Syria

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US Strike Hits Pro-Syrian Forces Seen as 'Threat': Officials

It happened near Tanf

(Newser) - US officials say an American airstrike has hit pro-Syrian government forces in southern Syria as they were setting up fighting positions in a protected area. The officials say the strike Thursday near Tanf hit a tank and a bulldozer and forces there, but it wasn't clear if they were... More »

US Official Warns of ISIS 'Chemical Weapons Cell'

'This is not something we want to see them get good at'

(Newser) - A US official warns ISIS could be getting all its chemical weapons experts together in a "chemical weapons cell" in a last-ditch effort to defend its remaining territory in Syria. CNN reports the unnamed official says the experts are from Iraq and Syria and haven't previously worked together.... More »

Syria Disposing of Thousands of Bodies in Crematorium: US

Assad regime said to have built facility at Sednaya military prison

(Newser) - A Syrian military prison that Amnesty International last year called a "human slaughterhouse" is reported to be executing upward of 50 prisoners daily, and now a US State Department official says President Bashar al-Assad's regime has built and is using a secret crematorium to dispose of the bodies,... More »

US Will Supply Heavier Arms to Syrian Kurds to Fight ISIS

Turkey accuses the US of arming terrorists to fight terrorists

(Newser) - President Trump will provide heavier arms to Syrian Kurds in a move certain to anger Turkey, the New York Times reports. The US will supply YPG with things like anti-tank missiles and heavy machine guns so the Kurdish militia can help take Raqqa, a Syrian city serving as the capital... More »

Trump's Big Phone Call Tuesday: Vladimir Putin

Leaders will speak amid low point in US-Russia relations

(Newser) - President Trump has an important phone call on his docket Tuesday: He'll be speaking with Vladimir Putin at 12:30pm Eastern. The talk comes less than a month after Trump said US-Russian relations "may be at an all-time low," notes the Wall Street Journal . The most recent... More »

Wilbur Ross Catches Flak for Joke on Syria Strike

Wilbur Ross likened it to 'after-dinner entertainment' at Mar-a-Lago

(Newser) - Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was trying to be funny, but his recollection of his boss' decision to launch an airstrike on Syria is not going over well. At a conference Monday, Ross publicly recounted the move made by President Trump while he was entertaining Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago... More »

Foreign Fighters Rethinking Their ISIS Allegiance

'Guardian' reports on a wave of desertions

(Newser) - ISIS is steadily losing territory in Iraq and Syria, and a lot of foreign fighters are apparently having second thoughts about fighting to the death for it. The Guardian reports that officials in Turkey and Europe say large numbers of foreign fighters are abandoning the group and trying to flee,... More »

New Sanctions on Syria Among Biggest Ever by US

White House announces 271 penalties, cites chemical weapons attack

(Newser) - The White House accuses Syrian leaders of gassing their own civilians , and it's looking to punish anyone in the nation connected to the weapons. On Monday, the Treasury Department announced sanctions against 271 employees of a Syrian agency believed to have developed and produced chemical weapons, reports USA Today ... More »

Thorn in the Side of 9 US Presidents: the Assads

Marathon negotiations with Bashar al-Assad's father were nicknamed 'bladder diplomacy'

(Newser) - The Assad family has been in power in Syria since a successful coup in 1970, the last of dozens that occurred after the country, which is wedged between Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, and Iraq, had declared sovereignty from France in 1946. Since then, each of nine American presidents has tried... More »

Explosion Hits Buses Carrying Evacuating Syrian Families

At least 39 have been reported killed

(Newser) - Syrian TV says at least 39 people were killed Saturday in an explosion that hit near buses carrying people evacuated from a besieged area of government loyalists. A war monitor puts the death toll at 24 in the area controlled by opposition fighters, the AP reports. The explosion Saturday was... More »

Misdirected US-Led Strike Kills 18 Allied Fighters in Syria

US Central Command says aircraft were given the wrong coordinates

(Newser) - A misdirected airstrike by the US-led coalition earlier this week killed 18 allied fighters battling the Islamic State in northern Syria, the US military said Thursday. US Central Command said coalition aircraft were given the wrong coordinates by their partner forces, the predominantly-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces, for a strike intended... More »

Assad: Chemical Weapons Attack 100% Fabricated by US

In order to justify a US airstrike in response, he says

(Newser) - In a new interview with AFP , Syrian President Bashar al-Assad says the US, "hand-in-glove with the terrorists," "fabricated" the suspected chemical weapons attack that killed at least 87, including many children, in a rebel-held town. The reason for the "fabrication"? The US wanted "a... More »

Russia Vetoes UN Resolution on Syrian Chemical Attack

And Rex Tillerson says US-Russia relations are at a 'low point'

(Newser) - The US—along with France and the UK—had sought to pass a resolution condemning the use of chemical weapons in Syria and calling for a full probe into last week's attack only to have it vetoed by Russia during a meeting of the UN Security Council on Wednesday,... More »

White House: Russia Lying About Syrian Chemical Attack

Officials say Russia is spreading 'false narratives' to protect Syrian government

(Newser) - Russia is running a "disinformation campaign" to confuse responsibility for last week's chemical attack in Syria and protect the Syrian government, according to White House officials. In a declassified report released Tuesday, the US government concludes Syrian forces used sarin gas during the attack, the New York Times... More »

Spicer's Hitler Analogy Goes Horribly Awry

'Hitler didn't even sink to the level of using chemical weapons'

(Newser) - Sean Spicer is being hit with a wave of criticism—the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect is even calling for his firing—after he said Hitler wasn't that bad compared to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, at least in one specific area. "Hitler didn't even sink to... More »

Eric Trump 'Sure' Ivanka Pushed President to Bomb Syria

He says Trump's daughter isn't afraid to contradict his advisers

(Newser) - How did President Trump go from staunchly opposing any action in Syria to launching an airstrike in a matter of days? His son, Eric Trump, tells the Telegraph he's "sure" the decision has Ivanka Trump's fingerprints all over it. "Ivanka is a mother of three kids... More »

Susan Rice's Claims on Syria Fail Fact-Checker's Test

In January, she suggested Assad had turned over all his chemical weapons

(Newser) - The Fact Checker blog at the Washington Post has taken the unusual step of looking at a months-old statement made by former National Security Adviser Susan Rice about Syria's chemical weapons. She won't be happy to learn that she earned the worst ranking of Four Pinocchios (only "... More »

Trump Administration Gets Tough With Russia

Iran, Russia warn US not to cross 'red lines'

(Newser) - Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will travel to Moscow on Tuesday, and the visit is highly unlikely to be the love-in that some predicted in the Trump administration's earlier days. Tillerson talked tough on Russia in interviews Sunday, calling for the country to end its support of Syria's... More »

Haley: Syria Regime Change 'We Think Is Going to Happen'

Says Trump's decision to bomb was 'one of president's finest hours'

(Newser) - President Trump's decision to bomb Syria this week "was really one of the president's finest hours," says US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, speaking with CNN 's State of the Union. "He wanted to know exactly what the facts and evidence was. He... More »

Media's Reaction to Syrian Strike Feels Like Déjà Vu

'Are we really doing this again?'

(Newser) - After President Trump's strikes on Syria this week, praise from the usually antagonistic media "flowed like wedding champagne," Margaret Sullivan writes for the Washington Post . It poured in from CNN, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and MSNBC. Trump "became president," followed his... More »

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