NEWS ABOUT: Syria

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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 »

In Video, Suicide Bomber Rips Up, Burns US Passport

Abusalha returned to US before Syria attack

(Newser) - "We are coming for you," Moner Mohammad Abusalha warns the US in a chilling video recorded before he carried out a suicide truck bombing in Syria in May. The 22-year-old, who was born and grew up in Florida , rips up, bites, and burns his American passport in the... More »

Pentagon Aims to Train Small Syria Opposition Force

Program could start next year, slowly expand

(Newser) - The Pentagon has a plan to train some moderate opposition fighters in Syria, but it may struggle to win congressional approval. Administration officials want to start small, training just 2,300 people; the program would be "scalable" from there, a top defense official tells the Wall Street Journal . It... More »

Chemical Weapons Transfer to Take Place in Mafia Hub

Locals worried about effect on environment, health

(Newser) - The most lethal chemical weapons in Syria’s arsenal will be transferred onto the US Navy ship MV Cape Ray tomorrow, but contamination isn’t the only concern, reports the Daily Beast . The transfer of 1,300 tons of chemical weapons from the Danish vessel Ark Futura, including mustard gas... More »

New Airport Security Concern: 'Creative' Bombs

Intelligence indicates terrorists in Syria may be working on them

(Newser) - The US may boost security measures at its own airports—and call for improvements abroad—amid fears of attacks fueled by the crisis in Syria, ABC News reports. Terrorists in the country, according to new US intelligence, may be working on "creative" bombs targeting commercial planes, sources tell ABC.... More »

ISIS: We've Formed a New Islamic State

All Muslims ordered to obey 'Caliph Ibrahim'

(Newser) - The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria has dropped "of Iraq and Syria" from its name because as far as it is concerned, there is no "Iraq" or "Syria"—just an Islamic caliphate stretching from Aleppo to eastern Iraq. The militant group has declared a new... More »

White House Wants $500M for Syrian Opposition

Request to Congress says recipients will be vetted

(Newser) - President Obama promised back in May to help the Syrian opposition in its fight against Bashar al-Assad, and today he made that promise a lot more tangible. The White House asked Congress for $500 million to train and equip the opposition forces, reports USA Today . With the conflict spilling over... More »

Rand Paul: I Won't Send My Son to Iraq

Senator adds that he doesn't blame Obama for the 'mess'

(Newser) - Rand Paul hit the Sunday show circuit today to stake out a position on Iraq that sets him apart from the hawks in his party. "Let's not be involved in the Syrian civil war, and let's not be involved in the Iraq civil war," the senator... More »

Clinton: I Wanted to Arm Syrian Rebels

Poll gives mixed numbers on possible presidential run

(Newser) - If Hillary Clinton had had her way, the US would have armed Syrian rebels "two-plus years ago," she says. The former secretary of state told CNN that she, the defense secretary, and the head of the CIA sought to arm moderates, but the president disagreed. "We pushed... More »

Chemical Weapons Still Used Regularly in Syria: Watchdog

International monitors find evidence of 'systematic' attacks

(Newser) - Even after Syria's agreement last year to rid itself of chemical weapons, it appears that they're still in steady use in the country, says an international watchdog in a report supporting earlier claims . The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was unable to fully investigate the situation... More »

Every Iraqi Urged to Pick Up a Weapon

Iraq's top cleric says 'everyone who can' must fight

(Newser) - Iraq's top Shiite cleric issued a statement during Friday prayers today, calling on everyone—Shiite and Sunni alike—to fight back against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the New York Times reports. It is "the legal and national responsibility of whoever can hold a weapon, to... More »

1 in 3 Freed Gitmo Detainees Returns to Violence

In some cases with dire results

(Newser) - Just how dangerous was the Obama administration's move to swap five Guantanamo detainees for Bowe Bergdahl ? It's hard to say, but as of January roughly 29% of the 614 Guantanamo detainees released so far had returned to the fight, the Wall Street Journal reports, based on Director... More »

Syria Begins 'Blood Election'

Assad certain to win 'sham' multi-candidate vote

(Newser) - Thousands of Syrians lined up outside polling centers in government-controlled areas around the country to vote today in a presidential election that Bashar Assad is widely expected to win but which has been denounced by critics as a sham. The balloting comes amid a devastating, three-year civil war that activists... More »

Report: Suicide Bomber Was From Florida

FBI increasingly worried that Americans are training for terror in Syria

(Newser) - We still know precious little about "Abu Hurayra al-Amriki," the American suicide bomber who reportedly blew himself up in Syria last weekend, but two US officials tell CNN that the man was indeed a US citizen who was raised and educated in Florida. They would not however reveal... More »

New First in Syria War: American Suicide Bomber

Attack alarms counterterror experts

(Newser) - One of the scores of American citizens believed to be fighting alongside rebels has blown himself up for the cause, US counterterrorism officials say. An al-Qaeda-linked group announced that the man, known to them as Abu Hurayra al-Amriki—Abu Hurayra the American—carried out a suicide truck bombing against government... More »

Obama: US Can't Lead With Bullets Alone

President defends foreign policy, pledges help to Syria rebels

(Newser) - President Obama will ask Congress to create a $5 billion fund to help allied governments fight terrorism, and ramp up aid to Syria's rebels, he announced today, in a wide-ranging commencement speech on foreign policy. Obama spoke to West Point's graduating class, but the speech emphasized an approach... More »

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