Syrian uprising

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Years Later, Celebrities Finally Get Behind Syria Group

A bunch of them are lobbying for the Nobel Peace Prize for the White Helmets

(Newser) - The Syrian civil war has been going on for years, and celebrities are finally now getting involved. A number of them, including George Clooney, Ben Affleck, Justin Timberlake, and Zoe Saldana, have signed an open letter to the Nobel Peace Prize committee urging that this year's prize go to... More »

Turkey: ISIS Has Zero Territory Left on Border

Advances shut down key supply routes, effectively cut terrorist group off

(Newser) - Turkish troops and allied Syrian rebels expelled ISIS from the last strip of territory it controlled along the Syrian-Turkish border on Sunday, effectively sealing the extremists' self-styled caliphate off from the outside world, Turkey's state-run news agency reported. Also on Sunday, Syrian pro-government forces backed by airstrikes launched a... More »

In Russia's Strikes on Syria, a Surprising First

Bombers take off from Iran

(Newser) - Russia has been dropping bombs on Syria for nearly a year now in its bid to help President Bashar al-Assad win his civil war, but Tuesday marked an important first in the fighting: Russian bombers took off from a base in Iran for strikes on Aleppo and two other provinces.... 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 »

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 »

Woman Quits Teaching for ISIS, Then Quits ISIS

Syrian says she patrolled streets to enforce Islamic law

(Newser) - A Syrian elementary school teacher says she joined ISIS to help topple President Bashar al-Assad, but ended up fleeing the group for her life. Covered in a niqab and calling herself Khadija, she tells CNN that she initially enjoyed demonstrations against al-Assad and came to hate the chaos and bloodshed... More »

Pentagon Aims to Train Small Syria Opposition Force

Program could start next year, slowly expand

(Newser) - The Pentagon has a plan to train some moderate opposition fighters in Syria, but it may struggle to win congressional approval. Administration officials want to start small, training just 2,300 people; the program would be "scalable" from there, a top defense official tells the Wall Street Journal . It... More »

Symbolic Assad Win: Rebels Flee Revolution's 'Capital'

Evacuations take place under new ceasefire

(Newser) - The central city of Homs was once known as the "capital of the revolution" against Syria's Bashar al-Assad, notes the BBC . No more: Buses began evacuating fighters and anti-government civilians from some of their last strongholds today, a move that marks "a de-facto end of the rebellion... More »

Opposition: Syria School Bombing Kills 25 Kids

As another chemical weapons deadline comes and goes

(Newser) - Twenty-five children were killed when an elementary school in Syria's largest city was bombed today, opposition activists say. Regime forces dropped barrel bombs—barrels containing a combination of explosives and items like nails—in the opposition stronghold of Aleppo, according to an opposition group; CNN describes gruesome video but... 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 »

Syrian Peace Talks Hit New Stumbling Block

Meanwhile, country set to miss chemical weapons deadline

(Newser) - Geneva talks on Syria's future have been tense—and new US support for rebels isn't helping. On Monday, Reuters reported secret Congressional approval of funding to lightly arm "moderate" Syrian rebels through September. An opposition adviser reported an "outburst" by the Syrian government's lead negotiator,... More »

How Climate Change Fueled Syria's Uprising

Drought created refugees who were 'willing recruits' against Assad: Thomas Friedman

(Newser) - Before the uprising against Bashar al-Assad, Syria was stuck in a four-year drought the UN reportedly called the country's worst in decades. In 2008, a US embassy cable revealed by WikiLeaks predicted potential mass migration due to the weather—and the cable was right. "By 2010, roughly 1... More »

Assad Torturing, Killing Enemies on 'Industrial Scale'

Prosecutors base report on 55K photos taken by defector

(Newser) - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime is torturing and murdering its enemies on a vast and shocking scale, according to a cache of evidence released by war crimes prosecutors, CNN reports. The report relies on thousands of photos of dead bodies that were apparently killed by strangulation, starvation, and beatings;... More »

US, Russia Discuss Syria Ceasefires; Assad Rolls Eyes

And Syrian opposition questions whether to attend peace talks

(Newser) - The US and Russia are discussing the notion of "localized ceasefires" in Syria as peace talks loom next week in Switzerland—offering the first chance for opposing sides to sit down face-to-face, the AP reports. John Kerry, meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Paris, said ceasefires in... More »

Saudis to Lebanon: Here's $3B for Your Army

Diplomatic move with France as Syrian conflict threatens to spill over

(Newser) - With an eye on neighboring Syria's backslide into violence, Saudi Arabia is pledging $3 billion to Lebanon to buy weapons from France in order to shore up its army. "I am happy to tell the Lebanese people that the Saudi ruler will give a grant of $3 billion... More »

'Very, Very Important' Syrian Rebel Leader Killed

Abdulkader al-Saleh led Qatar-backed force

(Newser) - The New York Times describes Abdulkader al-Saleh as a Syrian rebel leader "who brought together one of the most effective and organized factions" against Bashar al-Assad. No wonder, then, that his death is being described as a major setback for the rebels. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights today... More »

Syria Inspectors: We Need Hours-Long Ceasefires

OPCW is having trouble getting to some suspected production sites

(Newser) - One week ago, Ban Ki-moon told the UN Security Council that the toughest part in the process of wiping out Syria's chemical weapons would come next month, when the actual destruction begins, reports the New York Times . Tougher than this, apparently: The Nobel Prize-winning Organization for the Prohibition of... More »

Syrian Rebels Executed Villagers: Human Rights Watch

Opposition forces tried to 'kill entire families': report

(Newser) - In August, Islamist rebels in Syria executed almost 200 unarmed villagers—pro-regime members of the minority Alawite sect—in Latakia province, Human Rights Watch said in a report today. Opposition forces sometimes even tried to kill "entire families," or else killed adult males and held the women and... More »

Assad: I May Run Again Next Year

But not if Syrians don't want me: interview

(Newser) - Syrian president Bashar Assad says it's still too early to say whether he'll run for re-election in next year's presidential vote. Assad says "the picture will be clearer" in the next four to five months because Syria is going though "rapid" changes on the ground.... More »

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