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Syrian President Bashar Assad

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.
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WORLD
November 9, 2011 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
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.
NATIONAL
June 15, 2012 | By David Horsey
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.
WORLD
March 3, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
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.
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.
ENTERTAINMENT
October 25, 2012 | By August Brown, Los Angeles Times
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.
OPINION
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?
WORLD
February 14, 2012 | By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times
A request by Arab foreign ministers that a joint Arab-U.N. peacekeeping team be dispatched to Syria met little international enthusiasm Monday as the death toll mounted in the battleground city of Homs and elsewhere. In Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters that the continued violence in Syria rendered the idea of a peacekeeping mission somewhat premature, but that his nation was studying the Arab League proposal. Such missions "need first to have a peace to support," Lavrov told reporters at a news conference in the Russian capital.
WORLD
August 22, 2008 | Ashraf Khalil, Times Staff Writer
Fears that Russia might sell advanced weaponry to Syria kicked up a mini-storm of concern in Israel on Thursday. Syrian President Bashar Assad, in Russia for talks with President Dmitry Medvedev, has been campaigning to acquire weapons systems that include long-range surface-to-surface missiles, according to Russian media reports. The news of Assad's reported ambitions prompted immediate hand-wringing among Israeli officials and analysts. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel was "analyzing the ramifications" of Assad's visit.
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.
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