Bashar al-Assad

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Syria: Israeli Airstrikes Just Hit Us

Israel says it won't comment on 'foreign reports'

(Newser) - Israeli warplanes carried out two airstrikes today near Damascus, one near the city's international airport and a second outside a town close to the Lebanese border, Syria's state news agency said. SANA called the attack "an aggression against Syria" and said there were no reports of casualties.... More »

What ISIS Likes to Drink to Stay Awake

Militants fueled by Red Bull have taken control of Turkish-Syrian border trade

(Newser) - Red Bull gives you wings, and if you're an Islamic militant, apparently, extra stamina to keep fighting. Turkish traders are shipping the energy drink and other items into Syria across borders that are controlled by rebels belonging to ISIS, the Free Syrian Army, and the Islamic Front, and business... More »

Obama: Here's the Plan for Iraq

President discusses ISIS, immigration, and his love for politics

(Newser) - The latest addition of 1,500 US troops to Iraq "signals a new phase" in the fight against ISIS (or ISIL, or Islamic State), but not one that includes Americans engaging in combat, President Obama says in a wide-ranging discussion with Bob Schieffer on Face the Nation, CBS News... More »

7 Questions About the ISIS Airstrikes, Answered

Why Raqqa, and more

(Newser) - The US and five Middle Eastern allies have begun airstrikes against ISIS in Syria , with the military reporting 22 airstrikes in the country—though they didn't all target ISIS. Who else was in our crosshairs? The answer to that, and more:
  • Did Syria get a heads-up? It says it
... More »

US Seeks Allies in ISIS Fight —but Not Assad

Obama may greenlight military action in Syria, expanded airstrikes in Iraq

(Newser) - After OKing airstrikes in Iraq and spy flights over Syria in an attempt to rein in ISIS, President Obama has started rallying international allies to expand efforts against the militant Sunni group—efforts that may include even more airstrikes in Iraq and possible military action in Syria, reports the New ... More »

Syria Likely Gassed Civilians 8 Times in April: UN

Independent commission also says country is plagued by 'crimes against humanity'

(Newser) - The Assad regime likely used chlorine gas eight times on its own people in northern Syria villages in April, according to a report released today by an independent UN commission, the AP reports. The report also indicates that the Syrian people have been besieged by crimes against humanity at the... More »

Eye on ISIS, US Begins Flights Over Syria

Regime warns against striking ISIS without its consent

(Newser) - Less than a year after President Obama made the case for striking Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria , the US now appears poised for strikes on one of the regime's opponents. Obama authorized manned and unmanned surveillance flights over Syria over the weekend to gather intelligence on ISIS militants,... 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 »

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 »

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 »

Sources: Assad Dumped Chlorine From Helicopters

But no official confirmation yet

(Newser) - The US is looking into whether a toxic chemical was deployed in areas of Syria that are controlled by rebel forces seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar Assad. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said today the chemical was likely chlorine, if it was used. She said officials were still trying... More »

Syria Opposition: Images Show Regime Used Poison Gas

Country ships out another baatch of chemical weapons

(Newser) - The Syrian government and the opposition have blamed each other for reported poison gas attacks in the rebel-controlled village of Kfar Zeita; now, the opposition says it has images that point the finger at the regime. Activists released images and video of an unexploded canister marked with the chemical symbol... More »

US Looking Into Reports of Poison Gas in Syria

Both sides blame each other for alleged toxic gas attack

(Newser) - The US ambassador to the United Nations said today that reports of a poison gas attack in a rural village north of Damascus were so far "unsubstantiated," adding that the United States was trying to establish what really happened before it considers a response. Both sides in Syria'... More »

Security Council Unites on Syria: Don't Block Aid

Russia joins in resolution, but strips it of language on sanctions

(Newser) - The UN Security Council united for the first time on a resolution on Syria's humanitarian crisis today, demanding that President Bashar al-Assad's government and the opposition provide immediate access everywhere in the country to deliver aid to millions of people in desperate need. The fate of the Western... More »

Where Did Syria Extremists Come From? Iraq's Prisons

ISIS ranks fueled by what it termed 'Operation Breaking the Walls'

(Newser) - The most extreme faction in Syria didn't just spring up naturally—it was purposely built through a series of daring Iraqi prison breaks, the New York Times reports. With demand for fighters high, and the US recently departed, the group now known as the Islamic State of Iraq and... More »

Syria, Opposition Meet for First Time, Silently

They don't address each other, only the UN mediator

(Newser) - Small steps: The first face-to-face meeting between Syria's government and the opposition hoping to overthrow Bashar al-Assad started and ended after barely a half-hour today. The two sides faced each other silently as a UN mediator split the distance between them and laid groundwork for talks intended to lead... More »

Syria Peace Talks Open—Unpleasantly

Sides take firm stances in opening speeches

(Newser) - With more than 100,000 dead in a divided Syria, government and opposition leaders are in Switzerland today for year-in-the-making international peace talks. Direct talks haven't even begun yet (that comes Friday), but so far, the tone at the "Geneva II" talks has been far from friendly, the... More »

Invite Could Kill Year-in-Making Syria Peace Talks

Opposition threatens to pull out

(Newser) - This week's Syria peace talks in Switzerland have been in the works for more than a year, but they're in danger of falling apart before they begin. United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has invited Iran to join the talks, sparking protests from the US and causing Syria's... More »

Kerry: Syria Opposition Must Join Peace Talks

Both sides must accept future leader, he says

(Newser) - John Kerry has urged the Syrian opposition to attend next week's peace conference in Switzerland, saying any individual chosen to lead a political transition in the war-torn country must be acceptable to both the government and opposing forces.The opposition groups, which will vote today whether to attend the... More »

Now European Spies Are Meeting With Assad

Opposition is concerned about cooperation

(Newser) - For the first time since Europe withdrew its ambassadors from Syria, European intelligence agencies met recently with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to discuss extremists—and the move is sparking concern among Assad's opponents. The purpose of the meetings was to share information on European jihadists who are currently working... More »

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