Bureau Chief Lebanon, Syria, Jordan
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Oct 20, 2012

Lebanon to bury slain intelligence official

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s political opposition has called for a mass turnout at Sunday’s funeral for slain intelligence officer Wissam al-Hassan, turning the ceremony into a political rally against Syrian authorities and Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati.

Hassan, who uncovered an alleged Syrian bomb plot inside Lebanon two months ago, was killed in a huge car bomb blast that also killed seven other people and wounded 80 in Beirut’s Ashrafiyeh district on Friday.

Oct 17, 2012

Syria envoy says bloodshed could engulf Middle East

BEIRUT, Oct 17 (Reuters) – The international mediator on
Syria said on Wednesday its civil war risks spilling across
borders to engulf the Middle East and appealed for a temporary
truce he said could mark a small step towards defusing 19 months
of conflict.

Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League envoy, has proposed
that both President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and rebel fighters
seeking his overthrow hold fire during the Islamic feast holiday
of Eid al-Adha that starts next week.

Oct 15, 2012

Peace envoy seeks Iranian help for Syria ceasefire

BEIRUT, Oct 15 (Reuters) – International peace envoy Lakhdar
Brahimi appealed to Iran to help arrange a ceasefire in Syria
during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Adha as rebels and
government forces fought street by street and village by village
on Monday.

Brahimi made the request in talks with Iranian leaders on
Sunday in Tehran, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s closest
regional ally in his campaign to crush a 19-month-old uprising.

Oct 14, 2012

Hezbollah foes say support for Assad puts Lebanon at risk

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Hezbollah’s increasingly visible support for President Bashar al-Assad and its latest military challenge to Israel has put the militant group on a collision course with domestic opponents who accuse it of dragging Lebanon towards regional conflict.

While still denying it has sent forces to Syria to fight alongside soldiers trying to crush a 19-month-old uprising against Assad, Hezbollah has held a number of public funerals this month for fighters killed performing “jihadi duties”.

Oct 3, 2012

Suicide car bombers strike in heart of Aleppo, 48 dead

BEIRUT, Oct 3 (Reuters) – Three suicide car bombs and a
mortar barrage ripped through a government-controlled district
of central Aleppo housing a military officers’ club on
Wednesday, killing 48 people according to activists.

The coordinated attacks hit just days after rebels launched
an offensive against President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in
Syria’s biggest city, leading to heavy fighting and a fire which
gutted a large part of its medieval covered market.

Sep 16, 2012
via FaithWorld

Pope Benedict urges Arab leaders to seek peace in turbulent Middle East


(Pope Benedict XVI conducts an open air mass at Beirut City Centre Waterfront, with two large mosques in the background September 16, 2012. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir)

Pope Benedict urged Arab leaders on Sunday at a huge open-air Mass in Lebanon to work for reconciliation in a Middle East riven by Syria’s civil war and blazing with fury over a film mocking the Muslim Prophet Mohammad.

Sep 16, 2012

Pope urges Arab leaders to work for peace in raging Middle East

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Pope Benedict urged Arab leaders on Sunday at a huge open-air Mass in Lebanon to work for reconciliation in a Middle East riven by Syria’s civil war and blazing with fury over a film mocking the Muslim Prophet Mohammad.

“May God grant to your country, to Syria and to the Middle East, the gift of peaceful hearts, the silencing of weapons and the cessation of all violence,” the pope said in a prayer after Mass that organizers said was attended by 350,000 people.

Sep 15, 2012

Syria envoy meets Assad, says conflict is global threat

BEIRUT, Sept 15 (Reuters) – International mediator Lakhdar
Brahimi said after talks with Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad
on Saturday that the escalating conflict in the country posed a
global threat.

Activists say 27,000 people have been killed in the
18-month-old uprising against Assad. Late on Saturday, 20
bodies, including a woman’s, were found by residents in a
district of Damascus that had been overrun by Assad’s troops, a
watchdog said.

Sep 14, 2012

Pope never considered canceling delicate Lebanon visit

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Pope Benedict’s visit to Lebanon ranked as potentially his most dangerous even before this week’s protests in the Middle East raised the stakes, but he said on Friday he never considered calling it off for safety reasons.

Syria’s civil war rages only 50 km (30 miles) east of Beirut and the Sunni-Shi’ite tensions it unleashed have sometimes spilled over the border to spark clashes that could upset the fragile peace Lebanon has had since its own war ended in 1990.

Sep 12, 2012
via FaithWorld

Syria’s Christians fear violent backlash from anti-Assad uprising


(An employee sits at the information desk of the Catholic Patriarchate in the Christian quarter of Damascus. In the background are pictures of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and Gregorius Lahham, the Greek Melkite Patriarch of Antioch. Picture taken September 6, 2012. REUTERS /Khaled al-Hariri)

In a walled churchyard in the old city of Damascus, a small group of Syrians debate whether the time has come to flee one of Christianity’s ancient heartlands.

    • 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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