Bureau Chief Lebanon, Syria, Jordan
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Sep 27, 2013

U.N. probing more Syria chemical attacks, inspections to start

BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.N. chemical weapons inspectors in Syria are investigating seven cases of alleged chemical or biological weapons use, including three incidents around Damascus after the August 21 attack which almost triggered U.S. air strikes.

In a statement from Damascus on Friday, the United Nations said inspectors probing the attacks had returned to Syria on Wednesday and expected to finalize their work on Monday on a report to be issued by late October. The United States and its allies say an initial U.N. report that said sarin gas was used on August 21 showed government forces were responsible.

Sep 19, 2013

Syria war, refugees to cost Lebanon $7.5 billion – World Bank

BEIRUT, Sept 19 (Reuters) – Syria’s conflict will cost
Lebanon $7.5 billion in cumulative economic losses by the end of
next year, the World Bank has said in a report prepared for an
aid meeting at the United Nations.

A summary of the report, seen by Reuters after the World
Bank briefed diplomats in Beirut, provides the most detailed
assessment yet of the strain Syria’s conflict has placed on its
small Mediterranean neighbour.

Sep 16, 2013

Lebanon’s central bank to provide further stimulus

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s central bank plans a further boost next year to an economy hit by war in neighboring Syria and domestic turmoil, but the package will be smaller than this year’s $1.46 billion, its governor said on Monday.

Riad Salameh said the stimulus plan had been vital to keeping Lebanon’s economy growing at a rate which he estimated at between 2.0 and 2.25 percent this year, and additional support would be needed in 2014.

Sep 16, 2013

U.S., France, Britain to press Assad on chemical arms

PARIS/BEIRUT (Reuters) – The United States, France and Britain agreed on Monday to step up pressure on President Bashar al-Assad to stick to the terms of a deal under which Syria is to give up its huge arsenal of chemical weapons and avoid U.S. military strikes.

The three Western permanent members on the United Nations Security Council agree to seek a strong resolution in that forum that sets binding deadlines for the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons, French President Francois Hollande’s office said.

Sep 16, 2013

Chemical weapons deal wins time for Syria’s Assad but at a cost

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons bargain with Russia and the United States offers another political and military lifeline to the Syrian president, just two years after he was dismissed in Washington as a “dead man walking”.

The deal, reached under the shadow of threatened U.S. air strikes and only after the intervention of Syria’s ally Moscow, does come at a cost to the Syrian leader – a fact which likely explains the muted response in Damascus when it was announced.

Sep 10, 2013

France to propose U.N. resolution on Syria chemical weapons

PARIS/BEIRUT (Reuters) – France is to put forward a U.N. Security Council draft resolution for Syria to give up its chemical weapons, quickly turning a Russian idea into a full-blown diplomatic proposal that could avert Western military strikes.

The French draft would threaten “extremely serious” consequences if Syria violates the conditions for giving up its chemical weapons, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday.

Aug 22, 2013

Syrian forces bombard Damascus suburbs after rebels say gas attack kills hundreds

BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces bombarded rebel-held suburbs of Damascus on Thursday, activists said, keeping up pressure on the besieged region a day after the opposition accused the army of gassing hundreds in a chemical weapons attack.

With the death toll estimated between 500 and 1,300, what would be the world’s most lethal chemical weapons attack since the 1980s prompted an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council in New York.

Aug 22, 2013

Syria gas ‘kills hundreds,’ Security Council meets

BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – Syria’s opposition accused government forces of gassing hundreds of people on Wednesday by firing rockets that released deadly fumes over rebel-held Damascus suburbs, killing men, women and children as they slept.

With the death toll estimated between 500 and 1,300, what would be the world’s most lethal chemical weapons attack since the 1980s prompted an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council in New York.

Aug 21, 2013

Activists say more than 200 killed in gas attack near Damascus

BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian activists accused President Bashar al-Assad’s forces of launching a nerve gas attack that killed at least 213 people on Wednesday, in what would, if confirmed, be by far the worst reported use of poison gas in the two-year-old civil war.

Reuters was not able to verify the accounts independently and they were denied by Syrian state television, which said they were disseminated deliberately to distract a team of United Nations chemical weapons experts which arrived three days ago.

Aug 19, 2013

Assad’s forces push back rebels in Syria’s Alawite mountains

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian army and militia troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have pushed back a rebel offensive in the mountain heartlands of his Alawite sect, officials and activists said on Monday, after days of heavy fighting and aerial bombardment.

The assault by Islamist rebels on the northern edges of the Alawite mountains overlooking the Mediterranean drove hundreds of Alawite villagers out to the coast and marked a major challenge to Assad’s reassertion of power over central Syria.

    • 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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