Bureau Chief Lebanon, Syria, Jordan
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May 30, 2012

U.N. monitors say 13 killed in cold blood in Syria

BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.N. observers said on Wednesday 13 bodies had been discovered bound and shot in eastern Syria, days after a massacre of 108 civilians, nearly half of them children, ignited a world outcry.

Syrian activists said the victims were army defectors killed by Assad’s forces, but it was not possible to verify their accounts.

May 23, 2012

Syria violence shakes Lebanon’s fragile stability

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Gunmen clash in deadly street battles, protesters block roads with burning tires and opposition politicians demand the prime minister’s downfall, denouncing the army as an agent of a foreign power.

Fragile Lebanon’s sectarian tensions, which festered for two decades since the end of its ruinous civil war, have been re-ignited by the turmoil in powerful neighbor Syria and threaten to plunge the country into a sustained period of unrest.

May 21, 2012

Two killed in Sunni Muslim clashes in Beirut

BEIRUT (Reuters) – At least two people were killed in heavy fighting between rival Sunni Muslim gunmen in Beirut on Monday, medical and security sources said, in the latest violence fuelled by tensions over the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The clashes followed the killing of an anti-Assad Sunni cleric and his colleague at an army checkpoint in north Lebanon on Sunday, triggering angry protests in Sunni districts of northern cities and the capital.

May 11, 2012

Syria says thwarts 1,200 kg car bomb in Aleppo

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian forces foiled an attempted suicide car bombing with 1,200 kg (2,640 pounds) of explosives in the northern city of Aleppo on Friday, state television said, a day after two bombs in the capital Damascus killed at least 55 people.

The would-be bomber was killed in the al Shaar district of Syria’s largest city which, like Damascus, has seen increasing street protests against President Bashar al-Assad and rising levels of bloodshed after months of relative calm.

Apr 30, 2012

Top U.N. truce monitor in Syria, attack on Central Bank

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A Norwegian general charged with overseeing a shaky U.N.-brokered truce in Syria arrived in Damascus on Sunday, boosting a monitor mission that activists say has helped ease the violence in the city of Homs, hotbed of a 13-month uprising.

In the capital, militants fired rocket-propelled grenades at the Central Bank building, causing slight damage, and wounded four police when they attacked their patrol, state television reported. Activists in Damascus reported explosions and gunfire.

Apr 29, 2012

Top U.N. truce monitor in Syria, lull in violence

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A Norwegian general charged with overseeing a shaky U.N.-brokered truce in Syria arrived in Damascus on Sunday, boosting a monitor mission that activists say has already helped ease the violence in the city of Homs, hotbed of a 13-month uprising.

General Robert Mood acknowledged the huge task awaiting the planned 300-strong unarmed mission, which now has 30 people on the ground, but said he was confident it could make headway.

Apr 28, 2012

Lebanon impounds ship carrying Libyan weapons

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanese authorities seized a large consignment of Libyan weapons including rocket-propelled grenades and heavy caliber ammunition from a ship intercepted in the Mediterranean, the army said on Saturday.

It did not say where the vessel was heading but the ship’s owner told Reuters it was due to unload in the northern Lebanese port of Tripoli.

Apr 24, 2012

Hama shelling undermines Syria truce

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The Syrian army killed more than 20 people in Hama on Monday, activists said, shattering a week of relative quiet in the central city visited a day earlier by U.N. monitors laying the ground for a wider mission to oversee a shaky 11-day ceasefire.

A small group of unarmed observers has been in Syria for a week, tracking the truce between forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and opponents inspired by ‘Arab Spring’ uprisings in North Africa and elsewhere in the Middle East.

Apr 22, 2012

Violence persists in Syria as Annan urges truce compliance

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian soldiers stormed a town east of Damascus on Sunday and rebels bombed a military convoy in the north of the country as international mediator Kofi Annan urged both sides to work with an expanded team of U.N. ceasefire monitors.

The group of unarmed military monitors has been operating in Syria for a week, overseeing a 10-day-old truce agreement that has curbed some of the violence but failed to bring a complete halt to 13 months of bloodshed.

Apr 21, 2012

Assad foes doubt Syria truce but have few options

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Barely had the first U.N. ceasefire monitors set foot on Syrian soil this week than Bashar al-Assad’s enemies were discussing the likelihood of the mission failing and warning of punitive measures against the Syrian president.

The emir of Qatar gave Syria’s flawed truce a three percent chance of holding while U.S. officials, pointing to continued army shelling of rebel strongholds, questioned whether there was any point adding to the handful of international monitors in place.

    • 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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