BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces launched a major offensive on Saturday against rebels in Homs, a centre of the two-year uprising, in their latest drive to secure an axis linking Damascus to the Mediterranean.
Activists said jets and mortars pounded rebel-held areas of the city which have been under siege by Assad’s troops for a year, and soldiers fought battles with rebel fighters in several districts.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Gulf Arab states and the fast-emerging BRICS economies should do more to address an expected funding shortfall of billions of dollars for Syrian aid efforts, a senior United States official said on Thursday.
Describing Syria as an “overwhelming and fast-moving humanitarian catastrophe”, Assistant Secretary of State Anne Richard said the accelerating pace of the crisis presented an almost unprecedented challenge.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have retaken a town on the Lebanese border as they press an offensive against rebels in a conflict that has now cost more than 100,000 lives, activists said on Wednesday.
The army took full control of Tel Kalakh, driving out insurgents and ending an unofficial truce under which it had allowed a small rebel presence to remain for several months.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – The Lebanese army sealed off Beirut’s parliamentary district with razor wire and threatened stern action against violence on Friday after a night of unrest stoked by the war in Syria and political paralysis at home.
Around 100 protesters, angered by the postponement of June’s parliamentary election until next year, scuffled with police on Thursday night near parliament. Twenty camped out overnight outside the ring of barbed wire, vowing to maintain the protest.
BAGHDAD/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Neighboring Iraq warned that Syria’s civil war is tearing the Middle East apart and Lebanon’s president urged his country’s Hezbollah movement on Thursday to pull its fighters out of the conflict.
After two years of fighting that has killed more than 93,000 people, Syria’s turmoil is dragging its neighbors into a deadly confrontation between Shi’ite Iran supporting President Bashar al-Assad and Sunni Arab Gulf nations backing the Syrian rebels.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – The voice crackling over the Hezbollah radios was clear and authoritative, and the guerrillas poised to attack the Syrian border town of Qusair recognized it immediately.
“As I promised you victory before, I pledge you victory now,” Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said, launching a battle in which his fighters decisively defeated rebels trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Hezbollah guerrillas fought a deadly battle with Syrian rebels in Lebanon’s eastern border region early on Sunday, security sources said, in the latest eruption of Syria’s conflict on Lebanese soil.
Lebanese security sources said at least 12 rebels were killed in the fighting east of the Bekaa Valley town of Baalbek, but the toll would not be clear until bodies were retrieved from the remote and rugged border area. One Hezbollah fighter also died, they said.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Several fighters were killed in an overnight clash between Hezbollah fighters and Syrian rebel forces in Lebanon’s eastern border region with Syria, Lebanese security sources said on Sunday.
One source said 15 rebels were killed in the fighting east of the Bekaa Valley town of Baalbek, but the exact toll would not be clear until bodies could be retrieved from the remote and rugged border area. One Hezbollah fighter also died, he said.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian troops and Hezbollah guerrillas besieging the border town of Qusair fought with rebels on Saturday as the United Nations warned all sides they could be held accountable for the suffering of civilians trapped there.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said fighting was taking place inside Qusair and in villages around it, largely controlled by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces who have cut off access to the town.
BEIRUT/MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia has yet to send advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, a source close to the Russian defense ministry said on Thursday, but President Bashar al-Assad said Moscow was still committed to the contract to deliver them.
A Lebanese newspaper had earlier quoted Assad as saying in an interview that Moscow had already sent a first shipment of S-300 missiles. When the actual interview was broadcast, however, the Syrian leader stopped short of saying the missiles had arrived.