Syrian National Council

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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 »

Syrian Opposition Tries to Unify

Talks go into the morning, but no deal is in sight

(Newser) - Syria's various opposition groups met in Doha, Qatar, yesterday and argued into this morning about a plan to form one unified government that could present a plausible alternative to that of Bashar al-Assad. Western governments say they want one group they can work with, instead of the hodgepodge that... More »

China Peddles Own Syrian Peace Plan

As Clinton, US focus on unifying fractious opposition groups

(Newser) - Might China succeed where the UN has failed at brokering a peace in Syria? China said today it's pushing for a peace plan that would include a regional ceasefire around Syria and a transitional government, reports Reuters . "More and more countries have come to realize that a military... More »

Hollande to Syria Rebels: Form a Gov't

France will recognize provisional body in move to oust Assad

(Newser) - French President Francois Hollande urged Syria's divided opposition today to form an "inclusive and representative" provisional government, promising that France would recognize it in hope of accelerating the departure of President Bashar Assad's regime as violence escalates. "We are including our Arab partners to accelerate this... More »

Syrian Rebels: We Need a No-Fly Zone

20 killed near Damascus yesterday

(Newser) - As clashes continue in Aleppo and Damascus, a Syrian rebel leader is reaching out to the West for help: It's time for a no-fly zone, says Syrian National Council head Abdelbasset Sida. The opposition is making gains, "but the problem is the aircraft, in addition to the artillery... More »

Syrian Rebels Hold Off Regime, But Onslaught Continues

Rebels say international community bears responsibility if they're defeated

(Newser) - Government tanks, artillery, and helicopters continued to pound rebel-held Aleppo today, in what could be one of the biggest battles of the Syrian uprising yet, reports the AP . Rebels have so far managed to keep government forces at bay, but the cost has been high, with 29 killed in Aleppo... More »

Syria Moved Chemical Weapons to Airports: Rebels

And allegedly guns down prisoners in jail sit-in

(Newser) - The Free Syrian Army believes that the Assad regime has moved chemical weapons to airports near the country's borders, in what the rebels say is a bid to put "pressure on the region and the international community," according to the Telegraph . The regime yesterday threatened to use... More »

Assad's Damascus Onslaught Most 'Intense' Yet

50 reported killed yesterday

(Newser) - Neighborhoods across Damascus are facing a second day of regime attacks, and it has "never been this intense," says a leading activist. The army has been firing mortar rounds into areas held by the opposition Free Syrian Army, Rami Abdel Rahman notes. "The security forces are attempting... More »

Dozens Defect Syrian Army as Rebels Cry Genocide

Europe calls for measured response to downed Turkish plane

(Newser) - The Syrian military has been hit with a raft of new defections: Six officers and 33 soldiers today quit the country for Turkey. Reports suggest they brought their families along, bringing the total number to 224 people. Accounts differ as to whether the defectors included an army general. They add... More »

Syrian Rebels to Get Paychecks

'Assad must go,' declares Hillary Clinton at Syria conference in Turkey

(Newser) - It looks like rebels in Syria are not going to be fighting only for their freedom—now they'll be fighting for a paycheck, too. Sixty nations gathered in Turkey yesterday for a “Friends of the Syrian People” conference, pledging financial support for the Syrian Free Army to encourage... More »

Arab League Hems, Haws on Whether Assad Must Go

At least 15 killed today as violence continues

(Newser) - Even as the Arab League met in Baghdad today to discuss implementation of a Syria peace deal, clashes between rebels and security forces continued, killing at least 15. With only 10 of 22 leaders in attendance, the League is apparently backing down from a call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad... More »

Syrian Rebels Accused of Kidnapping, Torture

Human rights group calls out freedom fighters for abuses

(Newser) - It's tempting to paint the conflict in Syria as a brutal regime fighting virtuous rebels, but Human Rights Watch today issued an open letter to the Free Syrian Army accusing insurgents of a variety of brutalities, including kidnapping and torturing security forces and government supporters. "The Syrian government'... More »

One Year On, Syria Rallies for Assad

Gov't increasingly confident of putting down opposition

(Newser) - One year after the start of violent uprisings in Syria, thousands of flag-waving supporters gathered in Damascus to show their loyalty toward President Bashar al-Assad, reports Reuters . Rallies were also reported in several other Syrian cities, as the military stepped up its assault on rebel strongholds such as Homs and... More »

More Syrian Generals Defect to Opposition

Rebels slam Kofi Annan's calls for dialogue: He's 'on Mars'

(Newser) - More military leaders are defecting in Syria: Reuters reports that four high-ranking officers jumped ship and reached a deserters' camp in Turkey. One rebel leader says a total of seven brigadier generals have now joined the opposition. The AP also notes four military defections, though the ranks are different. Regardless,... More »

Arab Nations Poised to Arm Syrian Rebels

But US worries about protracted civil war

(Newser) - Members of the Arab League signaled this week that they're about to arm Syrian rebels. But American officials fear that strategy will thwart their more cautious approach, and could fuel a bloody, protracted civil war. Saudi Arabia and Qatar aim to aid the opposition "as soon as they... More »

Syrian Opposition Forms Military Bureau

Rebels say they have so far kept the government out of Homs

(Newser) - Syria's main political opposition group today announced that it was forming a "military bureau" to unify and coordinate the Free Syrian army and other armed opposition groups opposing Bashar al-Assad. Speaking in Paris, the Syrian National Council's leader said they had originally hoped for a nonviolent revolt,... More »

Russia: Syria Is Ready to Talk

But opposition rejects offer, as fighting rages outside Damascus

(Newser) - With fighting raging outside Damascus , Syria's regime has indicated that it is open to "informal" talks with opposition leaders in Moscow, Russian officials announced today. But the Syrian National Council swiftly rejected the idea, saying it wouldn’t talk until President Bashar al-Assad stepped down, al-Jazeera reports. Russia'... More »

Syria Nixes Arab League Peace Plan

Calls for Assad to leave power are a 'flagrant interference'

(Newser) - Syria has quickly rejected a peace plan floated by the Arab League, today calling it a "flagrant interference" in the country's internal affairs. The plan, proposed as the Arab League's observer mission flounders , called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down within two weeks, transfer power... More »

Syria Finally OKs Arab League Observers

Will be free in their movements, but can't access some military sites

(Newser) - Syria finally signed an agreement to allow Arab League monitors into the country today, after the Arab League accepted 70% of the changes demanded by Damascus. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said that Syria signing the long-awaited deal was a sign that Bashar al-Assad’s regime was pushing for a... More »

In Homs, Opposition Reports 'Indiscriminate Slaughter'

UN raises uprising's death toll to 3,500, calls figure conservative

(Newser) - Syria’s uprising got even bloodier today as government forces continued their assault on Homs, clashing with military defectors and other opposition gunmen. Opposition activists declared the city a “humanitarian disaster area,” estimating that in the past week more than 100 have been killed. “Indiscriminate slaughter is... More »

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