Syria

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Families of Slain Hostages to Obama: Save Austin Tice

US journalist is being held captive in Syria

(Newser) - American journalist Austin Tice—believed to be the only US reporter held hostage anywhere in the world—was captured in Syria in August 2012. Since then, US hostages James Foley , Peter Kassig , Kayla Mueller , and Steven Sotloff have been killed, and their families fear Tice's parents will soon have... More »

Diplomats Buck White House, Demand Action in Syria

State Department 'dissent' cable calls for airstrikes

(Newser) - Dozens of State Department employees have endorsed an internal document that advocates US military action to pressure Syria's government into accepting a cease-fire and engaging in peace talks, officials say. The position is at odds with US policy. The "dissent channel cable" was signed by 51 mostly mid-level... More »

Besieged Syrian Town Gets First Food Aid Since 2012

Nearly 500 food rations will feed about 2,400 individuals in Daraya for one month

(Newser) - The Syrian Arab Red Crescent and the UN have delivered food aid to the Damascus suburb of Daraya for the first time since it came under siege in November 2012, hours after the UN said the Syrian government had approved access to 15 of the 19 besieged areas in Syria,... More »

Assad's Defiant Speech Suggests More Bloodshed in Syria

'We will liberate every inch'

(Newser) - Syria's Bashar al-Assad addressed his country's new parliament on Tuesday, and he sounded very much like a confident ruler with no plans to step down. “Just like we liberated Palmyra and many other areas before it, we are going to liberate each and every inch of Syria... More »

Top Hezbollah Commander Killed in Syria

Death is biggest blow to group since 2008

(Newser) - Lebanon's militant Hezbollah group said Friday that its top military commander who was supervising its military operations in Syria, Mustafa Badreddine, was killed in an explosion in Damascus, a major blow to the Shiite group, which has played a significant role in the conflict. Badreddine, 55, had been the... More »

Aleppo's Last Pediatrician Killed in Airstrikes

At least 27 dead in nighttime attack

(Newser) - A wave of overnight airstrikes hit a hospital in Syria supported by Doctors Without Borders and nearby buildings in the rebel-held part of the contested city of Aleppo, killing at least 27 people. The strikes hit the well-known al-Quds field hospital, according to opposition activists and rescue workers, and the... More »

Obama Sending 250 Troops to Syria to Fight ISIS

He wants Special Forces additions to keep up 'momentum'

(Newser) - Last week, President Obama announced the US is sending more than 200 additional troops to Iraq to help fight ISIS, and Monday he made a similar declaration regarding Syria, Reuters reports. "Given the success, I've approved the deployment of up to 250 additional US personnel in Syria, including... More »

US Sending Choppers, 200 Troops to ISIS Fight

American troops will now be closer to the front lines

(Newser) - The US will deploy more than 200 additional troops to Iraq—upping the number from 3,870 to 4,087—and send Apache helicopters for the first time into the fight against ISIS in Iraq, the first major increase in US forces in nearly a year. The uptick in US... More »

ISIS Frees Most of 300 Abducted Cement Workers, Kills 4

The 4 killed were members of a minority Muslim sect

(Newser) - ISIS has released most of the 300 cement workers it abducted near Damascus after questioning them to find out who were Muslims and killing four who were members of the minority Druze sect, the AP reports. Reports of their release came two days after ISIS abducted the cement workers and... More »

Report: ISIS Kidnaps 300 Workers in Syria

No word yet on fate of employees from cement plant

(Newser) - In a brazen assault near the Syrian capital, Islamic State militants on Thursday abducted 300 cement workers and contractors in an area northeast of Damascus, reports the AP , citing Syrian state TV reports. The mass abduction from the al-Badia Cement Company took place in Dumeir, an area where militants launched... More »

Children Found in Mass Grave Left by ISIS in Palmyra

The grave contained 42 bodies of soldiers and civilians

(Newser) - After recapturing the city of Palmyra from ISIS, Syrian troops discovered a mass grave containing the bodies of dozens of men, women, and children who had been decapitated or shot, AFP reports. The city, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its ancient ruins, was captured by ISIS last May.... More »

ISIS Driven Out of Palmyra

Syrian forces now combing historic city for booby traps

(Newser) - Syrian government forces backed by Russian airstrikes drove Islamic State fighters from Palmyra on Sunday, reports the AP , ending the group's 10-month reign of terror over a town whose famed 2,000-year-old ruins once drew tens of thousands of visitors each year. Government forces had been on the offensive... More »

Syrian Forces Battle ISIS In Ancient Palmyra

They've reportedly taken back 3 neighborhoods held by ISIS since May

(Newser) - Syrian government forces have seized three neighborhoods inside Palmyra, a town with famed Roman-era ruins that fell to ISIS last May, state media reported Saturday. According to the AP , Syrian troops and allied militiamen backed by Russian airstrikes have taken up positions in the modern part of town. Palmyra, affectionately... More »

Russian Soldier Reportedly Calls In Airstrike on Himself

'He was discovered and surrounded by terrorists'

(Newser) - A Russian special forces soldier appears to have pulled a move straight out of an action movie, calling down an airstrike on himself after he was discovered by ISIS troops in Syria, Reuters reports. According to AFP , the soldier was on a week-long mission identifying ISIS targets and passing the... More »

Syria Poised to Retake Ancient Town From ISIS

Militants have already destroyed relics in Palmyra

(Newser) - Syrian government forces backed by Russian airstrikes pushed Thursday into the ancient town of Palmyra, which has been held by the Islamic State group since May, state TV reported. The advance came after the troops managed this week to capture several hills and high ground around the town, famed for... More »

Putin Pulling Russian Troops From Syria

Mission 'generally accomplished'

(Newser) - Surprise, surprise: Vladimir Putin is pulling most of his troops out of Syria with his own version of "mission accomplished":
  • “I consider the objectives that have been set for the Defense Ministry to be generally accomplished," he said Monday, per RT.com . "That is why I
... More »

Germany Nabs List of 22K Suspected ISIS Fighters

Potential 'law enforcement gold mine' reveals recruits from at least 50 countries

(Newser) - Germany is in possession of what one expert tells the BBC could be a "law enforcement gold mine": an apparent list of 22,000 or so foreigners from about 50 countries—including "a handful of Americans," per the Guardian —who headed to Syria to fight for... More »

US: Strike Killed ISIS 'Minister of War'

Omar the Chechen was 'battle-tested' leader, Pentagon says

(Newser) - ISIS honcho Omar the Chechen—also known as Abu Omar al-Shishani and Tarkhan Batirashvili—was almost certainly killed alongside a dozen fighters in an American airstrike in Syria last week, US officials say. The Georgian national, whose red beard and willingness to appear in videos made him one of the... More »

'Last American in Damascus': I Will Never Leave Syria

Thomas Webber has lived there for 40 years, loves it, and says they'll have to carry him out

(Newser) - Thomas Webber stoops to check his car for bombs every morning before heading out, but the 71-year-old American has no plans to leave Damascus, a city he has called home for more than four decades, the AP reports. He's one of the very few Americans not of Syrian origin... More »

Nanny Says Beheading Girl, 4, Was Revenge on Putin

Gulchekhra Bobokulova says she is angry at Putin for Syria airstrikes

(Newser) - A nanny from Uzbekistan accused of decapitating a 4-year-old girl and brandishing her head outside a Moscow subway station said during an apparent interrogation captured on video that the killing was an act of revenge against President Vladimir Putin for Russian airstrikes in Syria. Gulchekhra Bobokulova, 38, was detained in... More »

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