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10 Least Livable Cities in the World

Including Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea

(Newser) - The Economist Intelligence Unit has compiled a list that no city wants to be on—the "least livable" ones in the world for 2016. Factors include education, health care, safety, and the threat of terrorism. Here are the worst 10, with their ranking out of 100:
  1. Damascus, Syria (30.
... More »

Besieged Syrian Town Gets First Food Aid Since 2012

Nearly 500 food rations will feed about 2,400 individuals in Daraya for one month

(Newser) - The Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the UN have delivered food aid to the Damascus suburb of Daraya for the first time since it came under siege in November 2012, hours after the UN said the Syrian government had approved access to 15 of the 19 besieged areas in Syria,... More »

'Last American in Damascus': I Will Never Leave Syria

Thomas Webber has lived there for 40 years, loves it, and says they'll have to carry him out

(Newser) - Thomas Webber stoops to check his car for bombs every morning before heading out, but the 71-year-old American has no plans to leave Damascus, a city he has called home for more than four decades, the AP reports. He's one of the very few Americans not of Syrian origin... More »

Amid Wobbly Syria Talks, ISIS Triple Blast Kills 45

Death toll in Damascus expected to grow with many severely injured

(Newser) - A triple bombing claimed by ISIS killed at least 45 people near the Syrian capital of Damascus on Sunday, overshadowing an already shaky start to what are meant to be indirect Syria peace talks. Syria's state news agency SANA said that the blasts went off in Sayyda Zeinab, a... More »

The 5 Most Livable Cities in the World

Head for Australia (Melbourne is No. 1), Canada, or Austria

(Newser) - "Civil unrest, acts of terror and violence" around the world are compromising the livability of cities around the globe, per a new ranking by the Economist Intelligence Unit that surveyed 140 cities. The report notes even cities in North America have suffered, some from the turmoil caused by the... More »

Syria: Israeli Airstrikes Just Hit Us

Israel says it won't comment on 'foreign reports'

(Newser) - Israeli warplanes carried out two airstrikes today near Damascus, one near the city's international airport and a second outside a town close to the Lebanese border, Syria's state news agency said. SANA called the attack "an aggression against Syria" and said there were no reports of casualties.... More »

175 Dead in One of Syrian War's Biggest Hits

Rebels ambushed by Syria military outside Damascus yesterday

(Newser) - Syrian forces ambushed a group of rebels outside Damascus yesterday, killing 175 belonging to the Islamist extremist al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, according to state news agencies, per the Wall Street Journal . The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights counted 152 dead—mostly foreigners from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Chechnya—in the raid... More »

Rebels: Syria Dropped Chemical Weapons on Us

Opposition says hundreds dead as regime denies use of toxic gas

(Newser) - Syrian opposition groups say hundreds of people— Reuters says nearly 500—were killed today in chemical weapons attacks on rebel-held suburbs of Damascus. Videos uploaded to YouTube by activists show people, including many children, being treated in makeshift hospitals, reports the BBC , which has been unable to fully verify the... More »

Syrian Rebels: We Hit Assad's Motorcade

President's reps say attack missed him entirely

(Newser) - It's he said/he said in Syria today after rebels claimed to have struck President Bashar Assad's motorcade this morning with mortar shells, Al-Jazeera reports. A regime-linked TV station said shells did hit Assad's upscale Damascus neighborhood, hurting two guards, but presidential reps insist his presidential convoy was... More »

Syria Is 'Now 3 Countries'

'As a distinct single entity, Syria has ceased to exist,' analysts say

(Newser) - As Syria's bloody civil war grinds on, the country is now split into three parts—each boasting its own flags, security agencies, and judicial system—and the longer the conflict lasts, analysts say, the more difficult it will be to piece together a coherent Syrian state from the wreckage.... More »

Car Plows into Parade Crowd, Injures 60

4 seriously injured in Damascus, Virginia

(Newser) - Up to 60 people have been injured, some critically, after a man drove a car into a crowd during a parade in southwestern Virginia. Three victims were flown to hospital via helicopter, and another 12 to 15 went by ambulance, after being struck while watching the Hikers Parade at a... More »

Syria PM Survives Assassination Attempt

He escapes blast in central Damascus

(Newser) - Syria's prime minister escaped an assassination attempt today when a bomb went off near his convoy in Damascus in the latest attack targeting a top regime offical, state media reported. Prime Minister Wael al-Halqi was unhurt in the bombing in the capital's western neighborhood of Mazzeh, according to... More »

Huge Blast Rocks Damascus

Kids dead, Russian embassy damaged

(Newser) - A powerful car bomb exploded in central Damascus today, blowing out the windows of the Russian embassy, and killing at least some children at a nearby school. The bomb detonated at a security checkpoint between the embassy and the Baath Party Headquarters, the BBC reports. Activists say at least 31... More »

Damascus Plunged Into Darkness

Power outage strikes Syria's capital, much of nation's south

(Newser) - A power outage plunged Damascus and southern Syria into darkness today, Syria's state news agency said, while anti-regime activists reported a string of tit-for-tat, sectarian kidnappings in the country's north. The news agency, SANA, quoted Electricity Minister Imad Khamis as saying that the failure of a high voltage... More »

5K Syrians Flee Every Day

It's a 'full-on crisis,' says UN official

(Newser) - The number of Syrian residents fleeing their country is rising fast, says the UN refugee agency. It puts the number at 5,000 day, bringing the total who have fled so far to nearly 800,000, reports Reuters . That's a 25% increase in January alone, reports the New York ... More »

Planes Sent to Evacuate Russians in Syria

As power outage strikes Damascus

(Newser) - Moscow sent two planes to pick up Russian citizens trapped in Syria's civil war today as a power outage struck Damascus and a swath of the country's south, report Russia Today and the AP . The Russian planes were headed for Beirut, where about 100 people, mostly women and... More »

Syria Bombs Refugee Camp

Unknown number dead in Damascus refuge for Palestinians

(Newser) - Fighter jets belonging to the regime of Bashar al-Assad have bombed a Damascus refugee camp today amid heavy fighting with rebels. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights tells the BBC that at least eight are dead in the al-Yarmouk refugee camp, which is home to mainly Palestinian refugees; Reuters, meanwhile,... More »

Rebels Warn: Damascus Airport a 'Legit Target'

Russia poised to 'brainstorm' with US, envoy

(Newser) - Syrian rebels have issued a warning to civilians and airlines: Damascus International Airport is now a "military zone" to be approached at locals' "own risk." "The airport is now full of armored vehicles and soldiers," says a spokesman for rebels, who call the spot a... More »

Internet Back Up in Syria's Capital

It was down for two days amid heavy fighting around Damascus

(Newser) - Syria's Internet blackout has lifted in the capital of Damascus and other key cities, at least for the time being, reports the BBC and al-Jazeera . Access went down two days ago across the nation, with most observers blaming the government. The blackout has made reports sketchy, though rebels cite... More »

Syria Turns Off the Internet

Meanwhile, rebels block off airport

(Newser) - Someone appears to have completely cut off Syria's Internet access, two US-based monitoring companies reported today. Landlines and mobile phone signals have been cut off as well in at least some parts of Damascus, another activist tells the Guardian . The government has cut off phone and Internet access in... More »

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