Bureau Chief Lebanon, Syria, Jordan
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Oct 15, 2013

Syrian fighters battle on, ignoring Muslim holiday

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian air force jets and helicopters bombed rebel-held districts across the country on Tuesday, the first day of the Muslim festival of Eid al Adha, and rebel fighters fired rockets into the heart of Damascus.

President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces are battling a civil war which grew out of protests against his rule two years ago, was shown on state television attending morning prayers with ministers at a Damascus mosque at the start of the Eid holiday.

Oct 11, 2013

Air raids and clashes near Syrian chemical weapons site

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian air force warplanes bombarded rebel-held targets close to a major chemical weapons facility on Friday in fighting that highlights the perils facing an international mission to eliminate President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical arsenal.

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, is due to visit 20 sites across Syria to verify the destruction of 1,000 tons of chemical agents and precursors.

Oct 8, 2013

Momentum for diplomacy hides chasm between Syrian foes

BEIRUT, Oct 8 (Reuters) – Diplomatic momentum is building to
bring Syria’s warring parties together for peace talks, but with
Bashar al-Assad in no mood for concessions and his opponents
still deeply divided there is little prospect for an early end
to the catastrophic civil war.

Hopes that the long-delayed talks may finally go ahead in
Geneva next month have been boosted by the rare sight of
Washington and Moscow cooperating to eliminate Syria’s chemical
weapons and hints of a U.S. thaw with Assad’s ally Iran.

Oct 8, 2013

Syria wins cautious praise as chemical disarmament starts

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria won foreign praise on Monday for starting to destroy its chemical arsenal, although an opposition activist said the world was merely giving President Bashar al-Assad time to kill more people with conventional weapons.

An official from the international mission overseeing the stockpile’s elimination said Damascus had made an excellent start on Sunday, and the United States acknowledged its rapid compliance with a U.N. resolution on destroying chemical weapons as extremely significant.

Oct 7, 2013

Syria makes “excellent” start on chemical disarmament

BEIRUT, Oct 7 (Reuters) – Syria won foreign praise on Monday
for starting to destroy its chemical arsenal, although an
opposition activist said the world was merely giving President
Bashar al-Assad time to kill more people with conventional
weapons.

An official from the international mission overseeing the
stockpile’s elimination said Damascus had made an excellent
start on Sunday, and the United States acknowledged its rapid
compliance with a U.N. resolution on destroying chemical weapons
as extremely significant.

Oct 7, 2013

Syria makes “excellent” start on chemical disarmament, official says

BEIRUT, Oct 7 (Reuters) – Syria won foreign praise on Monday
for starting to destroy its chemical arsenal, although an
opposition activist said the world was merely giving President
Bashar al-Assad time to kill more people with conventional
weapons.

An official from the international mission overseeing the
stockpile’s elimination said Damascus had made an excellent
start, and the United States acknowledged its rapid compliance
with a U.N. resolution on destroying chemical weapons as
extremely significant.

Sep 28, 2013

Rebels seize military post on Syria’s southern border

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Rebel fighters including foreign Islamists took control of a military post on Syria’s southern border with Jordan on Saturday after four days of heavy fighting with President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, activists said.

The former customs post on the edge of the city of Deraa, where Syria’s uprising against Assad erupted in 2011, was seized by several groups including the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and the Islamist Ahrar al-Sham, according to the reports.

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.

    • 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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