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Feb 9, 2013

Lebanon may need camps for flood of Syrian refugees: U.N

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.

Feb 4, 2013

Syrian opposition chief says offers Assad peaceful exit

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.

Feb 1, 2013

Syria protests over Israel attack, warns of “surprise”

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.

Jan 31, 2013

Syria warns of “surprise” response to Israel attack

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.

Jan 30, 2013

Israel hits Syria arms convoy to Lebanon: sources

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.

Jan 29, 2013

U.N. optimistic Syria aid meet will win major funding

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.

Jan 8, 2013

World ignoring Syria’s systematic ruin: Jumblatt

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.

Jan 5, 2013

Assad to make rare speech as Syrian rebels draw nearer

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.

Dec 27, 2012

Syria envoy calls for political change to end conflict

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.

Dec 22, 2012

Syrian civil war at stalemate, Assad won’t go – Russia

BEIRUT, Dec 22 (Reuters) – Syria’s civil war has reached
stalemate and international efforts to persuade President Bashar
al-Assad to quit will fail, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei
Lavrov said on Saturday.

Mainly Sunni Muslim rebels seeking to overthrow Assad are
fighting on the edge of the capital Damascus and expanding
southwards from their northern strongholds in Aleppo and Idlib
into the central province of Hama.

    • 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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