NEWS ABOUT: Syrian civil war

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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 »

Priest Who Dug in With Homs 'Flock' Killed

He refused to leave rebel-held area

(Newser) - An elderly Dutch priest who refused to leave the embattled city of Homs while Christians remained has become yet another victim of the country's civil war. Frans Van der Lugt, who was in his 70s, was shot dead by unknown gunmen at his home in a rebel-held district of... More »

US to Syria Diplomats: Get Out

DC embassy, consulates shut down

(Newser) - America has told Syria to close its embassy in Washington and ordered all Syrian diplomats in the US to hotfoot it back to Damascus by the end of this month. Daniel Rubinstein, the new US special envoy for Syria, says the decision was made as the civil war enters its... More »

Syrian Army Captures Vital Rebel Stronghold

Hezbollah helps regime capture key supply town

(Newser) - Syrian government troops and Hezbollah fighters captured a strategic town near the Lebanese frontier yesterday, sending opposition fighters fleeing to Lebanon from their last stronghold in the vital border area. The fall of Yabroud—a major smuggling hub for the rebels trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad—is the latest... More »

Syria's Barbaric Health Conditions Killing Kids by 'Thousands'

Report lays bare horrific impact of system's collapse

(Newser) - As the Syrian civil war enters its fourth year, millions of children are at risk amid harrowing conditions caused by the collapse of the country's health care system, a report from the Save the Children charity warns.
  • More than 10,000 children have died in the violence, but "
... More »

175 Dead in One of Syrian War's Biggest Hits

Rebels ambushed by Syria military outside Damascus yesterday

(Newser) - Syrian forces ambushed a group of rebels outside Damascus yesterday, killing 175 belonging to the Islamist extremist al-Qaeda-linked Nusra Front, according to state news agencies, per the Wall Street Journal . The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights counted 152 dead—mostly foreigners from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Chechnya—in the raid... More »

Where Did Syria Extremists Come From? Iraq's Prisons

ISIS ranks fueled by what it termed 'Operation Breaking the Walls'

(Newser) - The most extreme faction in Syria didn't just spring up naturally—it was purposely built through a series of daring Iraqi prison breaks, the New York Times reports. With demand for fighters high, and the US recently departed, the group now known as the Islamic State of Iraq and... 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 »

Invite Could Kill Year-in-Making Syria Peace Talks

Opposition threatens to pull out

(Newser) - This week's Syria peace talks in Switzerland have been in the works for more than a year, but they're in danger of falling apart before they begin. United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has invited Iran to join the talks, sparking protests from the US and causing Syria's... More »

Kerry: Syria Opposition Must Join Peace Talks

Both sides must accept future leader, he says

(Newser) - John Kerry has urged the Syrian opposition to attend next week's peace conference in Switzerland, saying any individual chosen to lead a political transition in the war-torn country must be acceptable to both the government and opposing forces.The opposition groups, which will vote today whether to attend the... More »

Now European Spies Are Meeting With Assad

Opposition is concerned about cooperation

(Newser) - For the first time since Europe withdrew its ambassadors from Syria, European intelligence agencies met recently with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to discuss extremists—and the move is sparking concern among Assad's opponents. The purpose of the meetings was to share information on European jihadists who are currently working... More »

UN: Not One Chemical Attack in Syria—There Were 5

But report doesn't say which side used them

(Newser) - Chemical weapons were probably used in four locations in Syria this year, in addition to the confirmed attack near Damascus in August that forced the government to abandon its secret chemical stockpile, according to a report from UN inspectors. The experts examined seven alleged chemical weapons attacks and said they... More »

'War on Childhood' Has Killed 11K Kids in Syria

Snipers, death squads target children as jihadists make gains

(Newser) - The horrific toll civil war is taking on the children of Syria is laid bare in the first major report to focus on the issue. At least 11,420 children, more than a tenth of the conflict's casualties, have been killed since the conflict began in March 2011, including... More »

Syria Chemical Weapons Team Can't Reach 2 Key Sites

First weapons deadline may be missed

(Newser) - The Nobel Peace Prize-winning group tasked with inspecting Syrian chemical weapons sites and destroying production equipment may miss the first major deadline of its mission. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons says it has visited 21 of 23 sites disclosed by the Syrian government, but security concerns have... More »

Hackers Hit Obama on Facebook, Twitter

Syrian Electronic Army takes responsibility for graphic video

(Newser) - Fans of President Obama's Twitter and Facebook accounts were no doubt surprised today when they clicked on links that took them to a graphic video depicting Syria's civil war. The Syrian Electronic Army, a pro-Assad group, took responsibility for the hack and told Mashable it had broken into... More »

Syria's New Woes: Polio, Flesh-Eating Parasites

Vaccination program breaks down

(Newser) - Syria's clerics last week gave the starving people of Damascus the OK to eat dog , and the bad news has not ended there. The World Health Organization now suspects polio has returned to the country. If verified, these would be the first recorded cases there since 1999. And it'... More »

Saudis on UN Council Seat: Thanks, but No Thanks

Cites poor response to Syria in turning down its newly won spot

(Newser) - Fresh off winning a rotating seat on the 15-member UN Security Council, Saudi Arabia has made the unexpected move of refusing it, citing the body's poor response to unrest in the Middle East, specifically in Syria. In a statement reported by the New York Times , the Saudi Foreign Ministry... More »

Clerics: Desperate Syrians May Eat Dogs

Damascus suburbs being starved out

(Newser) - The days of dogs and cats living in Damascus or its hard-hit suburbs might be numbered, at least according to local clerics. With reports surfacing of regime loyalists using starvation tactics against rebel-held areas like Muadhamiya, Syrian clerics have issued a fatwa telling the faithful that is OK to eat... 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 »

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