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Syrian President Bashar Assad

WORLD
September 15, 2012 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT - - Pope Benedict XVI called on Christians and Muslims on Saturday to forge a common front against warfare, even as battles raged in neighboring Syria and the new U.N. peace envoy to that country conceded that the situation there was deteriorating. “It is time for Muslims and Christians to come together so as to put an end to violence and war,” Benedict, 85, told an enthusiastic youth gathering on the second day of his three-day visit to Lebanon. The pontiff spoke directly to young Syrians who were in attendance, singling them out for praise.
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WORLD
January 9, 2013 | By Ramin Mostaghim and Ned Parker
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.
WORLD
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.
OPINION
July 24, 2006
Re "It's time to let the Israelis take off the gloves," Opinion, July 19 How dare Max Boot speak with such heartlessness about the killing of human beings? He writes: "Israel needs to hit the Assad regime. Hard." How does one "hit" a regime? Oh, he must mean drop bombs on Damascus. But we all know Syrian President Bashar Assad and his high-level cronies won't suffer, and neither, of course, will Boot, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert or President Bush. Women and children will die. Soldiers who joined up out of economic desperation will die. Pets and livestock will die. Apartments and businesses will be destroyed.
WORLD
June 22, 2012 | By Patrick J. McDonnell and Rima Marrouch, Los Angeles Times
BEIRUT - Syria shot down a warplane from Turkey on Friday that it said had violated its airspace, an event that illustrated the potential for the Syrian conflict to spill across its borders and risked a further deterioration in relations between neighbors that once were close allies. In a terse statement after midnight, the office of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Syria had downed a Turkish plane that disappeared about midday off the Syrian coast. The fate of the two pilots was unknown.
OPINION
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.
WORLD
March 14, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT -- Any government considering arming Syrian rebels should conduct  a “rigorous human-rights risk assessment” before  proceeding with weapons transfers, Amnesty International said Thursday. The group released a pair of  studies detailing abuses by both sides in the Syrian conflict. Amnesty's caveat about arms transfers comes as at least two Western governments, Britain and France, are said to be contemplating providing weapons to rebels seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad.
WORLD
July 28, 2011 | By Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times
Senior State Department officials came under tough questioning from lawmakers Wednesday over the Obama administration's reluctance to call for Syrian President Bashar Assad's departure. Despite the Assad government's bloody crackdown on demonstrators, U.S. officials have shied away from calling directly for his ouster. They worry that the United States would end up looking weak if Assad managed to hang on in the face of popular pressure. And with American leverage limited in Syria, they also have been reluctant to raise expectations about what the administration might be prepared to do to unseat the regime.
WORLD
December 3, 2012 | By Rima Marrouch
BEIRUT -- Turkey scrambled fighter jets after Syrian warplanes bombed the rebel-held border city of Ras Ayn in northeastern Syria on Monday, killing at least eight people and injuring 16, according to opposition accounts and at least one person reached in the town. The bombardment shattered windows on the Turkish side and sent people from Ras Ayn fleeing into Turkey, where ambulances took the wounded to hospitals. Last month, a Syrian rebel force seized Ras Ayn, once home to more than 50,000 people, from government control.
WORLD
June 20, 2011 | By Borzou Daragahi, Los Angeles Times
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.
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