Syria opposition

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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 »

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 »

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 »

US Plan to Arm Syria Rebels Gets a Boost

But Pentagon cites continuing concerns

(Newser) - Last month, the White House said it planned to arm Syrian rebels —but members of Congress haven't been thrilled with the idea. Now, however, Capitol Hill seems to be coming around, Reuters reports. Despite "strong reservations ... We got a consensus that we could move forward with the... More »

Picture of Michigan Woman Killed in Syria Emerges

Nicole Mansfield converted to Islam after meeting Arab immigrant: family

(Newser) - The FBI has confirmed reports that a Michigan woman was killed fighting alongside anti-government forces in Syria, her family says. A number of years ago, Nicole Mansfield married an Arab immigrant; afterward, she converted to Islam, relatives tell the Detroit Free Press . After he got a green card to stay... More »

US, EU Ready to Step Up Aid to Syrian Rebels

But President Obama insists on keeping aid 'non-lethal' for now

(Newser) - The United States and several leading EU states appear poised to increase non-lethal aid to Syrian opposition groups, adding equipment such as body armor and night-vision goggles, reports the Wall Street Journal . Arms, however, remain off the table, as President Obama fears they could fall into the hands of al-Qaeda-affiliated... More »

Syria Opposition's New PM Comes From ... Texas

US citizen Ghassan Hitto new leader in rebel-held areas

(Newser) - Syria's main opposition council has elected American citizen Ghassan Hitto to be prime minister of a new interim government responsible for overseeing refugees and rebel-held areas. Hitto, 50, was born in Damascus but has lived in the US for decades. He abruptly quit his job at a Texas electronics... More »

Syria Using Militias for Mass Killings: UN

As more than 2.5M displaced by civil war

(Newser) - The latest travesty the Syrian government has been accused of: using local militias to carry out mass killings. UN human rights investigators say these "Popular Committees" commit killings that sometimes have "sectarian overtones," Reuters reports. (The rebels in Syria are mainly Sunni Muslims, while President Bashar al-Assad... More »

49 Syrian and Iraqi Troops Killed in Border Ambush

Fears increase that civil war will spill over into Iraq

(Newser) - At least 42 Syrian soldiers and seven Iraqi soldiers were killed in an ambush near a border crossing in Iraq today, sharpening fears that Syria's civil war could spill into Iraq and destabilize the region, the AP reports. The Syrian soldiers ( Reuters reports the group also included government... More »

Kerry Unveils $60M in Aid for Syria Rebels

But purely of the 'non-lethal' variety

(Newser) - The US intends to step up its "non-lethal" aid to the Syrian opposition, John Kerry announced after a meeting of the "Friends of Syria" group in Rome today. The Obama administration will ask Congress for $60 million in aid, along with food rations, and medical supplies, the BBC... More »

In Sea Change, Saudis Arming Syrian Opposition

Plus, opposition agrees to attend international summit

(Newser) - A big shift in the Syrian conflict: Saudi Arabia is arming the opposition. It's a decidedly more activist approach than had previously been taken by regional and Western powers, the New York Times reports, and it signals an attempt to counter the weapons Iran is sending to Bashar al-Assad'... More »

Syria Opposition Again Can't Form Government

Second attempt by Syrian National Coalition fails

(Newser) - Two months after Syria's fractious opposition movement came together to form the Syrian National Coalition , a second attempt to form a transitional government has failed. SNC leaders said Istanbul talks broke up with no agreement on an interim prime minister to run opposition-held areas, Reuters reports. It's yet... More »

Russia Admits Syria Regime Is 'Losing Control'

Opposition may win, deputy foreign minister says

(Newser) - For the first time, Russia—a staunch Syria ally—has admitted President Bashar al-Assad's government may fall. His forces are "losing more and more control and territory," Russia's deputy foreign minister said today. "Unfortunately, we cannot rule out the victory of the Syrian opposition."... More »

US Recognizes Syria Rebels

President Obama gives blessing to opposition coalition

(Newser) - The US will formally recognize Syria's opposition as the country's legitimate representative, Barack Obama announced today in an interview with Barbara Walters on ABC . "It's a big step," Obama said. "We've made a decision that the Syrian Opposition Coalition is now inclusive enough,... More »

Rebels Warn: Damascus Airport a 'Legit Target'

Russia poised to 'brainstorm' with US, envoy

(Newser) - Syrian rebels have issued a warning to civilians and airlines: Damascus International Airport is now a "military zone" to be approached at locals' "own risk." "The airport is now full of armored vehicles and soldiers," says a spokesman for rebels, who call the spot a... More »

US May Soon Recognize Syrian Opposition

Phones, Internet still cut off

(Newser) - Syria's new opposition coalition is working toward a transitional government—and if it achieves the goal soon, formal US recognition may not be far behind. Britain, France, Turkey, and the Gulf Cooperation Council recognize the National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, as it's formally called, but... More »

US Rethinks Role in Syria

White House considering more involvement to aid rebels

(Newser) - With the US election over and Syrian rebels seemingly gaining momentum, the Obama administration is taking a fresh look at its own potential involvement in the conflict, the New York Times reports. First, Washington must consider whether NATO should install surface-to-air missiles in Turkey, which some see as a deterrent... More »

Syria Death Toll: 40K

Half were civilians, rights group says

(Newser) - The Syrian conflict has raged for 20 months now, and 40,000 lives have been lost in the process, a monitoring group tells Reuters . About half of the dead were civilians, while a quarter were rebel fighters and a quarter government troops, says the head of the Syrian Observatory for... More »

Turkey Recognizes Syria Rebels

It's a major boost for new coalition, though US is still wary

(Newser) - The newly formed rebel coalition in Syria got another major boost today: Turkey announced its formal support, days after France became the first Western nation to do so, reports the Voice of America . The Syrian National Coalition is "the sole legitimate representative of the people of Syria," said... 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 »

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