Tag: Syria

World must protect ancient city from IS

A Syrian official on Thursday called on the international community to protect the 2,000-year-old ruins of the ancient city of Palmyra, now threatened by advancing Islamic State militants.   Maamoun Abdulkarim, Syria’s director-general of antiquities and museums, told The Associated Press by telephone that the U.S.-led coalition, which has been striking the extremists in Syria […]

What’s driving pope’s Middle East diplomacy?

From the beginning of his papacy Pope Francis hasn’t hesitated to jump into the bloody politics of the Middle East, starting with his September 2013 appeal for a day of fasting and prayer to protest the planned US military strikes on Syria. Since then he has recognized the Armenian slaughter of 1915 as a genocide and repeatedly called […]

Turkey and Saudi Arabia alarm the West by backing Islamist extremists the Americans had bombed in Syria

Turkey and Saudi Arabia are actively supporting a hardline coalition of Islamist rebels against Bashar al-Assad’s regime that includes al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, in a move that has alarmed Western governments.   The two countries are focusing their backing for the Syrian rebels on the combined Jaish al-Fatah, or the Army of Conquest, a command […]

Syrian army, Hezbollah advancing in border area against jihadists

The Syrian Army, along with allied Hezbollah, took over additional territory on Tuesday in continuing clashes in the Qalamoun border region along the Lebanese-Syrian border, as al-Qaida’s Nusra Front promised to “eradicate” Islamic State. Al-Qaida’s Nusra Front and other allied groups in the Qalamoun region had been clashing with the fellow jihadi group, the Lebanese […]

Kerry, Putin to meet over Ukraine, Syria crises despite ‘confrontational, difficult times’

US Secretary of State John Kerry will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, on Tuesday to discuss Ukraine and other issues, the United States said on Monday in a statement that made no mention of their deep disagreements. Relations between Russia and the West are at their lowest ebb since the end of […]

Qalamoun battle is do-or-die for Bashar Assad, Hassan Nasrallah and Iran’s Gen. Soleimani

Two contenders are locked in a fateful contest to win the strategic Qalamoun Mts. on the Syrian-Lebanese border: The Syrian army and its Hizballah ally are fighting tooth and nail against the opposition Army of Conquest, which is spearheaded by Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch. This battle has all of a sudden attained the […]

Having slaughtered many, ISIL now finds its own numbers sharply depleted

ISIL was forced to send children called “cubs of the caliphate” to the front as the Kurdish forces held strong with assistance from U.S.-led coalition air strikes which took a high death toll, he said.   Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command, told Congress in March that the campaign had killed as many […]

Syria’s Aleppo suffering ‘daily crimes against humanity’

Special envoy Staffan de Mistura said more than 40 groups had been invited to attend one-on-one meetings over the next five to six weeks.   Iran and Turkey have also been invited, but jihadist militant groups have not.   Mr de Mistura described it as a stock-taking process, saying there would be no big roundtable […]

Islamist rebels battle Syrian army near Assad heartland

Islamist rebels and the Syrian army fought fierce battles in Latakia province overnight close to President Bashar al-Assad’s ancestral home, the army and rebels said, after weeks of insurgent gains in the country’s northwest.   Rebels seeking to topple Assad have in the past sought to bring their four-year-long insurgency close to coastal areas in […]

After Air Strikes on Syria, Israel Warns Iran to Stop Arming Hezbollah

Israel reportedly carried out at least three airstrikes in Syria over the past two days, and on Sunday its defense minister warned Iran to stop arming Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shi’ite terrorist group that has long been Tehran’s proxy in its fight against Israel.   Israeli officials commented formally on only one of three reported strikes […]