Syria

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ISIS Images Show Destroyed Ancient Temple

It appears the 2K-year-old temple of Baalshamin is no more

(Newser) - ISIS released propaganda images today that purport to show militants laying explosives in and then blowing up the 2,000-year-old temple of Baalshamin in Syria's ancient caravan city of Palmyra. The images, posted on social media by supporters of the group, showed militants carrying barrels of explosives, and laying... More »

Whiz-Kid Cartographer Tracks ISIS From His Bedroom

Thomas van Linge is respected war-zone mapmaker—and he's only 19

(Newser) - Thomas van Linge has become one of the most respected cartographers around when it comes to tracking global conflicts, including the advances of ISIS, Boko Haram, and separatists in Ukraine. His highly detailed, color-coded maps have been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, and the Huffington Post, among... More »

What ISIS Does to Gay Men

Those guilty of sodomy are thrown off buildings, shot, or stoned

(Newser) - Islamic State militants track down gay people through the cellphone and Facebook contacts of their captives, then throw them from rooftops, the UN Security Council heard in a closed-door informal meeting yesterday—the first ever to address violence and discrimination against the LGBT community. "If a victim did not... More »

'Darkest Predictions Taking Place' in Ancient City

ISIS blows up 'extremely important' Palmyra temple

(Newser) - When ISIS first seized the ancient city of Palmyra in May, the group's conduct at first seemed oddly restrained —but now there's death and destruction as usual. In the latest outrage, the militants blew up the 2,000-year-old temple of Baal Shamin, a Roman-era site that, like... More »

ISIS Beheads Archaeology Pioneer

Khaled al-Asaad beheaded in Palmyra, where he worked for 50 years

(Newser) - A tragic blow to the archaeology community: Islamic State militants have beheaded one of Syria's most prominent antiquities scholars in a square in the seized city of Palmyra, where dozens of people gathered to watch, Syrian state media and a British activist group report, via the AP . The body... More »

US, Turkey Plan to Wipe ISIS From 68-Mile Zone

Syrian rebels will reportedly assist from the ground

(Newser) - Turkey's nascent fight against ISIS appears to be rapidly intensifying. The country has settled on the broad strokes of a plan with the US that would see the two countries come together to create an ISIS-free zone, with the US supplying warplanes and Turkey contributing troops who wouldn't... More »

Report: Assad Didn't Give It All Up

Last year's mission to find chemical weapons controlled by Assad regime: inspectors

(Newser) - Syria continues to have a substantial—and growing—chemical weapons arsenal despite an international mission to rid the country of such munitions last year, reports the Wall Street Journal . In an in-depth piece, the newspaper talks to the international inspectors and others involved in that much-hyped mission and concludes that... More »

4 Journalists Vanish in Syria

3 Spanish men were last seen in Aleppo

(Newser) - Three Spanish freelance journalists who traveled to Syria to report amid the country's long-running civil war have gone missing around the embattled northern city of Aleppo, a Spanish journalism association says, the latest ensnared in the world's most dangerous assignment for reporters. The disappearance of Antonio Pampliega, Jose... More »

Syria Refugee Crisis Passes Tragic Milestone

This is worst crisis in a generation, UN says

(Newser) - The number of Syrians who have fled abroad since the outbreak of civil war in their country has risen to more than 4 million, the largest number from any crisis in almost 25 years, the United Nations says. A recent wave of people leaving Syria and an update of Turkish... More »

US Has Only Trained 60 Anti-ISIS Syrian Rebels

The goal was 5,400 for the year, but vetting has been tricky

(Newser) - The Pentagon's plan to train an army of moderate Syrian rebels to defeat ISIS hasn't gotten off to the best start, officials admit: The $500 million program, which involves hundreds of US troops and training sites in Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar, has only trained 60 vetted... More »

ISIS Video Shows Mass Execution

Syrian soldiers are shot in ancient amphitheater of Palmyra

(Newser) - Earlier this week, Islamic State militants publicly destroyed more priceless relics in the ancient city of Palmyra in Syria, reports the Washington Post . Today, the group released a video showing it making use of the city in an even more heinous way—to stage a mass execution of Syrian soldiers,... More »

ISIS Beheadings Hit a Terrifying New 'First'

First females beheaded by sword in Syria: Syrian Observatory

(Newser) - The Islamic State has beheaded two female civilians in Syria "by the use of sword in public" for the first time, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The women were killed alongside their husbands in Deir Ezzor and Mayadin over the past two days. All were accused... More »

ISIS Targets Tombs in Ancient City

Officials fear Palmyra's Roman ruins could be next

(Newser) - ISIS militants have destroyed two historic mausoleums in Palmyra, Syria's top antiquities official says, raising fears that the extremists could next target the town's famed Roman ruins . The head of the government's Antiquities and Museums Department says the extremists destroyed the grave of Muhammad bin Ali, a... More »

American 'Martyr' Killed in Syria

Keith Broomfield was fighting alongside Kurdish YPG forces

(Newser) - A 36-year-old American has been killed fighting ISIS alongside Kurdish fighters in Syria, NBC News reports, citing a State Department official. Keith Broomfield, originally from Massachusetts, reportedly died in battle outside Kobani; a Kurdish official there confirms an American died. "American YPG fighter Keith Broomfield fell martyr near Suluk,... More »

Why Hasn't ISIS Destroyed This Ancient City?

No looting or widespread damage in Syria's Palmyra ... yet

(Newser) - The ancient Syrian city of Palmyra was overrun by ISIS last week, but while most expected the militants to loot and destroy, the group has been uncharacteristically calm, the New York Times reports. According to residents, ISIS members started "acting like municipal functionaries" after taking over the city, the... More »

What Humanity Would Lose If Palmyra Is Destroyed

Expert: 3.8K-year-old city is 'mirage out of a fairy tale'

(Newser) - The ancient city of Palmyra, housing a 3,600-foot-long colonnade, marketplace, amphitheater, castle, and numerous tombs, is an archaeological treasure. "It makes Rome blush," says archaeologist Stephennie Mulder. "When you approach the site, it rises out of the desert like some sort of a mirage out of... More »

Pentagon: Syria Strike 'Likely' Killed 2 Kids

Civilian casualties acknowledged for first time

(Newser) - For the first time, the Pentagon has acknowledged that one of the thousands of airstrikes the US-led anti-ISIS coalition has carried out since last August probably killed civilians. After a monthslong investigation, Central Command released a statement saying two children were "likely" killed in a November strike in Syria... More »

Report: ISIS Now Controls 50% of Syria

Destroying priceless artifacts in Palmyra may be a top priority

(Newser) - Two big ISIS headlines this morning: The first, an assertion by the director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that the militants "now control 50% of Syria." The group estimates ISIS holds about 37,000 square miles, an area about the size of Indiana . The Guardian reports... More »

ISIS Takes Ancient City, Putting Ruins at Risk

Palmyra falls in Syria to the Islamic State

(Newser) - It's the second major victory for the Islamic State within a week, this time in Syria instead of Iraq . ISIS fighters have taken control of the ancient desert city of Palmyra, reports Reuters . The city is important not only as a military target—for one thing, ISIS now controls... More »

US Raid Netted 'Treasure Trove' of ISIS Intelligence

Sources say slain militant kept US hostage as slave

(Newser) - The Syria raid that resulted in the death of ISIS commander Abu Sayyaf has yielded some priceless intelligence, lawmakers say, even though Sayyaf ended up dead instead of in custody, the Guardian reports. House Homeland Security committee chief Michael McCaul tells Fox News the Friday raid netted "a treasure... More »

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