Bureau Chief Lebanon, Syria, Jordan
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Apr 12, 2012

Syria deadline passes, no reported violence

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The deadline for a U.N.-backed ceasefire aimed at halting more than a year of bloodshed in Syria passed on Thursday with no immediate reports of violence.

People in the restive provinces of Homs, Hama and Idlib which have seen sustained shelling by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces over the last week, said the situation was calm after the 6 a.m. (11 p.m. Eastern Time) deadline expired.

Apr 10, 2012

Syrian troops on offensive on deadline day

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian troops shelled villages, fired across frontiers and were accused of massacres in the hours before a deadline on Tuesday that many doubt can usher in a U.N.-brokered ceasefire and halt a 13-month slide into all-out civil war.

Diplomats trying to contain a crisis that has inflamed the Middle East and pitched old Cold War rivals into opposing camps will not wish to abandon their most comprehensive peace plan yet. The plan’s author, international envoy Kofi Annan, visits Turkey and Iran on Tuesday, while Russia hosts the Syrian foreign minister.

Apr 9, 2012

Fighting rocks Syria less than 24 hours to deadline

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria’s conflict spilled over into Turkey on Monday and government forces battled rebel fighters near the border in clashes that appeared to doom a ceasefire less than 24 hours before a U.N.-brokered deadline for a Syrian army pull-back.

Under a deal brokered by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, Syria is to begin withdrawing troops from around urban centers by Tuesday, paving the way for a truce to start 48 hours later.

Apr 4, 2012

UN peacekeeper due in Damascus for ceasefire talks

BEIRUT, April 5 (Reuters) – A senior Norwegian U.N.
peacekeeper flies into Damascus on Thursday to try to broker an
agreement that will allow observers to be deployed across Syria
to monitor a ceasefire demanded by an international peace plan.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accepted the plan,
which calls for him to withdraw heavy weapons from cities, and
his ally Russia said Syrian forces had begun to pull back.

Apr 4, 2012

UN ceasefire mission fails to curb Syria violence

BEIRUT, April 4 (Reuters) – Syrian opposition activists
accused forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of bombarding
rebel areas on Wednesday as a U.N. mission was expected to
arrive in Damascus in a first step to implement an international
peace plan.

Activists said at least 80 people have been killed since
Tuesday despite the imminent arrival of the advance team from
the U.N. peacekeeping department.

Apr 4, 2012

U.N. ceasefire moves fail to deter Syria violence

BEIRUT (Reuters) – At least 70 people were killed in intense fighting in Syria over the past 24 hours, activists said on Wednesday, despite the imminent arrival of a U.N. team to discuss a possible mission to monitor a ceasefire set for next week.

Western powers were seeking U.N. Security Council endorsement of envoy Kofi Annan’s deal with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for an April 10 withdrawal of military forces, to be followed within 48 hours by a ceasefire by rebel forces.

Apr 3, 2012

Syria violence undiminished by ceasefire deal

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Opposition activists accused Syrian troops of shelling two cities on Tuesday in a campaign to weaken forces fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s government before a ceasefire deadline next week.

Rebel fighters also kept up their attacks, killing three soldiers in separate actions in northern Syria, activists said.

Apr 2, 2012

Violence tears Syria despite ceasefire pledge

BEIRUT, April 2 (Reuters) – Syrian government forces
bombarded opposition targets in the city of Homs on Monday
despite President Bashar al-Assad’s promise to international
peace envoy Kofi Annan to cease fire and withdraw his tanks and

Annan, who met Assad in Damascus last week to discuss his
peace plan, was due to brief the U.N. Security Council in New
York later on Monday on whether he had seen any progress towards
its implementation.

Apr 1, 2012

Syria “friends” warn Assad time is short to end bloodshed

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Western and Arab nations warned President Bashar al-Assad not to delay adopting a plan to end a year of bloodshed in Syria and called on peace envoy Kofi Annan to set a timetable for action if the violence continues.

Annan is due to brief the U.N. Security Council on Monday about whether he has seen any progress towards implementing his proposals, which Damascus has accepted but not yet carried out.

Mar 29, 2012

Assad says foreign aid to rebels must stop under peace plan

BEIRUT, March 29 (Reuters) – President Bashar al-Assad said
on Thursday Syria would spare no effort to ensure the success of
international envoy Kofi Annan’s peace mission but warned it
would not work without securing an end to foreign funding and
arming of rebels opposing him.

Assad is under international pressure to call his troops and
tanks back to their bases, a year into a popular revolt against
his iron rule. Fighting between troops and rebels killed at
least 38 mo re people on Thursday, 15 of them soldiers.

    • 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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