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May 5, 2013

UN warns against escalation after Israeli strikes in Syria

BEIRUT (Reuters) – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned against escalating a fraught situation in Syria after Israel struck targets near Damascus on Sunday, targeting what its officials said were Iranian missiles bound for Hezbollah militants.

Israeli officials said the raid, the second in 48 hours, was not connected to Syria’s civil war. It was aimed, rather, at stopping Lebanon’s Hezbollah, an ally of Iran, acquiring weapons that could be used to strike Tel Aviv if Israel followed through on threats to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.

May 5, 2013

Explosions shake Damascus, Syria blames Israel

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Powerful explosions struck the outskirts of Damascus early on Sunday, sending columns of fire into the night sky, and Syrian state television said Israeli rockets had struck a military facility just north of the capital.

Israel declined to comment on the attack, but the blasts occurred a day after an Israeli official said his country had carried out an air strike targeting a consignment of missiles in Syria intended for the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

Apr 30, 2013

Syrian prime minister survives Damascus bombing, six die

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria’s prime minister survived a bomb attack on his convoy in Damascus on Monday, as rebels struck in the heart of President Bashar al-Assad’s capital.

Six people were killed in the blast, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Previous rebel attacks on government targets included a December bombing which wounded Assad’s interior minister.

Apr 29, 2013

Syria says prime minister survives Damascus bomb attack

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halki survived a bomb attack on his convoy in Damascus on Monday, state media and activists said, as rebels struck in the heart of President Bashar al-Assad’s capital.

The explosion shook the Mezze neighborhood shortly after 9 a.m. (2 a.m. ET), sending a plume of thick black smoke into the sky, Internet footage posted by opposition activists showed.

Apr 24, 2013

Syria accuses U.N. envoy Brahimi of interfering

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria accused international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on Wednesday of bias and interference after he criticized its response to an opposition offer of talks and suggested Bashar al-Assad should not stand again for president.

Brahimi told a closed-door session of the United Nations Security Council last Friday that Damascus was “surprised and embarrassed” by a January offer of talks from opposition leader Moaz Alkhatib, and its response was “slow and confused”.

Apr 23, 2013

Anger in Lebanese streets as Syria border fighting rages

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Stripped to the waist, his face heavily bruised and a rope around his neck, the grey-haired Syrian man was led by his captors on a humiliating parade through the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli.

“I am an Alawite shabbiha,” read slogans daubed on the bare chest of the man, referring to militias from a minority sect fighting for President Bashar al-Assad in neighboring Syria. Vigilantes led the man through Tripoli, a predominantly Sunni Muslim city, on Monday.

Apr 22, 2013

Syria says two bishops kidnapped by rebels

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Two prominent Syrian bishops, who had warned of the threat to religious tolerance and diversity from the two-year conflict in their country, were kidnapped on Monday by armed rebels in the northern province of Aleppo, state media said.

SANA news agency said the Syriac Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Archbishops of Aleppo, Yohanna Ibrahim and Paul Yazigi, were seized by “a terrorist group” in the village of Kfar Dael as they were “carrying out humanitarian work”.

Apr 17, 2013

Assad says West will pay for backing al Qaeda in Syria

BEIRUT (Reuters) – President Bashar al-Assad accused the West on Wednesday of supporting al Qaeda militants in Syria’s civil war and warned they would turn against their backers and strike “in the heart of Europe and the United States”.

Assad also launched his strongest criticism yet of neighboring Jordan for allowing thousands of fighters to cross the border to join a conflict he insisted his forces would win and save Syria from destruction.

Apr 11, 2013

Lebanon says gas plans on track despite political upheaval

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s political turmoil will not slow its oil and gas exploration plans for now, Energy Minister Gebran Bassil said, a week before he is due to announce which companies have pre-qualified in its first licensing round.

Fifty-two firms submitted bids last month to explore Lebanon’s offshore Mediterranean waters, including ExxonMobil, Repsol, China National Offshore Oil Company and Royal Dutch Shell.

Apr 9, 2013

U.N. may cut food aid to Syrian refugees due to cash shortage

BEIRUT/GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations said on Tuesday it will halt food aid to 400,000 Syrian refugees in Lebanon next month unless it receives urgent new funding.

The cash shortage is part of a wider financial shortfall that the organization says is threatening its efforts to help nearly 1.3 million Syrian refugees and almost 4 million more people displaced inside Syria by the two-year conflict.

    • About Dominic

      "I run Reuters news operations in Beirut, Damascus and Amman. I have reported from across the Middle East since 1992, mainly in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt and Dubai. I have also edited political and general news from Europe/MiddleEast/Africa and was parliamentary correspondent in London."
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