Syria

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In a Black Sea Resort, Putin Holds Surprise Meeting

With President Bashar al-Assad, who has left Syria just twice since 2011

(Newser) - Bashar al-Assad has left his country's borders for just the second time since the Syrian crisis began in March 2011, venturing to Russia once again for what the AP describes as a surprise three-hour visit that went unannounced until Tuesday morning. Assad met with President Vladimir Putin on Monday... More »

Syria's OK on Paris Accord Leaves US All Alone

United States now only country in the world to oppose climate agreement

(Newser) - In a move that further isolates the US from the international community, Syria has officially agreed to sign the Paris climate accord. The announcement was made at a climate summit in Germany on Tuesday, reports Politico . That means the US—which will withdraw from the deal on the basis that... More »

'The City Is Completely Liberated From Terrorism'

ISIS loses control of Deir ez-Zour in Syria

(Newser) - The Syrian army has liberated the eastern city of Deir ez-Zour from ISIS, according to Syrian state media. Friday's report says the military is now in full control of the long-contested city, which ISIS has controlled since 2014 and which the BBC calls ISIS' "last major stronghold" in... More »

ISIS Shifting Strategy as Empire Dreams Crumble

With 'capital' of Raqqa lost, analysts say group is returning to 'underground insurgency'

(Newser) - US Central Command is holding off on official confirmation for now, but accounts on the ground appear to have confirmed the inevitable: ISIS has been routed from its de facto capital of Raqqa, Syria. The defeat means that the Islamic State, which once had grand plans for an expanding caliphate,... More »

'Capital of Terrorism' Has Fallen

ISIS has lost control of Raqqa, the seat of its caliphate

(Newser) - A commander with the US-backed Syrian forces battling the Islamic State group says the city of Raqqa has been liberated from Islamic State militants and that operations are underway to clear the city of land mines and extremist sleeper cells. Brig. Gen. Talal Sillo told the AP on Tuesday that... More »

US, Syria Will Soon Be Only Holdouts on Paris Accord

Nicaragua will sign the climate agreement soon

(Newser) - When President Trump announced earlier this year that the US would pull out of the Paris climate accord, much of the coverage pointed out that only Nicaragua and Syria were also in the "no" camp. That group just got a little smaller: Nicaragua plans to sign the accord, leaving... More »

US Citizen Fighting for ISIS Now in US Custody

US military officials working to confirm he's American

(Newser) - US military officials say a man believed to be an American citizen who was fighting with Islamic State militants has surrendered in Syria and is now in US custody, the AP reports. Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway, a Pentagon spokesman, says the man surrendered to Syrian Democratic forces around Tuesday and has... More »

Syria: Israeli Air Raid Killed 2 Soldiers

Regime says missiles were fired from Lebanese air space

(Newser) - The Syrian army says an Israeli air raid on a military position in western Syria has killed two soldiers and caused material damage. The army says the attack early Thursday hit a facility near the western town of Masyaf, close to the Mediterranean coast. The army says the Israeli warplanes... More »

Syria's First Trade Fair Since War Began Ends in Tragedy

Shelling kills 4, wounds 4 others

(Newser) - Activists and a local journalist say a shell has hit Syria's first international trade fair since the war broke out six years ago, killing and wounding several people. Sunday's shelling comes three days after the Syrian government opened the international trade fair, an event hailed by officials as... More »

Turkish Media Blamed for Map of US Military Posts in Syria

Turkish government denies any role in the map's release

(Newser) - The spokesperson for Turkeys' president says the government had no role in the publication by the Turkish state-run news agency of a map showing US military posts in Syria, the AP reports. The US military said it had raised concerns with Ankara after Anadolu Agency published a map showing 10... More »

Parents of Kidnapped US Reporter Believe He's Alive

Parents of Austin Tice speak out

(Newser) - The parents of an American journalist who has been missing in Syria for the past five years said on Thursday that they believe he is still alive—and that the US and Syrian governments have assured them they're doing all they can to secure his safe release. The pair... More »

Trump Ending CIA Program in Syria Opposed by Putin

The CIA will stop arming opponents of Assad

(Newser) - President Trump has decided to halt the CIA's years-long covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Russia had long pushed the United States to end the program, per the AP . The phasing out of the secret program was reported by the... More »

Syria Ceasefire Goes Into Effect

Move was brokered by US, Russia at G20

(Newser) - An open-ended ceasefire in southern Syria brokered by the United States and Russia has come into effect. The ceasefire, announced after a meeting between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg last week, is the first initiative by the Trump administration in collaboration with Russia to bring some... More »

When ISIS Is Beaten in Syria and Iraq, Then What?

Without a clear strategy, it's a 'dangerous situation,' says one analyst

(Newser) - The Islamic State appears to be nearly ousted in the Iraqi city of Mosul, and now US-backed forces have the last 2,500 ISIS holdouts trapped in the group's other stronghold of Raqqa, Syria, reports the New York Times . The militants are cut off from supplies, though the final... More »

Investigators: Deadly Attack in Syria Used Sarin

Findings will be part of UN investigation

(Newser) - An investigation by the international chemical weapons watchdog has concluded that sarin nerve gas was used in a deadly April 4 attack on a Syrian town, the latest confirmation of chemical weapons use in Syria's civil war. The attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Syria's Idlib province left more... More »

Syria, Iran, Russia Push Back Against US Warning

Syria says it isn't planning to use chemical weapons, which it says it doesn't have

(Newser) - Late Monday, the White House took the unusual step of issuing a preemptive warning against Syria, which it claims is preparing to launch a chemical weapons attack. The Wall Street Journal reports the Trump administration is basing that assertion on evidence from the same air base that the US hit... More »

US Issues Unprecedented 'Pre-Warning' to Syria

White House warns Assad's regime about carrying out another chemical attack

(Newser) - President Bashar al-Assad's regime will pay a "heavy price" if it carries out another chemical weapons attack in Syria, the White House said in an unusual warning Monday night. The White House statement said the US has "identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack" that would... More »

Trump White House Tried to Free US Hostage in Syria

CIA chief had secret talks for journalist Austin Tice, but to no avail

(Newser) - The Trump administration has been trying to get another US hostage home: Austin Tice . The New York Times reports that clandestine talks between CIA director Mike Pompeo and Syrian intelligence chief Ali Mamlouk began in February to initiate the release of the American journalist and former Marine, who went missing... More »

The World Now Has a Record Number of Refugees

Figure is 22.5M; in all, 65M are living displaced from their homes

(Newser) - The world broke a grim record last year, with 65.6 million people living forcibly displaced from their homes, an increase of 300,000 over 2015. Most of those people—40.3 million—were displaced but still living within their own countries, per a new report by the UN refugee... More »

Russia Threatens to Hit US Jets Over Syria

Moscow angry after downing of Syrian plane

(Newser) - Russia's defense ministry says it will treat US-led coalition planes in Syria that venture west of the Euphrates River as targets after the US military shot down a Syrian Air Force jet on Sunday, reports the AP . Moscow also suspended a military hotline the two nations have used to... More »

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