(Reuters) – Islamist fighters in Syria battled President Bashar al-Assad’s forces for control of a border crossing with Turkey close to the Mediterranean on Saturday, part of an offensive aimed at opening up a rebel link to the sea.
They said heavy clashes continued around Kasab crossing and a nearby village of the same name – both about 5 miles from the coast – a day after rebels launched their assault.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria could ship out its remaining chemical weapons within a month and still meet a mid-year target for their final destruction, the head of an international mission overseeing the delayed disarmament operation said on Friday.
After missing several deadlines, Syria has accelerated the pace of chemical shipments from its Mediterranean port of Latakia this month and has now removed or destroyed more than half of its declared chemical arsenal.
BEIRUT, March 20 (Reuters) – More than half of Syria’s
declared chemical weapons arsenal has been shipped out or
destroyed within the country, the head of the international team
overseeing the disarmament process said on Thursday.
Sigrid Kaag, head of the joint mission of the United Nations
and Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW),
said 54 percent of the toxins had been removed or eliminated.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – United Nations and independent aid officials called on Saturday for swift agreement to allow supplies from Turkey into northeastern Syria, a move that would mark a small step towards implementing a U.N. demand for cross-border humanitarian access.
More than 9 million people inside Syria are in need of aid – close to half the population still in the country – according to the United Nations, but many of them are separated from the main aid operation center in the capital Damascus.
ZAHLE, Lebanon (Reuters) – Syria’s government has promised greater access for aid groups supporting millions of Syrians, but faster progress is needed to tackle a dire humanitarian crisis, the head of the United Nations children’s agency said on Friday.
UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake, speaking at a refugee camp for Syrians in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, said he was encouraged by “business-like” talks he held this week with Syrian officials in Damascus and Homs.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – An al Qaeda splinter group in Syria has denied it was behind the killing of a prominent al Qaeda figure last week and appeared to reject an ultimatum from rival fighters to accept mediation or face all-out assault.
The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was responding to the killing last Sunday of Abu Khaled al-Soury, who was close to both al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri and his predecessor Osama bin Laden.
BEIRUT/UNITED NATIONS, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Syria has agreed a
new timetable to remove its chemical weapons by late April after
failing to meet a deadline to ship out the arsenal earlier this
month, diplomats said on Wednesday.
Under a U.S.-Russian deal reached after a chemical weapons
attack killed hundreds of people around Damascus last year,
President Bashar al-Assad’s government should have handed over
1,300 tonnes of toxic chemicals by Feb. 5 for destruction
BEIRUT (Reuters) – The head of al Qaeda’s Syrian arm has given rival Islamist militants five days to accept mediation to end their infighting or face a war which will “eradicate” them, according to an audio recording posted on Tuesday.
Abu Mohammed al-Golani, leader of the Nusra Front, called on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to agree to arbitration by religious scholars to end more than a year of feuding which has turned violent.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Six hundred people left the besieged ruins of rebel-held central Homs on Sunday, escaping more than a year of hunger and deprivation caused by one of the most protracted blockades of Syria’s devastating conflict.
The evacuees, mainly women, children and old men, were brought out by the United Nations and Syrian Red Crescent on the third day of an operation during which the aid convoys came under fire and were briefly trapped themselves in the city.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – An aid convoy came under fire in a besieged rebel district of Homs on Saturday, threatening a United Nations-led operation to bring food and medicine to 2,500 people and evacuate civilians trapped by months of fighting in the Syrian city.
The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) said mortar fire landed close to its convoy and shots were fired at its trucks, wounding one of its drivers.