al-Nusra Front

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Peacekeepers Pull Off 'Greatest Escape' From Syria Militants

They were outnumbered in Golan Heights

(Newser) - Under cover of darkness, 40 Filipino peacekeepers escaped their besieged outpost in the Golan Heights after a seven-hour gunbattle with Syrian rebels, Philippine officials said today. Al-Qaeda-linked insurgents still hold captive 44 Fijian troops .The getaway, combined with the departure of another entrapped group of Filipino troops, marked a major... More »

Journo Thanks 'Big-Hearted' People Who Won His Release

Peter Theo Curtis says he's 'overwhelmed' to learn about efforts

(Newser) - American journalist Peter Theo Curtis, recently back on US soil , said in his first public remarks today that he was overwhelmed by the people who were behind efforts to secure his release from al-Nusra Front. Curtis, who was freed Sunday after 22 months in captivity, wore sandals and a gray... More »

Freed Journalist Arrives Back in US

Peter Curtis 'moved beyond words' by welcome back

(Newser) - Peter Curtis has made it back to the US and been reunited with his mother after nearly two years in the hands of Syrian militants. "I have been so touched and moved, beyond all words, by the people who have come up to me today—strangers on the airplane,... More »

US: We Asked Qatar Not to Pay Ransom for Journalist

Curtis released on 'humanitarian basis,' father says

(Newser) - American officials say they didn't pay a penny to secure the release of kidnapped journalist Peter Theo Curtis —and they asked Qatar not to offer money to the Nusra Front militants holding him. A White House spokesman says the US government put the Curtis family in touch with... More »

Kidnapped US Journalist on the Way Home

Qatar helped free Peter Theo Curtis from Nusra Front

(Newser) - The US has confirmed that a kidnapped American journalist has been freed by his captors —and John Kerry says he is "relieved and grateful" that Peter Theo Curtis is on the way home. Relatives tell the New York Times that Qatar helped free the Massachusetts native after nearly... More »

Security Stepped Up for US Bound-Flights

Officials worried about radicals with Western passports

(Newser) - Passengers flying to the US from certain overseas airports can expect tighter scrutiny starting within a few days. Officials say the Transportation Security Administration has been ordered to "implement enhanced security measures" amid fears that terrorists are developing "creative," hard-to-detect bombs, CNN reports. The tighter measures will... More »

New Airport Security Concern: 'Creative' Bombs

Intelligence indicates terrorists in Syria may be working on them

(Newser) - The US may boost security measures at its own airports—and call for improvements abroad—amid fears of attacks fueled by the crisis in Syria, ABC News reports. Terrorists in the country, according to new US intelligence, may be working on "creative" bombs targeting commercial planes, sources tell ABC.... More »

Can ISIS Be Stopped?

Militants have taken four towns in two days

(Newser) - Officials in Baghdad are increasingly worried that the Iraqi Army is simply incapable of standing up to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which is both better armed and better trained, diplomats and politicians tell the BBC . And the militants provided plenty of evidence for that as their campaign... More »

Report: Suicide Bomber Was From Florida

FBI increasingly worried that Americans are training for terror in Syria

(Newser) - We still know precious little about "Abu Hurayra al-Amriki," the American suicide bomber who reportedly blew himself up in Syria last weekend, but two US officials tell CNN that the man was indeed a US citizen who was raised and educated in Florida. They would not however reveal... 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 »

FBI Thinks Americans Are Training for Terror in Syria

And it's watching them like a hawk

(Newser) - The FBI is keeping a close watch on Americans who have traveled to and returned from the war in Syria. The US believes that al-Qaeda affiliates in the war-torn country are actively attempting to recruit Americans there and train them to carry out attacks back home, senior intelligence and counterterror... More »

Syrian Rebels' Infighting So Bad, They Need a Judge?

Al-Qaeda leader calls for Islamic court to be set up

(Newser) - Syrian rebels are locked in a bitter and violent struggle—with each other. Hostilities between Syria's more moderate rebel factions and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and Syria exploded into open warfare on Friday, and it's been so costly that the head of another al-Qaeda affiliate, the... More »

Seymour Hersh: Obama Lied About Syria

President didn't mention that jihadists may have gassed Syrians

(Newser) - President Obama lied about the chemical weapons attack that killed hundreds of Syrians in August—or at least spoke way out of school, writes Seymour Hersh in the London Review of Books . "In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts," writes... 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 »

American: I Escaped 7 Months' Captivity in Syria

Matthew Schrier tells 'NYT' he was robbed, beaten by Syrian rebels

(Newser) - Matthew Schrier was a freelance photographer covering his first war when he was abducted by Syrian rebels. Now back in the US after seven months of captivity, Schrier, 35, gives a jarring and incredibly rare firsthand account of the dangers foreigners face among some anti-Assad forces. Schrier tells the New ... More »

Villagers 'Massacred' by Syrian Rebels: Report

Shiite clerics hung from gates of town, activist claims

(Newser) - Rebels attacked a village in eastern Syria yesterday, leaving at least 60 people dead—most of them pro-government Shiite fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which says the rebels numbered into the thousands. A government official describes the attack on Hatla as "a massacre against villagers... More »

Syrian Jihadis Pledge Allegiance to al-Qaeda

But powerful al-Nusra denies reports of official merger

(Newser) - The head of Jabhat al-Nusra, a jihadist group at the forefront of Syria's civil war, has pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda honcho Ayman al-Zawahiri. What that means isn't exactly crystal clear at this point. While Al-Qaeda in Iraq says the groups have merged under the snappy title of the... More »

Feds Charge US Army Vet Who Fought in Syria

Eric Harroun faces serious WMD charges after joining foes of Assad

(Newser) - It sounds pretty serious on the surface: A US Army vet admits fighting alongside an al-Qaeda group, and the feds have charged him with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction outside the US. But the details about Eric Harroun's case are a little less frightening. The 30-year-old... More »

Fearing Syria Spillover, CIA Ups Iraq Presence

Al-Nusra Front and al-Qaeda in Iraq closely tied, experts say

(Newser) - The US military may have pulled out of Iraq in December 2011, but now the CIA is going back in, reports the Wall Street Journal . In a series of secret decisions in 2011 and 2012, the White House directed US intelligence to take over from the military in supporting Iraq'... More »

65 Bodies Found With Hands Bound in Syria

Meanwhile, rebels take regime intelligence compound

(Newser) - The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is reporting what it calls a "new massacre" near Aleppo. At least 65 people have been found dead, all apparently shot in the head, and all with their arms tied behind their backs, Reuters reports. The death toll could rise as high as... More »

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