January 9, 2013 |
BEIRUT -- Syrian rebel fighters released 48 Iranians captured last August in what could become the largest prisoner exchange of Syria's civil war, Iranian and Turkish state media reported. A Turkish Islamic relief group supervised the release that is supposed to lead to the freeing of at least 2,130 detainees held by Syrian President Bashar Assad's government, according to Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency. Anadolu credited Turkey and Qatar with mediating the deal. The exchange, if fully implemented, would mark a rare break from the brutality of the nearly 22-month-old civil war that has seen Assad order airstrikes and shell cities as rebels carry out bombings and assassinations.
March 3, 2013 |
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. " Assad's government routinely refers to the Syrian rebels as terrorists.
May 28, 2013 |
BEIRUT -- Gunmen killed three Lebanese soldiers near the Syrian border early Tuesday, Lebanese authorities said, the latest apparent instance of cross-over violence from the conflict in neighboring Syria. Fears are running high that Syria's civil war could destabilize Lebanon, which shares a long and porous border with Syria and has close cultural and political ties to its bigger neighbor. The killings come two days after a pair of rockets struck a southern neighborhood of Beirut, injuring four people.
February 18, 2013 |
BEIRUT - The situation in war-ravaged Syria “is deteriorating rapidly” and both sides have committed crimes against humanity in an “increasingly sectarian” conflict that threatens peace throughout the Middle East, a United Nations-commissioned inquiry said Monday. “The destructive dynamics of the civil war not only have an impact on the civilian population but are also tearing apart the country's complex social fabric, jeopardizing future generations and undermining peace and security in the entire region,” the report said.
August 1, 2012 |
BEIRUT - Syrian President Bashar Assad on Wednesday exhorted his military to maintain "continued preparedness," as human rights groups condemned an apparent rebel execution of Assad loyalists in the embattled northern city of Aleppo. Assad lauded his troops' role in "confronting the criminal terrorist gangs," a reference to the rebels fighting across a wide swath of the country, in a statement marking the anniversary of the founding of the army, state media reported. Meanwhile, video surfaced online appearing to show the execution of members of a loyalist clan in an Aleppo neighborhood.
January 30, 2014 |
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.
September 5, 2012
Dismay over the continued violence in Syria is understandable and should impel the United States, other "friends of Syria" and the United Nations to support relief measures including, if necessary, the creation of safe havens for refugees. But the Obama administration is right to stop short of either arming Syrian rebels - who, according to U.S. intelligence officials, have been infiltrated by Islamic extremists from outside the country - or engaging in direct military intervention. Advocates of military involvement exaggerate the ease with which the U.S. could shape events in Syria and underestimate the dangers.
June 20, 2011 |
In his first public address in over two months, Syrian President Bashar Assad, facing international and domestic pressure for rapid change, promised to open the country's political system and allow for a change of the constitution, but he unveiled no concrete new reforms and continued to blame unspecified foreign conspiracies for the violence perpetrated by his security forces. The speech Monday fell far short of internal Syrian and international demands for a dramatic opening-up of one of the world's most tightly controlled police states.
October 17, 2012 |
ALEPPO, Syria - The familiar passageways have turned hostile, the comforting labyrinth now a maze of menace. But Abu Taher threaded his way Tuesday through the alleys of Aleppo's ancient Souk Madina, past piles of debris and charred storefronts, determined to see whether his textile shop had survived the recent conflagration. He came alone, risking his fate to the hidden gunmen seeking targets. "It's our livelihood," he explained, abruptly bursting into tears, a man of 60 weeping amid the desolation.
January 4, 2004
Re "Banned Arms Flowed Into Iraq Through Syrian Firm," Dec. 30: Kudos to reporters Jeffrey Fleishman and Bob Drogin for their incredible expose of the Syrian arms suppliers to Iraq. Perhaps their digging around and pressing Syrian officials in recent months can explain Syrian President Bashar Assad's sudden and surprising call last month to renew peace talks with Israel. Faced with a public relations disaster, did Assad jump to preempt? Lenny Ben-David Washington Re "The U.S. Winked at Hussein's Evil," Commentary, Dec. 30: The U.S. was no more cynical allying itself with Saddam Hussein against the Iranians than when we allied ourselves with Josef Stalin against the Nazis during World War II. Stalin was Hussein's role model, so why hasn't Robert Scheer impugned Franklin Roosevelt's reputation by attributing cynicism or hypocrisy to the Democratic architects of a foreign policy that gave us 45 years of "blowback" during the Cold War?