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.
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.
June 15, 2012 |
During his presidency, George W. Bush said plenty of goofy things inadvertently, but the dumbest thing he ever said on purpose was his claim to have looked into the soul of Vladimir Putin. If he had truly gotten a glimpse into that dark, grim place, he would have not come away content and smiling. Putin is letting his Russian soul show through quite openly these days, particularly with his support of Syrian President Bashar Assad's brutal crackdown on opponents of his regime. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton complained this week that the Russians were sending helicopter gunships to Syria, a step that would "escalate the conflict quite dramatically.
November 9, 2011 |
Protesters across Syria marched Tuesday in solidarity with the besieged city of Homs, opposition activists said, as the United Nations reported that the death toll in almost eight months of conflict had reached at least 3,500. Behind the bloodshed is "the brutal government crackdown on dissent," Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said from Geneva. Syrian President Bashar Assad blames says militants, allegedly armed and funded from abroad, are responsible for the violence.
March 24, 2013 |
BAGHDAD - Secretary of State John Kerry began an unannounced trip to Iraq on Sunday to urge the government to halt the Iranian supply of arms and fighters through its airspace to Syria, and to implore it to share more power with its alienated Sunni population. Kerry, in the first trip as top diplomat to the Arab state, met with Prime Minister Nouri Maliki and Parliament Speaker Osama Nujayfyi, and was scheduled to speak by telephone to Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish Regional Government.
June 22, 2012 |
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.
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.
October 25, 2012 |
L.A. rapper Omar Offendum came of age in a hip-hop era filled with violent tales by artists like Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. But last year, the 30-year-old Syrian American discovered how truly dangerous hip-hop could be. "I had to hold my tongue for a long time," Offendum said of his song "#Syria," a furious riposte to Syrian President Bashar Assad that he released in March. Although Offendum (he prefers not to use his real name to protect family) is hardly a superstar, the underground track still could have had devastating implications for family members still in Syria.
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?
July 3, 2012
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is putting a positive spin on a new peace plan for Syria agreed to over the weekend in Geneva by the Syria Action Group, which comprises the permanent members of the United Nations Security Council as well as Turkey and Arab representatives. We hope her optimism is justified, but Russia continues to send maddeningly mixed signals about whether it recognizes that the time has come for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down. Already a humanitarian tragedy, the civil war in Syria now threatens to spill into international conflict.