Pope Benedict urged Arab leaders on Sunday at a huge open-air Mass in Lebanon to work for reconciliation in a Middle East riven by Syria’s civil war and blazing with fury over a film mocking the Muslim Prophet Mohammad.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Pope Benedict urged Arab leaders on Sunday at a huge open-air Mass in Lebanon to work for reconciliation in a Middle East riven by Syria’s civil war and blazing with fury over a film mocking the Muslim Prophet Mohammad.
“May God grant to your country, to Syria and to the Middle East, the gift of peaceful hearts, the silencing of weapons and the cessation of all violence,” the pope said in a prayer after Mass that organizers said was attended by 350,000 people.
BEIRUT, Sept 15 (Reuters) – International mediator Lakhdar
Brahimi said after talks with Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad
on Saturday that the escalating conflict in the country posed a
Activists say 27,000 people have been killed in the
18-month-old uprising against Assad. Late on Saturday, 20
bodies, including a woman’s, were found by residents in a
district of Damascus that had been overrun by Assad’s troops, a
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Pope Benedict’s visit to Lebanon ranked as potentially his most dangerous even before this week’s protests in the Middle East raised the stakes, but he said on Friday he never considered calling it off for safety reasons.
Syria’s civil war rages only 50 km (30 miles) east of Beirut and the Sunni-Shi’ite tensions it unleashed have sometimes spilled over the border to spark clashes that could upset the fragile peace Lebanon has had since its own war ended in 1990.
In a walled churchyard in the old city of Damascus, a small group of Syrians debate whether the time has come to flee one of Christianity’s ancient heartlands.
(Reuters) – In a walled churchyard in the old city of Damascus, a small group of Syrians debate whether the time has come to flee one of Christianity’s ancient heartlands.
Members of a Christian community which stretches back 2,000 years, they worry that Syria’s civil war can have no happy outcome and they face an upheaval that fellow believers have already suffered elsewhere in the Middle East.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – As it spirals deeper into civil war, racked by violence, bombs and assassinations, Syria is led by an invisible president.
Since Bashar al-Assad addressed parliament in his last major public appearance in early June, rebels have taken their fight to overthrow him into Syria’s two main cities, seized swathes of countryside and assassinated four of his top security officials.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – A century ago minority Alawites began a long journey from rural poverty in the mountains overlooking the eastern Mediterranean towards Syria’s seat of power in Damascus.
Now, with President Bashar al-Assad threatened by armed revolution, those mountains could offer a last sanctuary to his Alawite community if Sunni rebels were to overrun the capital.
AMMAN/BEIRUT (Reuters) – A Syrian rebel group claimed responsibility for the Damascus bombing that killed four of President Bashar al-Assad’s top aides, releasing video purporting to show the building minutes after the blast and radio messages from panicky security forces.
The video, circulated by the “Military Leadership of Damascus City and Province” in the name of the “Hawks Special Operations Battalion” showed drifting smoke near the National Security Bureau building in the Damascus district of Abu-Rummaneh which was struck, though no sign of outward damage.
BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian forces bombarded three districts of Damascus with helicopter gunships on Sunday, witnesses said, clawing back territory from rebels a week after the fighters launched what they called a final battle for the capital.
Fighting also raged around the main intelligence headquarters in Syria’s biggest city, Aleppo — the country’s main commercial and industrial hub — and in Deir al-Zor on the Euprhates river, the largest city in the east.