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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon should consider setting up transit centers to absorb the waves of refugees fleeing neighboring Syria and may have to establish formal refugee camps if the influx continues, a United Nations refugee official said.
The tiny and fragile Mediterranean state already hosts 260,000 refugees – equivalent to 6.5 percent of its population – and has sought to absorb them in homes and communities, fearing large camps of Sunni Muslim Syrians could inflame sectarian tensions still smouldering from its own 1975-1990 civil war.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian opposition leader Moaz Alkhatib urged President Bashar al-Assad on Monday to respond to his initiative for dialogue, saying it was aimed at ending the bloodshed and helping “the regime leave peacefully”.
Speaking after meeting senior Russian, U.S. and Iranian officials at the weekend, Alkahtib said none of them had a plan to end the civil war and Syrians must find their own resolution.
BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – Syria protested to the United Nations on Thursday over an Israeli air strike on its territory and warned of a possible “surprise” response.
The foreign ministry summoned the head of the U.N. force in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to deliver the protest a day after Israel hit what Syria said was a military research centre and diplomats said was a weapons convoy heading for Lebanon.
BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – Syria warned on Thursday of a possible “surprise” response to Israel’s attack on its territory and Russia condemned the air strike as an unprovoked violation of international law.
Damascus could take “a surprise decision to respond to the aggression of the Israeli warplanes”, Syrian ambassador to Lebanon Ali Abdul-Karim Ali said a day after Israel struck against Syria.