North Africa unrest

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UK Pulls Staffers From Libya Amid Unrest

Embassy stays open

(Newser) - Britain's Foreign Office says it is temporarily withdrawing some staff from its embassy in the Libyan capital in light of recent political unrest . Heavily armed militias have been besieging government buildings in Tripoli over the past month, blocking access to ministries to push their political demands. The Foreign Office... More »

Algeria Gas-Plant Survivor Tells of Harrowing Escape

Liviu Floria, seven others wandered through the desert for hours

(Newser) - Liviu Floria began his shift at the In Amenas plant last Wednesday expecting a day like any other, but the Romanian gas worker would within days find himself wandering through the desert with seven co-workers, desperate to escape the Algerian militants who had seized the facility, reports the New York ... More »

Algeria Raid Kills 37 Hostages

Islamist attackers came from many countries, authorities say, including 2 Canadians

(Newser) - The hostages weren't the only Westerners involved in the Sahara gas plant crisis, according to Algerian authorities. Security sources say two Canadian Islamists were among the attackers found dead after the crisis came to a bloody end, Reuters reports. Authorities say the militants, who claimed the attack on behalf... More »

5 Arrested in Algeria Crisis; Death Toll at 81

Mali-based terrorist takes responsibility for attack

(Newser) - Officials in Algeria have arrested five suspects in the Algerian gas-plant hostage crisis that left at least 81 people dead, report the BBC and AP . All five are members of an Islamist group, according to a private TV channel, and Algerian officials say each hailed from one of six different... More »

Why the US Must Help France Save Mali

If not, it will become haven for terrorists: Vicki Huddleston

(Newser) - The US is reportedly going to provide more tactical help to French troops trying to keep Islamist rebels from overtaking Mali, and a former US ambassador to the country says it can't come too soon. Helping France succeed is "in our national interest," argues Vicki Huddleston in... More »

France Launches Airstrikes in Mali

President Hollande says terrorists 'threaten us all'

(Newser) - France launched airstrikes today to help the government of Mali defeat al-Qaeda-linked militants who captured more ground this week, dramatically raising the stakes in the battle for this vast desert nation. French President Francois Hollande said the "terrorist groups, drug traffickers, and extremists" in northern Mali "show a... More »

US Pledges $30M More in Syria Aid

France formally recognizes opposition coalition

(Newser) - Two pieces of good news this week for the newly-formed Syria opposition coalition : France became the first Western country to officially recognize it as the only valid representative of the Syrian people, and the US pledged $30 million in humanitarian aid. Hillary Clinton pledged the additional aid today at a... More »

Bahrain Bans All Protests

Kingdom moves to quash pro-democracy rallies

(Newser) - Bahrain has imposed emergency-style rules banning all protest gatherings and threatening legal action against groups considered to be backing escalating demonstrations and clashes in the strategic Gulf kingdom. The order, announced by the Interior Ministry, is the most sweeping attempt to quash the kingdom's anti-government uprising since martial law... More »

Syrian Army Agrees to Holiday Truce

Ceasefire in effect for Eid al-Adha

(Newser) - The Syrian military says it will cease military operations for four days starting tomorrow in observance of a major Muslim holiday. In the announcement read on state TV today, however, the army said it would still respond to gunfire or roadside bombs and keep rebels from bolstering their positions or... More »

Now Syrian Rebels Have Missiles

Meanwhile, war reaches Damascus, the wealthy

(Newser) - This could change things: Some Syrian rebels now have antiaircraft missiles, rebels and regional officials say. Video footage appears to show the rebels using such weapons, which have been smuggled into the country, the Wall Street Journal reports. Rebels say they downed a military helicopter yesterday, one of at least... More »

Eyes on Syria, US Military Now in Jordan

Outpost is closest American presence to Syria

(Newser) - The US military now has a presence in Jordan, less than 35 miles from the Syrian border, that it secretly set up this summer; more than 150 specialists are stationed there. Right now, the mission is focused on helping Jordan deal with tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, but it'... More »

NATO Ready to Defend Turkey in Syria Conflict

Border conflict continues for sixth day

(Newser) - As Turkey continued firing back at Syria for a sixth day today after a Syrian shell crossed the border and killed five civilians last week, NATO says it is prepared to defend Turkey. The alliance has "all necessary plans in place to protect and defend Turkey if necessary,"... More »

Turkey OKs Military Ops in Syria as Shelling Continues

Syria apologizes for civilian deaths

(Newser) - Turkey continued shelling Syria for a second day today, reportedly killing several government soldiers, after Syrian shells killed at least five civilians in a Turkish border town yesterday. In what a prime minister's aide calls a warning to Syria, Turkey's parliament today authorized military operations inside Syria, even... More »

Reporter Killed by Sniper in Syria During Live Broadcast

As military HQ is hit by 2 explosions

(Newser) - Damascus has been rocked by bombings for the past two days, with at least two large blasts hitting Syria's military headquarters there this morning. The Free Syrian Army claimed responsibility for the attack, said to be the largest since July explosions killed President Bashar al-Assad's brother-in-law and other... More »

US to Iraq: Inspect Iranian Planes en Route to Syria

Officials say planes are carrying weapons for regime

(Newser) - If Iraq is going to let Iran fly over its airspace to get to Syria, then it's going to have to inspect Iranian planes to ensure they're not smuggling weapons to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's troops, the Obama administration said yesterday. American officials tell the New York ... More »

Record 100K Fled Syria Last Month: UN

And that's just the registered asylum seekers

(Newser) - Not only was August Syria's deadliest month yet , it was also the month that saw the highest number of refugees fleeing the country since the uprising began. Some 103,416 people "sought asylum in neighboring countries" last month, according to the UN, bringing the total number of registered... More »

Angered by Egypt, Syrians Storm Out of Summit

Mohamed Morsi praises Syrian uprising at Nonaligned Movement Summit

(Newser) - Egypt's new president arrived in Iran today for a historic visit, the AP reports—and he promptly sparked a walkout at the Nonaligned Movement Summit. Mohamed Morsi, the first Egyptian leader to visit Iran since Tehran cut diplomatic relations with Egypt in 1979 over its peace treaty with Israel,... More »

UN Observers Leave Syria

Four-month mission a bust, and violence continues

(Newser) - The UN's Syria observer mission officially ended last night, and monitors were seen leaving today after their four months in the country failed to bring an end to the violence. The last monitors should be out by Friday, leaving just a small liaison office in Damascus, Reuters reports. But... More »

UN Panel: Syria Has Committed War Crimes

Rebels have too, but on a smaller scale, panel concludes

(Newser) - As violence continues to pummel Syria, a UN panel has concluded that President Bashar Assad's forces have carried out war crimes and crimes against humanity, and that the highest levels of government have likely been involved in the murders, torture, sexual violence, and other atrocities. Specifically, it blames the... More »

Fight for Aleppo Intensifies as Both Sides Claim Advantage

Assad appoints new PM

(Newser) - Syrian government troops launched a fresh ground assault to retake Aleppo yesterday, and shelling continues today, but conflicting reports on the state of the fight persist. State media claims "huge numbers" of rebels have been killed and that Bashar al-Assad's forces control the particularly strategic Salah al-Din district,... More »

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