U.S. Foreign Policy Correspondent
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Nov 4, 2015

U.S. says 85-90 percent of Russian strikes hit moderate Syria rebels

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Eighty-five to 90 percent of Russian strikes in Syria have hit the moderate Syrian opposition, the top U.S. diplomat for the Middle East told a congressional committee on Wednesday.

Russia boosted its military support for President Bashar al-Assad’s fight against rebels in the four-and-a-half year Syrian civil war, beginning air strikes last month that it said would also target the Islamic State militant group.

Oct 31, 2015

In policy shift, Obama to send U.S. special forces to Syria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will deploy dozens of special operations troops to northern Syria from next month to advise opposition forces in their fight against Islamic State, a major policy shift for President Barack Obama and a step he has long resisted to avoid getting dragged into another war in the Middle East.

The planned deployment, along with the U.S. decision this week to include Iran in diplomatic efforts to end the conflict, represents the biggest change in the United States’ Syria policy since it began a bombing campaign against Islamic State targets there in September 2014.

Oct 30, 2015

U.S. to deploy small number of special forces to Syria in advisory role

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama plans to deploy a small number of special operations forces to Syria to advise rebels Washington deems moderate, U.S. sources said on Friday, a step he has long resisted to avoid getting dragged into another war in the Middle East.

Obama was expected to send fewer than 60 special operations troops, said congressional sources who spoke on condition of anonymity. One U.S. official said the number was likely to be in the range of 20 to 30 but could not provide details.

Oct 30, 2015

U.S. to deploy small number of special forces to Syria in advisory role: sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama plans to deploy a small number of special operations forces to Syria to advise moderate rebels, U.S. sources said, a step he has long resisted to avoid getting dragged into another war in the Middle East.

The number of special operations troops was likely to be in the range of 20 to 30, said one U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity. A second source confirmed the plan but declined to provide a number.

Oct 28, 2015

U.S. steps up diplomacy, rebel support to end Syrian ‘hell': Kerry

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is intensifying its diplomacy to end the “hell” of Syria‚Äôs civil war even as it increases support for moderate rebels fighting Islamic State militants, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Wednesday

The chief U.S. diplomat leaves for Vienna later in the day for talks among more than a dozen foreign ministers on ending the four-and-a-half year conflict. Iran is for the first time taking part in such talks, which will also include Russia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Oct 25, 2015

Kerry lays out steps to ease Israeli-Palestinian strife

AMMAN/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The United States on Saturday proposed steps, including 24-hour video surveillance, to end weeks of violence over a Jerusalem site holy to Muslims and Jews.

Speaking in Amman after meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Israel had embraced “an excellent suggestion” by the king, who is the custodian of the site within Jerusalem’s walled Old City, for round-the-clock monitoring.

Oct 24, 2015

Jordan proposes TV cameras to defuse Jerusalem tensions: Kerry

AMMAN/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday sketched out steps, including Israeli-Jordanian video surveillance, he hopes may ease tensions over a Jerusalem site holy to Muslims and Jews, after weeks of violence in which dozens have died.

Speaking in Amman after meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah, Kerry said Israel had given assurances it had no intention of changing the status quo at the site, the third holiest in Islam.

Oct 24, 2015

Kerry sees new Syria talks next week, does not rule out Iran role

VIENNA (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Friday he expects new talks on Syria to begin as soon as next week, and did not rule out participation by Iran, President Bashar al-Assad’s closest ally, which has been kept away from past peace conferences.

Along with counterparts from allies Saudi Arabia and Turkey, Kerry met for two hours on Friday in Vienna with Sergei Lavrov, foreign minister of Russia, which has transformed momentum in the 4-year-old Syrian civil war by bombing Assad’s enemies.

Oct 23, 2015

U.S., Russia, Turkey, Saudi explore political solution on Syria

VIENNA (Reuters) – The United States, Russia, Turkey and Saudi Arabia met on Friday to explore a political solution to the Syrian civil war despite the basic U.S.-Russian disagreement over Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s fate.

There were no outward signs of progress toward ending the four-year conflict as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, after which they held four-way talks with their Saudi and Turkish counterparts.

Oct 23, 2015

Plenty of diplomacy but slim hope for new Middle East peace push

JERUSALEM/VIENNA (Reuters) – Flare-ups in violence between Israel and the Palestinians have often accelerated peace efforts – the first intifada led into the Oslo accords of the mid-1990s and the second gave rise to the Arab and Geneva peace initiatives.

But the latest surge in violence, while barely a month old and less intense than past uprisings, comes at a time when the ability or willingness of all sides – Israeli, Palestinian and international partners such as the United States – to have another go at forging peace has rarely seemed more lacking.

    • About Arshad

      "I cover U.S. foreign policy for Reuters from a base at the State Department. I joined Reuters in 1988 and have worked as a correspondent in New York, Paris, Algiers and Washington, where I have covered the White House (1996-2002) and the State Department (2002-2005, 2006-present)."
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