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Mar 11, 2012

Syria’s Assad to see Annan again

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Former United Nations chief Kofi Annan, on a difficult peace mission to Syria, prepared to hold more talks with President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday as Syrian forces pursued a drive to crush rebel bastions in the northwest.

Annan, joint envoy of the United Nations and Arab League, appeared to make little headway on Saturday in a “candid and comprehensive” meeting with Assad, who blamed the bloodshed on “terrorists” seeking to destabilize Syria.

Mar 9, 2012

Annan to meet Assad, seeking end to Syria violence

BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan meets President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday to press for a political solution to Syria’s year-long uprising and bloody crackdown in which thousands of people have been killed.

Annan’s talks in Damascus come a day after activists said Assad’s forces killed at least 68 people as they sought to extend control over the rebellious city of Homs and crush armed opposition in the northern province of Idlib.

Mar 7, 2012

Obama says Syria’s Assad “will fall”, U.N. assesses draft

WASHINGTON/BEIRUT (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said it was only a matter of time before Syrian President Bashar al-Assad left office, but squarely opposed a call to launch U.S. military action to force him out.

Obama said what was happening in Syria was “heartbreaking and outrageous”, and witness accounts of the devastation after government troops bombarded the rebel stronghold of Baba Amr into submission have given attempts to reach a diplomatic solution renewed urgency.

Mar 6, 2012

Syria faces outrage; “smell of death” in Homs

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad faced growing Western anger Tuesday for preventing aid from entering a devastated district of Homs and over accusations of human rights abuses, including pictures said to show torture victims at a hospital in the city.

Dozens of men, women and children returned on foot to Baba Amr, passing bullet-pocked and damaged buildings, days after rebel fighters pulled out after a sustained and heavy military assault. The Red Cross was awaiting approval to distribute aid to the devastated district which endured a month of siege.

Feb 28, 2012

Interview: Russia “could soften” Syria stance after poll

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Moscow may soften its opposition to coordinated international action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after Russia holds its presidential election next week, a leading Lebanese politician has said.

International efforts to stop Assad’s violent crackdown on protests have been deadlocked after Russia and China vetoed an Arab and Western-backed draft U.N. resolution which would have paved the way for the Syrian ruler to step aside.

Feb 28, 2012

Russia “could soften” Syria stance after poll

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Moscow may soften its opposition to coordinated international action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad after Russia holds its presidential election next week, a leading Lebanese politician has said.

International efforts to stop Assad’s violent crackdown on protests have been deadlocked after Russia and China vetoed an Arab and Western-backed draft U.N. resolution which would have paved the way for the Syrian ruler to step aside.

Feb 24, 2012

Friends of Syria to send aid in 48 hours if assault stops

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Western and Arab powers meeting in Tunis on Friday will demand Syrian authorities allow immediate access for aid to the cities of Homs, Deraa, Zabadani “and other areas under siege,” according to an updated draft declaration obtained by Reuters.

The draft conclusion of the conference also calls on Damascus “immediately to cease all violence” and pledges to deliver humanitarian supplies within 48 hours if Syria “stopped its assault on civilian areas and permitted access.”

Feb 23, 2012

Exclusive – “Friends of Syria” to call for ceasefire

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Western and Arab powers meeting in Tunis on Friday will call on Syria to implement an immediate ceasefire to allow aid groups to deliver relief supplies to areas worst hit by the violence, according to a draft of their declaration.

The draft conclusion of the “Friends of Syria” meeting urges President Bashar al-Assad’s government “to implement an immediate ceasefire and to allow free and unimpeded access by the UN … and humanitarian agencies.”

Feb 12, 2012

Syrian forces shell Homs ahead of Arab meeting

AMMAN/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian forces bombarded districts of the city of Homs in their drive to crush a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, ahead of a meeting of Arab foreign ministers due to discuss setting up a joint observer mission with the United Nations.

The Local Coordination Committees, an activists’ organization, said that according to a tally from doctors at makeshift hospitals, at least 31 people were killed Saturday in the latest attacks in a week-long government siege of Homs, Syria’s third largest city, which has been at the heart of an uprising that broke out 11 months ago.

Feb 11, 2012

Syria forces shell Homs

AMMAN/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian forces bombarded districts of Homs city on Saturday in a campaign to crush a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, whose ally Russia said it would not support an Arab peace plan circulating at the United Nations.

Activists said seven people were killed in the latest attacks in a week-long government siege of Homs, which has been at the heart of the uprising which broke out 11 months ago.

    • 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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