BEIRUT (Reuters) – The first fled to exile, the second is on trial and the third Arab ruler to be toppled in an Arab revolt died at the hands of rebels he once dismissed as rats.
The killing of Muammar Gaddafi sends a bleak message to Syrian and Yemeni presidents still resisting demands for change that the longer they hold out, the higher the price of failure.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Turkey’s foreign minister held his first acknowledged meeting with Syrian opposition leaders, urging them to use peaceful means despite what activists say was the biggest offensive yet in the city of Homs by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
Ahmed Davutoglu’s discussion with the opposition Syrian National Council Monday night, reported by an unnamed Turkish foreign ministry official, followed a threat by Syria to deal firmly with any country which formally recognizes the council.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – A week after Mishaal al-Tammo was shot dead in Syria’s eastern town of Qamishli, pictures of the Kurdish activist adorn walls and shop windows, signs of lingering anger in a community with long-standing grievances against President Bashar al-Assad.
Tammo was gunned down in an attack which many activists blamed on supporters of the president, though others suspected Kurdish rivals or even opposition gunmen trying to incite Kurds to give greater backing to seven months of anti-Assad protests.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – At least 20 people were killed in renewed fighting in Syria on Thursday, an activist group said, and the European Union imposed sanctions on the country’s biggest state bank which bankers say holds much of the country’s foreign reserves.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 10 civilians were killed in the northern province of Idlib when soldiers loyal to President Bashar al-Assad stormed the town of Binish and fought battles with gunmen and army deserters.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Accusations of an Iranian plot to kill Saudi Arabia’s envoy to Washington highlight the deepening Saudi-Iranian cold war for power in the Gulf, but some Middle East analysts questioned the evidence and timing behind the U.S. announcement.
Washington said Tuesday it had foiled a plot by two men linked to Iran’s security agencies to assassinate Saudi ambassador Adel Jubeir, a close aide to King Abdullah. Iran denied the charge but Saudi Arabia said it would “pay a price.”
BEIRUT (Reuters) – At least 31 people were killed across Syria in the latest wave of violence, notably clashes between gunmen believed to be army deserters and troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, a Syrian activist group said on Monday.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Sunday’s death toll included 17 members of the army and security forces as well as 14 civilians, many of them in the city of Homs, where heavy gunfire was heard again early on Monday.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria threatened on Sunday to retaliate against any country that formally recognizes a recently established opposition National Council seeking international support for the six-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
The formation of the council has been welcomed by Assad’s Western critics, including the United States and France, however they have not embraced it diplomatically as they did the Libyan rebels who subsequently overthrew Muammar Gaddafi.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Turkey said on Wednesday it would impose sanctions on Syria despite the blocking of any U.N. measures against President Bashar al-Assad for his violent crackdown on dissent.
Russia and China handed Assad a diplomatic victory on Tuesday by vetoing a Western-backed U.N. resolution that would have hinted at future U.N. sanctions on Damascus, but Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan promised action of his own.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian soldiers have taken control of most of the town of Rastan from deserters and gunmen, an activist said on Saturday, after the most prolonged armed clashes of the six-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
Rami Abdel-Rahman, head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said a force of 250 tanks was sent to the region on Friday and the army was deployed across 80 percent of Rastan.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – The era of one-man rule in Arab countries is drawing to a close and the change sweeping the region will take hold in Syria soon, a United Nations envoy said.
“Syria is in the midst of a profound crisis. I do believe strongly that there will be substantial change,” U.N. Special Coordinator for Lebanon Michael Williams told Reuters.