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.
BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – Israeli warplanes bombed a convoy near Syria’s border with Lebanon, sources told Reuters, apparently targeting weapons destined for Hezbollah in what some called a warning to Damascus not to arm Israel’s Lebanese enemy.
Syrian state television accused Israel of bombing a military research center at Jamraya, between Damascus and the nearby border, but Syrian rebels disputed that, saying their forces had attacked the site. No source spoke of a second Israeli strike.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – The United Nations has received promises of major donations at this week’s $1.5 billion aid conference for millions of Syrians affected by nearly two years of conflict, a senior U.N. official said on Tuesday.
Wednesday’s pledging conference in Kuwait will seek $1 billion of aid for Syria’s neighbors sheltering 700,000 registered refugees, and another $500 million to bankroll humanitarian work for 4 million Syrians inside their country.
MUKHTARA, Lebanon (Reuters) – World powers are abandoning Syria to be “systematically destroyed” by a civil war which has already wrecked whole cities in a once-great Arab nation, Lebanon’s Druze leader Walid Jumblatt said.
Accusing them of “indifference or conspiracy”, Jumblatt said none of the international players, which are deeply divided over the 21-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, had shown any urgency to stem the bloodshed.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will deliver a rare speech on Sunday about the uprising against his rule, which has killed 60,000 people and brought civil war to the edge of his capital.
With insurgents fighting their way closer to the seat of his power, state media said in a statement that Assad would speak on Sunday morning about the “latest developments in Syria and the region”, without giving details.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – The international envoy seeking a solution to Syria’s 21-month-old conflict said on Thursday political change was needed to end the violence which has killed 44,000 people, and called for a transitional government to rule until elections.
Speaking in Damascus at the end of a five-day trip during which he met President Bashar al-Assad, Lakhdar Brahimi did not spell out detailed proposals but said that only substantial change would meet the demands of ordinary Syrians.