Special Correspondent, Middle East
Alistair's Feed
Jan 18, 2012

Britain urges tougher Syria sanctions

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Britain called on Wednesday for harsher sanctions on Syria, where an Arab monitoring mission has failed to halt bloodshed in a 10-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.

Syria may let the monitors stay on after their mandate expires on Thursday, but Assad’s foes say the Arab League peace effort has failed and the U.N. Security Council should step in.

Jan 18, 2012

Lebanese Druze leader fears civil war in Syria

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria risks plunging deeper into violence and even civil war because President Bashar al-Assad “listens to nobody” inside or outside the country calling for change, Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said.

A veteran politician whose ties with Damascus have ebbed and flowed over decades of shifting alliances, Jumblatt said he had no contact with the Syrian leader since meeting him in Damascus seven months ago in the early weeks of Syria’s uprising.

Jan 18, 2012

Syria may keep Arab monitors, League to decide

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria may let Arab monitors stay on after their mission expires on Thursday, but foes of President Bashar al-Assad say the U.N. Security Council should step in to halt 10 months of bloodshed.

Arab foreign ministers, due to consider their next step later this week, are split over how to handle Syria, as is the Security Council, which has failed to adopt any position.

Jan 16, 2012

Eleven more killed in Syria despite Arab monitors

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Eleven people were killed in Syria on Monday in a 10-month-old struggle between President Bashar al-Assad and his foes that a peace plan monitored by Arab observers has failed to quench.

Arab foreign ministers will meet on Sunday to discuss the future of the mission sent last month to check if Syria is abiding by the agreement it accepted on November 2.

Jan 13, 2012

Disarm Hezbollah, UN chief tells Lebanon

BEIRUT (Reuters) – United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon demanded Friday the disarmament of the anti-Israel Lebanese Hezbollah movement, which had said his visit to Lebanon was not welcome.

“I am deeply concerned about the military capacity of Hezbollah and … the lack of progress in disarmament,” he told a news conference after meeting Lebanese leaders.

Jan 13, 2012

Arab League head warns of possible civil war in Syria

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Arab League head Nabil Elaraby said on Friday he feared a possible civil war in Syria that could have consequences for neighboring countries, as the credibility of the League’s monitoring mission was hit by members starting to walk out.

An Algerian former monitor said several monitors had left Syria or might do so soon because the mission had failed to halt President Bashar al-Assad’s violent crackdown on a popular revolt against his rule.

Jan 13, 2012

Some Arab monitors quit Syria over persisting violence

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Several Arab League monitors have left Syria or may do so soon because the mission has failed to halt President Bashar al-Assad’s violent crackdown on a popular revolt against his rule, an Algerian former monitor said on Thursday.

Syrian opposition groups say the monitors, who deployed on December 26 to check whether Syria was respecting an Arab peace plan, have only bought Assad more time to crush protests that erupted in March, inspired by Arab uprisings elsewhere.

Jan 12, 2012

Doubt hangs over Arab monitoring mission in Syria

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Several Arab League monitors have left Syria or may do so soon because the mission has failed to halt President Bashar al-Assad’s violent crackdown on a popular revolt against his rule, an Algerian former monitor said on Thursday.

Syrian opposition groups say the monitors, who deployed on December 26 to check whether Syria was respecting an Arab peace plan, have only bought Assad more time to crush protests that erupted in March, inspired by Arab uprisings elsewhere.

Jan 11, 2012

Arab monitors say unable to halt Syrian killings

BEIRUT, Jan 12 (Reuters) – An Algerian has quit the
Arab League team sent to check Syria’s compliance with an Arab
peace plan, and a second monitor said he might leave because the
mission was failing to end the killing of civilians protesting
against the president’s rule.

The 22-member League, which suspended Syria in November,
sent the monitors last month to verify if Syria was carrying out
an agreement to halt its crackdown on protests against President
Bashar al-Assad.

Jan 11, 2012

Assad promises victory, Syria accused of war crimes

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad vowed on Wednesday to vanquish “foreign conspirators” plotting to end his rule and a Frenchman became the first foreign journalist to be killed in 10 months of unrest that has cost thousands of lives.

“France 2 television has just learned with a great deal of sorrow of the death of reporter Gilles Jacquier in Homs,” the broadcaster said. It did not have details of how the reporter, invited to Syria by the government, had died.

    • About Alistair

      "I cover the Middle East, with an emphasis on political analysis, region-wide stories and in-depth features. I live in Beirut and have been in my current post since June 2006. Outside my main Middle Eastern beat, I have covered Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan."
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