AMMAN/ARSAL, Lebanon (Reuters) – President Bashar al-Assad’s forces fired rocket and artillery barrages on a besieged mountain town near Lebanon on Monday in a push to capture the strategic area following advances against rebels in Damascus and in the north of Syria.
In a separate setback for the fighters, a prominent rebel leader died overnight in a Turkish hospital of wounds suffered in an air raid on Aleppo. Abdelqader Saleh, head of the Qatar-backed Sunni Islamist al-Tawhid Brigades, had been working on regrouping fighters in Aleppo before he was killed.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad captured on Friday the last of three towns on the south-eastern approaches of Aleppo, state television said, advancing on the city after similar gains around the capital Damascus this week.
Aleppo, Syria’s commercial hub and biggest city before the uprising against Assad erupted in 2011, has been partly held by Sunni rebels and foreign jihadi fighters for more than a year.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – The World Bank will set up a trust fund to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to help Lebanon bear the cost of hosting a human wave of refugees from Syria, the bank’s regional director said on Friday.
The trust fund will seek to attract $300 million to $400 million in donations for the most urgent priorities, including education and poverty reduction, World Bank Middle East director Ferid Belhaj said.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Shi’ite militants from Hezbollah will keep fighting in Syria’s civil war alongside President Bashar al-Assad’s forces as long as necessary, the group’s leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Thursday.
Hezbollah has helped turn the tide in Assad’s favor this year, leading the recapture of the town of Qusair and fighting alongside his forces south of Damascus and in the northern city of Aleppo.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian forces backed by Lebanese Hezbollah militants recaptured an army base in northern Syria from rebels on Sunday, the third day of heavy fighting for the strategic military target which has changed hands three times since Friday.
State media and activists said President Bashar al-Assad’s forces were in full control of the 80th Brigade base, which lies just a few hundred meters (yards) north of Aleppo airport on the eastern edge of the disputed city.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – The United States and Russia want Syria to ship its deadly chemical agents out of the country by the end of the year but expect a mid-2014 target for their final destruction to be missed, according to a draft document.
The document, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, calls for most chemical materials to be removed from the country in under eight weeks, by December 31, and for remaining chemical weapons facilities to be destroyed by the beginning of March.
BEIRUT, Nov 8 (Reuters) – The United States and Russia want
Syria to ship its deadly chemical agents out of the country by
the end of the year but expect a mid-2014 target for their final
destruction to be missed, according to a draft document.
The document, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, calls for
most chemical materials to be removed from the country in under
eight weeks, by Dec. 31, and for remaining chemical weapons
facilities to be destroyed by the beginning of March.
KFAR ZABAD, Lebanon (Reuters) – International donors must do more to help Lebanon absorb a flood of refugees straining its schools and public services, the head of the United Nations children’s fund UNICEF said.
Lebanon, the smallest of Syria’s neighbors, is giving sanctuary to the largest number of refugees from the civil war across its border and Syrians now number around a quarter of its own population of just over 4 million.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria has destroyed all of its declared chemical weapons production and mixing facilities, meeting a major deadline in an ambitious disarmament program, the international chemical weapons watchdog said in a document seen by Reuters.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said its teams had inspected 21 out of 23 chemical weapons sites across the country. The other two were too dangerous to inspect, but the chemical equipment had already been moved to other sites that experts had visited, it said.
AMSTERDAM/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Safety concerns have prevented inspectors from a global chemical weapons watchdog from reaching two of the 23 sites declared by Syria as part of an agreement to destroy its toxic arsenal, the organization said on Monday.
The Organisation for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) had verified 21 sites up to October 27, the deadline agreed as part of Syria’s destruction program.