NEWS ABOUT: Syria

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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 »

US Secretly Training Commandos in Africa

And on the verge of doing the same in Syria

(Newser) - The US military has been secretly training counterterrorism commandos in a handful of African countries, the New York Times reveals today, in the hopes of creating elite, homegrown foes for groups like al-Qaeda and Boko Haram. The Pentagon is spending almost $70 million on the plan, drawing on classified funds,... More »

UN Fact-Finders Attacked in Syria

Amid reports they were kidnapped, watchdog group says staffers safe

(Newser) - A group of UN and chemical weapons watchdog members came under attack in Syria, according to reports—but stories conflict regarding what happened next, France 24 notes. Syria's foreign ministry said 11 people were kidnapped, six of them UN fact-finders. Officials said opposition fighters were behind the attack, the... More »

As UN Envoy Quits, France Says Assad Using Chemicals

Regime has continued using chemical weapons: French diplomat

(Newser) - First it was Kofi Annan; now his successor, Lakhdar Brahimi, is also stepping down as the UN and Arab League's special envoy to Syria. "He has faced almost impossible odds, with a Syrian nation, Middle Eastern region, and wider international community that have been hopelessly divided in their... More »

Militants Tunnel Under Syria Hotel, Destroy It

No official word yet on casualties in Aleppo attack

(Newser) - Islamic militants destroyed an Aleppo hotel used by Syrian government troops today by tunneling underneath the building and planting explosives there, the New York Times reports. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the government soldiers suffered casualties in the attack on the Carlton Citadel, where they had been based... More »

Symbolic Assad Win: Rebels Flee Revolution's 'Capital'

Evacuations take place under new ceasefire

(Newser) - The central city of Homs was once known as the "capital of the revolution" against Syria's Bashar al-Assad, notes the BBC . No more: Buses began evacuating fighters and anti-government civilians from some of their last strongholds today, a move that marks "a de-facto end of the rebellion... More »

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