Bashar al-Assad

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Missiles Hit Syrian Hospitals, Killing 23—But Was It Russia?

Doctors Without Borders says it's either Russia or Syria

(Newser) - Rebel-held Syrian towns took missile fire Monday and saw at least 23 civilians die in a school and three hospitals—blood that some say is on Russia's hands, Reuters reports. Azaz, a town near Turkey, took the brunt when airstrikes killed 14 at a children's hospital and a... More »

Report: US Secretly Tried to Spur a Coup in Syria

Obama administration held secret talks with 'elements of' regime for years

(Newser) - For years, the Obama administration held secret back-channel talks with members of the Syrian regime in the hope of unseating Bashar al-Assad, US and Arab officials tell the Wall Street Journal . The communication came in bursts—sometimes with senior Syrian officials, other times through intermediaries including Russia and Iran. In... More »

UN Syria Plan Leaves Assad's Fate a Mystery

Security Council votes 15-0 to try to end conflict

(Newser) - After years of ruinous civil war, the United Nations Security Council has finally approved a peace deal for what's left of Syria—but it leaves the future of President Bashar Assad a mystery. The resolution adopted by a unanimous vote on Friday says Syria must hold elections within 18... More »

Assad Says His Troops Advancing, Thanks Russia

Syrian president cites progress on 'almost every front'

(Newser) - Syrian president Bashar al-Assad says his forces are advancing on "almost" all fronts thanks to Russian airstrikes that began nearly two months ago and have tipped the balance in his favor in some parts of the country. In remarks published Sunday, Assad told China's Phoenix Television that the... More »

ISIS: Paris Attacks Were 'Miracles'

Group calls city 'capital of abomination and perversion'

(Newser) - ISIS claimed responsibility for Friday night's Paris terror attacks in a statement that analysts say appears to be genuine. The statement issued online in Arabic and French hails the "miracles" carried out by "eight brothers wearing explosive vests and assault rifles" in Paris, which the statement calls... More »

US Won't Budge on One Key Point as Syria Talks Begin

US, allies want Assad gone from Syria—and want Russia, Iran on board

(Newser) - Talks designed to seek peace in Syria began Friday in Vienna, and this time there's a new player involved in the negotiations: Iran, Bashar al-Assad's No. 1 ally, Reuters notes. "Those who tried to resolve the Syrian crisis have come to the conclusion that without Iran being... More »

Syria's Assad Makes Surprise Trip Abroad

Moscow trip is his first time out of country since war began

(Newser) - President Bashar al-Assad has traveled to Moscow to meet his strongest ally, Russian leader Vladimir Putin, in his first known trip abroad since the war broke out in Syria in 2011, Syrian and Russian media report. A statement posted on the Syrian presidency's official Facebook page says Assad met... 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 »

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 »

Russian Military May Be Joining Fight in Syria

The US and its allies are concerned

(Newser) - If reports from a number of anonymous sources are to be believed, Russia is increasing its military presence in Syria, where a four-year civil war has resulted in 250,000 deaths, and that's worrying to the United States and its allies. The Guardian reports increased sightings of Russian jets,... More »

What ISIS Does to Gay Men

Those guilty of sodomy are thrown off buildings, shot, or stoned

(Newser) - Islamic State militants track down gay people through the cellphone and Facebook contacts of their captives, then throw them from rooftops, the UN Security Council heard in a closed-door informal meeting yesterday—the first ever to address violence and discrimination against the LGBT community. "If a victim did not... More »

Report: Assad Didn't Give It All Up

Last year's mission to find chemical weapons controlled by Assad regime: inspectors

(Newser) - Syria continues to have a substantial—and growing—chemical weapons arsenal despite an international mission to rid the country of such munitions last year, reports the Wall Street Journal . In an in-depth piece, the newspaper talks to the international inspectors and others involved in that much-hyped mission and concludes that... More »

At Heart of Assad War Crimes Case: Smuggled Reports

Investigators also uncover traces of sarin, ricin in Syria

(Newser) - Documents smuggled out of Syria over three years contain enough evidence to put President Bashar al-Assad and 24 senior officials in front of a war crimes tribunal, investigators say. The Commission for International Justice and Accountability, working with 50 Syrian investigators, managed to get its hands on half a million... More »

Rescue Workers: Syria Still Using Chemical Weapons

Witnesses say chlorine gas keeps coming, but UN won't officially point finger

(Newser) - In 2013, Syria agreed to get rid of its chemical weapons , a promise allegedly broken multiple times last year . Now more evidence reported by rescue workers and citizens has piled up that toxins continue to be deployed via chlorine bombs in the war-torn country, the New York Times reports. The... More »

Syria: We Shot Down US Drone

US not sure how Predator went down

(Newser) - Syria's air defenses have shot down a US reconnaissance aircraft in a northwestern province along the Mediterranean coast, according to state media. A US official says a Predator drone went down in Syria yesterday, but it's not clear whether it was shot down. The official, who spoke on... More »

Assad: Syria's in the Loop on Anti-ISIS Airstrikes

But there's no dialogue with the US, Syrian president says

(Newser) - Bashar al-Assad says his government is receiving messages from the US-led coalition about airstrikes against ISIS taking place in his country. In a BBC interview today, the Syrian president admits that there hasn't been direct cooperation, and the messages are coming from third parties—including Iraq—not the US... More »

McCain Tweet-Brags That Syria Whined About Him

Gleefully boasts about Assad regime's annoyance with him

(Newser) - John McCain has put together quite the résumé for himself lately, and it includes the wrath of Vladimir Putin, ISIS, Fidel Castro, and now the regime of Bashar al-Assad. McCain added those latest bragging rights after Bashar Ja'afari, the Syrian ambassador to the UN, yesterday asked the Security... More »

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 »

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