Bureau Chief Lebanon, Syria, Jordan
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Mar 14, 2013

U.N. curbs Golan patrols after peacekeepers seized: diplomats

BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.N. peacekeepers monitoring the ceasefire line between Syria and the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights have scaled back patrols after rebels detained 21 Filipino observers for three days last week, diplomats said on Thursday.

The seizure of the unarmed observers highlighted the vulnerability of the 1,000-strong U.N. Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF), whose mission began in 1974, to the growing violence in Syria.

Mar 9, 2013

U.N. peacekeepers taken to Syrian-Jordan border for handover

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A group of 21 U.N. peacekeepers captured by Syrian rebels three days ago has been taken to the border with Jordan and was being handed over to Jordanian authorities, a rebel source and a violence monitoring group said on Saturday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Filipino monitors, who had been held in the village of Jamla since being captured by the rebel Martyrs of Yarmouk brigade on Wednesday, were taken to the border area by the insurgents. A Syrian rebel confirmed the peacekeepers had reached the frontier.

Mar 9, 2013

U.N. convoy to retrieve Golan peacekeepers delayed: rebel

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A U.N. convoy sent to retrieve 21 Filipino peacekeepers captured by rebels in a southern Syrian village three days ago has been held up after one of its vehicles broke down, a Syrian rebel source said on Saturday.

But he said a ceasefire around the village of Jamla appeared to be holding and the convoy of seven U.N. vehicles, held up about 6 km (4 miles) northeast of Jamla, would still be able to collect the peacekeepers once it was mobile again.

Mar 8, 2013

Syrian army shells hold up UN retrieval of peacekeepers

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Intense Syrian army bombardment prevented a convoy of United Nations vehicles on Friday from reaching and retrieving 21 U.N. peacekeepers seized by rebels near the Golan Heights two days ago, a rebel spokesman said.

Abu Essam Taseel said the convoy had reached the village of Nafea, about a kilometer (half a mile) east of Jamla where the Filipino peacekeepers were held on Wednesday, but was unable to venture further because of the bombardment.

Mar 7, 2013

Syria rebels want troop pullback before they free U.N. men

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Rebels holding 21 U.N. peacekeepers near the Golan Heights in southern Syria say government forces must leave the area before they free their “guests”, an activist in touch with the fighters said on Thursday.

Rami Abdelrahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights quoted a spokesman for the “Martyrs of Yarmouk” rebel brigade as saying the peacekeepers were being held as “guests” in the village of Jamla, about a mile from a ceasefire line with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Mar 1, 2013

Assad forces take Aleppo village, reopening supply line

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces seized a village southeast of the city of Aleppo on Friday, reopening a supply line to the country’s biggest city where they have been battling rebels for eight months, a monitoring group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the capture of Tel Shghaib marked the last step to creating a land supply route north into Aleppo from Hama province, crucial for Assad’s forces who have lost control of part of the main north-south highway.

Feb 22, 2013

Car bomb kills over 50 near Damascus ruling party office

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A car bomb killed more than 50 people and wounded 200 in central Damascus on Thursday when it blew up on a busy highway close to ruling Baath Party offices and the Russian Embassy, state media and activists said.

Syrian television showed charred and bloodied bodies strewn across the street after the blast, which it described as a suicide bombing by “terrorists” battling President Bashar al-Assad. It said 53 people were killed.

Feb 21, 2013

Bomb hits central Damascus near ruling party building

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A car bomb shook central Damascus on Thursday, killing several people and incinerating cars on a busy highway close to offices of the ruling Baath Party and the Russian Embassy, activists said.

Television footage showed at least four bodies strewn across the street after the blast, which state media blamed on what it described as a suicide bombing by “terrorists” battling President Bashar al-Assad.

Feb 14, 2013

Iranian Guards commander killed in Syria

BEIRUT (Reuters) – An Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander has been killed inside Syria by rebels battling Iran’s close ally President Bashar al-Assad, Iranian officials and a rebel leader said on Thursday .

Syrian rebels have repeatedly accused Tehran of sending fighters to help Assad crush the 22-month-old uprising, a charge Iran has denied.

Feb 11, 2013

Syria rebels seize dam, blast on Turkish border

AMMAN/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Rebels have captured Syria’s biggest hydro-electric dam and battled army tank units near the center of Damascus, activists said as the opposition renewed an offer on Monday to negotiate the departure of President Bashar al-Assad.

On the Turkish border, nine people were killed when a car arriving from rebel-held territory in northwestern Syria blew up at the Reyhanli frontier crossing; Turkish officials said it was unclear whether the blast was a suicide attack or an accident.

    • 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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