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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

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 »

'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 »

Why War Reporters Get It So Wrong

Patrick Cockburn: It's a hard job when propaganda and bullets are flying

(Newser) - Journalists have given us the wrong impression about four Middle East wars since 9/11—but how did they blow it so badly? In the London Review of Books , Patrick Cockburn looks at how the media fumbled the ball in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria. In each case, he argues, reporters... More »

Syria's Assad: I'll Comply With UN Resolution

Says he's open to talks with opposition if they give up their arms

(Newser) - Bashar al-Assad is vowing to stand by the terms of the United Nations' resolution last week to destroy Syria's chemical weapons, reports the AP . "Of course we have to comply," he told Italian television in an interview today. "This is our history to comply with every... More »

Syrian Rebels Disavow Western-Backed Leaders

Groups want Sharia as basis for all law

(Newser) - Some of Syria's most powerful rebel groups have disavowed the Western-backed National Syrian Coalition's government in exile, in a move that may further complicate efforts to find a diplomatic resolution to the country's civil war. Thirteen groups, spearheaded by the al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, released a statement last... More »

Al-Qaeda Militants, Syria Rebels Call Truce— in One Town

Syrian regime, opposition ceasefire may not be far off either, says Assad official

(Newser) - The fighting between al-Qaeda militants and Syrian rebels, which "has raised fears of a war within a war," may now be over, at least in one town, the BBC reports. After seizing the town of Azaz this week, the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) agreed... More »

Looks Like Syria Will Miss First Arms-Deal Deadline

Plus: Pentagon says US could train some rebels

(Newser) - Syria probably won't get a full inventory of its chemical weapons to international authorities by Saturday, as proposed—but the US, it seems, isn't panicking. "Our goal is to see forward momentum," rather than the whole inventory, by Saturday, says a State Department rep. "We'... More »

How the White House Backed Into a Syria Solution

'WSJ' goes behind the scenes

(Newser) - In a nearly 3,000-word article, the Wall Street Journal today takes readers inside what it calls "an extraordinary 24 days in international diplomacy," detailing what happened behind the scenes as the White House decided how to handle the Syrian chemical weapons crisis. Based on more than two... More »

Obama: Syria Deal Not About 'Style'

Emphasizes it was more important to get the policy right

(Newser) - The road to the Syria chemical weapons deal may have been bumpy, but President Obama insists that he's "less concerned about style points" and "much more concerned with getting the policy right," he tells George Stephanopoulos this morning on ABC's This Week . “Folks here... More »

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