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Jarring Stat Shows Why US Is Dumping Syrian Training

Major overhaul in $500M strategy in the works

(Newser) - The White House is pulling the plug on a strategy to train Syrian rebels that by all accounts has been an expensive flop. The $500 million Pentagon program that began in December had been designed to put more than 5,000 fighters on the ground this year alone to fight... More »

Russian Missiles 'Hit the Wrong Country'

Nonsense, Moscow says on Facebook

(Newser) - Russian cruise missiles fired from vessels in the Caspian Sea crashed in Iran instead of hitting their targets in Syria, according to CNN —but if they did, Iran is staying pretty quiet about it. US military monitors determined that at least four of Russia's new "Kaliber" missiles... More »

Things Getting Tense Between US, Russia in Syrian Airspace

US fighter jets forced to reroute to avoid Russian aircraft

(Newser) - A Russian military aircraft was too close for comfort in the skies above Syria, forcing two US F-16s to move out of the way and scuttling their mission, CNN reports. The Pentagon made the announcement Wednesday but would only say the incident occurred in the past few days. All US... More »

Russia Is Firing on Syria From Ships Now, Too

Firepower supplements strikes from planes

(Newser) - In a demonstration of its new alliance with Syria, Russia says it launched 26 cruise missiles from warships in the Caspian Sea on Wednesday while also supporting the Syrian army's ground offensive with warplanes, the New York Times reports. According to the BBC , Russia claims those cruise missiles, which... More »

Kickstarter Will Help You Help Refugees

Crowdfunding site teams up with White House

(Newser) - Kickstarter is crowdfunding for Syria, at the request of the White House, which asked if the crowdfunding website could find ways for the US public to help Syrian refugees, the Guardian reports. The result: this special Kickstarter page launched Tuesday, through which people can donate money that will go to... More »

Russia Sending 'Volunteers' to Syria

NATO slams Moscow's violation of member's airspace

(Newser) - Russian "volunteers"—like those who helped Moscow seize control of Crimea—could soon be arriving in Syria in numbers large enough to make a big difference to the conflict. Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov, chief of the Russian parliament's defense committee, told reporters on Monday that volunteers who had... More »

Assad: Russia Must Beat 'Terrorists' in Syria

Syrian dictator bashes Western leaders as 'lost'

(Newser) - Syria's President Bashar Assad said Sunday that the air campaign by Russia against "terrorists" in his country must succeed or the whole region will be destroyed, stressing that the fight against terrorism must precede a political process. In the interview with Iran's Khabar TV, Assad also accused... More »

Russian Strikes, Day 2: Where We're At

Moscow has continued airstrikes for 2nd day

(Newser) - Russia has begun launching airstrikes in Syria for the second straight day despite US concerns, reports the BBC . The Kremlin insisted again Thursday that the strikes are against terrorists, reports Reuters , though the US isn't buying it. American officials say Vladimir Putin is going after rebels trying to overthrow... More »

McCain Blames Russian Airstrikes on Obama

As do other Republicans

(Newser) - Russia launched airstrikes against Syria Wednesday, and John McCain was quick to blame it on Obama. "It did not have to be this way—but this is the inevitable consequence of hollow words, red lines crossed, tarnished moral influence, leading from behind, and a total lack of American leadership"... More »

Syria's Top Google Searches Tell Sad Story

The desperation is apparent

(Newser) - The horrors of the Syrian conflict show up in an odd place: Google, where the top searches out of war-torn nation over the past two weeks are heartbreaking, reports Al-Jazeera —and show how desperately people want to flee the country.
  • The two most popular searches: "immigration to Germany"
... More »

Wasting No Time, Putin Strikes Syria

But no one's sure if he's targeting ISIS

(Newser) - Russian lawmakers gave Vladimir Putin the thumbs-up to conduct airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday, and the president didn't waste any time. Giving the US Embassy in Baghdad just an hour's notice, Russian military aircraft started the strikes near the city of Homs in western Syria, a senior US... More »

Putin Will Hit ISIS With Airstrikes in Syria

Parliament approves Putin's request; Moscow dings US in process

(Newser) - Russian lawmakers voted unanimously Wednesday to let President Vladimir Putin send Russian troops to Syria. The Kremlin sought to play down the decision, saying it will only use its air force there, not ground troops. Putin has to request parliamentary approval for any use of Russian troops abroad, according to... More »

Shattered Syria May Never Be Put Back Together

Analysts say partition is starting to look inevitable

(Newser) - Syria has already been shattered by more than four years of civil war, and with no solution in sight, some players on the ground and observers outside have concluded its fate will be to break up along sectarian or regional lines—in a best-case scenario, tenuously held together by a... More »

Obama vs. Putin: The Best Lines

And neither says much after a 'businesslike' one-on-one meeting

(Newser) - President Obama and Vladimir Putin met privately for more than 90 minutes today, about 30 minutes longer than scheduled, but neither was divulging much afterward. Putin called the meeting "businesslike," while Obama didn't provide immediate comments, reports ABC News . A White House official, however, also used the... More »

Obama at UN: Putin Needs to Get on Board With Assad Ouster

POTUS wants Assad out, says 'tyrant' isn't best choice to fight ISIS

(Newser) - "Dangerous currents" are creating a "darker world," President Obama told the UN General Assembly on Monday, touching on a slew of issues including the "apocalyptic cult" ISIS, the ongoing crisis in Ukraine, and Syria's civil war, NBC News reports. Obama underscored the need to keep... More »

Targeting ISIS, France Airstrikes 'Hit Syria'

Hollande turns firepower on Assad's territory after concerns about refugee crisis

(Newser) - France has fired its first airstrikes in Syria as it expands military operations against Islamic State extremists, President Francois Hollande's office announced today. The office said that "France has hit Syria" based on information from French reconnaissance flights sent earlier this month. France has been firing airstrikes on... More »

$15M Picasso Sent as $37 Xmas Gift Returns Home

1911 painting was stolen more than 10 years ago from French storage room

(Newser) - A $15 million Pablo Picasso painting is back on display in a Paris museum after a long and unusual journey. La Coiffeuse (The Hairdresser) disappeared from a French storage room more than a decade ago, then turned up in a package from Belgium to New York last year—with a... More »

Syrian Baby Born With Shrapnel Wound

Shrapnel pierced mother's womb during airstrike

(Newser) - A baby girl named Amel, or "Hope," was born in Syria this month already bearing a shrapnel wound. Amel's mom, Amira, was nine months pregnant when she and three of her children were hurt when an airstrike (reportedly by government forces) hit near their Aleppo home on... More »

'Doomsday Vault' Sees Its First Withdrawal

Spurred by the Syrian civil war

(Newser) - The "Doomsday Vault" just got its first bit of doomsday press: coverage of its first-ever withdrawal of seeds. Since 2008, the vault has sat on a Norwegian island in the Svalbard archipelago, 800 miles from the North Pole where the soil is always frozen. It's a place so... More »

Why ISIS Members Quit: Boredom, No Luxury Cars

Should defectors be given a helping hand?

(Newser) - ISIS recruits are fleeing the Jihadist group for various reasons—including their use as suicide bombers, the lack of luxury cars, and the sheer boredom of duties that don't involve frontline fighting, according to a new report . Published today by a London-based think tank, the report calls defectors "... More »

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