NEWS ABOUT: Syria

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Philippine Troops Pull Off 'Greatest Escape' from Militants

They were outnumbered in Golan Heights

(Newser) - Under cover of darkness, 40 Filipino peacekeepers escaped their besieged outpost in the Golan Heights after a seven-hour gunbattle with Syrian rebels, Philippine officials said today. Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents still hold captive 44 Fijian troops .The getaway, combined with the departure of another entrapped group of Filipino troops, marked a major... More »

ISIS Sells Women Into Marriage for $1K Each: Report

The Islamic State considers Yazidi women 'spoils of war': report

(Newser) - The Islamic State has "distributed" about 300 Yazidi women to its jihadist fighters as spoils of war, CNN reports. The Islamic State, or ISIS, kidnapped the women when it attacked Yazidi villages and forced tens of thousands to flee earlier this month, according to a British group monitoring the... More »

British PM Raises UK Threat Level to 'Severe'

Government thinks attack by extremists is 'highly likely'

(Newser) - David Cameron changed the UK threat level from "substantial" to "severe"—its second-highest level—and outlined measures the British government is taking to combat terrorism at a press conference today in London, reports the BBC . On the heels of the execution of James Foley and other disturbing... More »

44 Fiji Peacekeepers Captured by Syria Rebels

Militants force members of UN mission from Golan Heights post, also trap Filipino troops

(Newser) - The UN says that 44 of its Fijian peacekeeping troops have been captured by militants in Syria, while 75 of its Filipino peacekeepers are surrounded by insurgents who want them to surrender their weapons, reports the AP . All of the soldiers are said to be alive, and leaders from both... More »

US: Dozen Americans Fighting for ISIS

Abdirahmaan Muhumed named as 2nd slain US fighter

(Newser) - ISIS has stunned the world with its brutality and rapid advance in recent months—and the publicity has also attracted more foreign fighters, including around a dozen Americans that US intelligence services have been able to identify, officials say. The recruits—who seem to be getting younger—see the militants... More »

ISIS Claims It's on an Execution Spree in Syria

Rights group says up to 65 soldiers slaughtered; militants say 200

(Newser) - The Islamic State group has killed dozens of Syrian soldiers it captured after overrunning a military base in northeastern Syria, shooting some and using knives on others in the latest brutal mass killing attributed to the extremists, activists said today. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the militants rounded... More »

Journo Thanks 'Big-Hearted' People Who Won His Release

Peter Theo Curtis says he's 'overwhelmed' to learn about efforts

(Newser) - American journalist Peter Theo Curtis, recently back on US soil , said in his first public remarks today that he was overwhelmed by the people who were behind efforts to secure his release from al-Nusra Front. Curtis, who was freed Sunday after 22 months in captivity, wore sandals and a gray... More »

US Seeks Allies in ISIS Fight —but Not Assad

Obama may greenlight military action in Syria, expanded airstrikes in Iraq

(Newser) - After OKing airstrikes in Iraq and spy flights over Syria in an attempt to rein in ISIS, President Obama has started rallying international allies to expand efforts against the militant Sunni group—efforts that may include even more airstrikes in Iraq and possible military action in Syria, reports the New ... More »

Who Was American ISIS Fighter Douglas McCain?

Convert's background combed for clues

(Newser) - Douglas McAuthur McCain was just one of many Americans known to have traveled to Syria—but he is the first known to have died fighting for ISIS , and his background and social media profile are being combed for clues. The 33-year-old, who converted to Islam from Christianity a decade ago,... More »

Syria Likely Gassed Civilians 8 Times in April: UN

Independent commission also says country is plagued by 'crimes against humanity'

(Newser) - The Assad regime likely used chlorine gas eight times on its own people in northern Syria villages in April, according to a report released today by an independent UN commission, the AP reports. The report also indicates that the Syrian people have been besieged by crimes against humanity at the... More »

American Killed Fighting for ISIS: Report

NBC: Douglas McCain, 33, of San Diego died in Syria battle

(Newser) - A 33-year-old American has reportedly been killed while fighting for Islamic State militants over the weekend in Syria, reports NBC News , citing photos of the man's passport and body—which has a distinctive tattoo—and confirmation via an activist with the Free Syrian Army. The man in question is... More »

Eye on ISIS, US Begins Flights Over Syria

Regime warns against striking ISIS without its consent

(Newser) - Less than a year after President Obama made the case for striking Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria , the US now appears poised for strikes on one of the regime's opponents. Obama authorized manned and unmanned surveillance flights over Syria over the weekend to gather intelligence on ISIS militants,... More »

Kidnapped US Journalist on the Way Home

Qatar helped free Peter Theo Curtis from Nusra Front

(Newser) - The US has confirmed that a kidnapped American journalist has been freed by his captors —and John Kerry says he is "relieved and grateful" that Peter Theo Curtis is on the way home. Relatives tell the New York Times that Qatar helped free the Massachusetts native after nearly... More »

Kidnapped US Journalist Freed: Report

Peter Theo Curtis was taken in Turkey in 2012

(Newser) - American journalist Peter Theo Curtis, who was kidnapped in Turkey the month before James Foley went missing in 2012, has been released and is currently in the custody of United Nations representatives. Curtis, a Boston native abducted as he prepared to cross the border into Syria, was set free today... More »

US Considers Military Action in Syria

White House signals that a range of options being considered

(Newser) - The first signal came earlier this week, in the wake of the James Foley execution , when Joint Chiefs chairman Martin Dempsey said Islamic State militants could not be defeated without taking the fight to them in Syria . Now the White House is considering doing exactly that, according to reports in... More »

Pentagon: To Get ISIS, We'd Have to Strike Syria

Chuck Hagel calls Islamic State 'beyond anything we've seen'

(Newser) - In a Pentagon briefing today, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said US airstrikes have helped Iraqi and Kurdish forces regain their footing in Iraq, but he expects Islamic State militants will regroup and stage a new offensive. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said it's possible to contain the Islamic... More »

Could Ransom Have Saved James Foley?

Islamic State demanded a multimillion-dollar ransom for his release

(Newser) - Special forces reportedly tried to free journalist James Foley in Syria earlier this summer, but to no avail. A ransom, however, may have gotten the job done. The Islamic State, which filmed the decapitation of the 40-year-old video journalist who'd been held hostage since 2012, had demanded a multimillion-dollar... More »

Obama to Critics: Syria Backlash Is 'Horses---'

Reacts to growing criticism over keeping distance

(Newser) - President Obama has faced some tough criticism lately over his reluctance to get more involved in Syria; not least among his vocal critics is Hillary Clinton . But it seems he's tired of the complaints from both parties. When Republican Sen. Bob Corker asked a wide-ranging and critical question about... More »

Islamic State Stones 2 Women to Death for Adultery

Locals refuse to throw rocks

(Newser) - Two women were stoned to death by Islamic State militants within a 24-hour period last month, the AP reports. Their alleged crime: adultery. "People were shocked and couldn't understand what was going on," says an activist witness to one of the stonings in northern Syria. Militants called... More »

Clinton Knocks White House 'Failure' in Syria

And suggests she'll run in 2016?

(Newser) - In a new Atlantic interview, Hillary Clinton has underlined her differences with President Obama on foreign policy—particularly when it comes to Syria. Clinton pointed to the administration's limited involvement in Syria as a major factor in the Islamic State's surge to power in Iraq, Politico notes. "... More »

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