Bashar al-Assad

Air Strike Kills Dozens in Syria as U.N. Envoy Visits Damascus

By Tom Perry and Mariam Karouny BEIRUT, Jan 10 – An air strike reportedly killed dozens of people in a rebel-held town in Syria on Saturday as a U.N. envoy visited Damascus to advance preparations for peace talks planned this month despite opposition misgivings. Agreement was also reached for aid to be delivered on Monday

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Syrian Rebel Group Quits Islamist Alliance, To Refocus Fight

BEIRUT, Jan 3 – A Syrian insurgent group said on Sunday it was pulling out of a coalition of Islamist factions operating in the northwest of the country, in order to redeploy around Aleppo where pro-government forces have intensified assaults in recent months. Since Russia’s intervention in the Syria conflict in September with an air

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At Issue in U.N. Syria Ceasefire Plan: Who Is a Terrorist?

By Arshad Mohammed and Louis Charbonneau WASHINGTON/UNITED NATIONS, Dec 31 – A U.N. plan to suspend Syria’s nearly five-year-old civil war calls for listing which militant groups may be fought despite an eventual ceasefire, one of the toughest issues vexing diplomats trying to end the conflict. A U.N. draft discussion paper obtained by Reuters includes

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Buses Carrying Fighters, Civilians Leave Syria for Turkish, Lebanese Borders

BEIRUT, Dec 28 (Reuters) – Buses carrying several hundred fighters and civilians left two besieged areas on Monday for Turkish and Lebanese border crossings under a U.N.-backed deal by warring parties, aid workers and sources familiar with the deal said. At least 130, mostly wounded, rebel fighters left the border town of Zabadani for the

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U.S. Sees Bearable Costs, Key Goals Met for Russia in Syria So Far

By Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel WASHINGTON, Dec 28 – Three months into his military intervention in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin has achieved his central goal of stabilizing the Assad government and, with the costs relatively low, could sustain military operations at this level for years, U.S. officials and military analysts say. That assessment

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Russia Claims Air Force Has Not Hit Civilian Targets in Syria

MOSCOW, Dec 27 – Russian air forces have not hit civilian targets since they started a bombing campaign in Syria nearly three months ago, a senior Russian officer said in an interview with Rossiya 24 television. London-based rights group Amnesty International said this week that Russia’s bombing of Syria had killed many civilians and could

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U.N. Mulls ‘Light’ Options to Monitor Possible Syria Truce

By Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS, Dec 22 – The United Nations is mulling “light touch” options for monitoring a possible ceasefire in Syria that would keep its risks to a minimum by relying largely on Syrians already on the ground, diplomatic sources said. The U.N. Security Council on Friday unanimously called on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

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U.N. Endorses Syria Peace Plan

By Denis Dyomkin, John Irish and Sabine Siebold UNITED NATIONS, Dec 19 – The United Nations Security Council on Friday unanimously approved a resolution endorsing an international road map for a Syria peace process, a rare show of unity among major powers on a conflict that has claimed more than a quarter million lives. The

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Kerry to Explore Syria Peace Process in Kremlin Talks

By Lesley Wroughton MOSCOW, Dec 15 – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Moscow on Tuesday to try and narrow differences with Russian leader Vladimir Putin over the role of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad in any political transition and which rebel groups should be part of peace talks. Kerry will seek to

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Free Syrian Army Rebels Deny Russian Support

BEIRUT, Dec 14 – Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels fighting President Bashar Al Assad in western Syria denied receiving any support from the Russian air force, saying that on the contrary it continued to bomb them and rejecting comments by a top Russian general on Monday. A separate, recently formed alliance of armed groups—including some

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