
September 5, 2013 | By Kathleen Hennessey
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - President Obama arrived here Thursday for a summit of world leaders that will be dominated by discussion of U.S. preparations to attack Syria and the president's attempts to find some measure of support from the G-20 nations. But Obama's Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, was not there to greet him at the airport and didn't send a high-ranking delegate. Instead, Putin met Obama as 33 world leaders checked in to begin two days of official meetings of the Group of 20 major economies, both smiling as they shook hands and chatted for just a few seconds.
October 15, 2011 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
The United Nations' top human rights official assailed the Syrian government Friday for a campaign of "ruthless repression and killings," and called for the international community to take steps to prevent the Middle East nation from plunging into civil war. A statement issued in Geneva by Navi Pillay, U.N. high commissioner for human rights, essentially backed claims by antigovernment activists who say Syrian authorities have routinely attacked protesters...
October 13, 2011 | By Alexa Vaughn, Los Angeles Times
A Syrian-born U.S. citizen has been charged with sending Syrian intelligence agencies recordings of dissidents in the U.S. before and after meeting privately with Syrian President Bashar Assad. Mohamad Soueid, who appeared at his first federal court hearing in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday, was working to "undermine, silence, intimidate and potentially harm" anti-regime protesters in the U.S., according to the indictment. Soueid allegedly was reporting directly to Syrian intelligence officials and was also allegedly in close contact with the Syrian Embassy in Washington.
August 21, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT -- The United Nations Security Council called an emergency meeting in New York on Wednesday afternoon to discuss allegations of a deadly chemical weapons attack outside the Syrian capital, Damascus. The announcement came amid mounting calls for a U.N. investigation into opposition charges that a poison-gas attack by the Syrian military killed hundreds of people early Wednesday across a broad swath of the city's suburbs. The allegations remained uncorroborated -- and Syrian authorities have labeled them a fabrication -- but the White House urged the U.N. to deploy an inspection team already on the ground in Syria to look into the matter.
August 15, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT - A deadly car bomb exploded Thursday in a densely populated district of southern Beirut, a stronghold of the Hezbollah group, fanning new fear of violent fallout in Lebanon from the war raging in neighboring Syria. The government said at least 18 people were killed and 291 injured in the blast; local news media said the death toll was at least 21. The attack stunned a nation where many worry that the Syrian conflict could escalate sectarian violence and destabilize an already-shaky government.
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