Bureau Chief Lebanon, Syria, Jordan
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Nov 30, 2013

Syrian PM, visiting ally Iran, says government winning civil war

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Prime Minister Wael Halki said on Saturday Syrian government forces were winning the war with rebels and would not rest while a single enemy fighter remained at large.

Maintaining Syria’s unyielding response to Western calls for President Bashar al-Assad to step aside, Halki said the era of “threats and intimidation has gone, never to return, while the era of victory and pride is being created now on Syrian soil”.

Nov 27, 2013

Syria tells Western foes to stop dreaming Assad will go

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Western countries which demand that President Bashar al-Assad step down should either stop dreaming or forget attending peace talks in January, Syria said on Wednesday.

Responding to an announcement that the long-delayed “Geneva 2″ conference aimed at resolving Syria’s civil war will be held on January 22, it said Assad’s government would take part in the meeting but reiterated that it had no plans to surrender power.

Nov 20, 2013

Beirut blast: jolt from past and omen of dark future

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Thirty years after the Lebanese capital gave birth to the modern suicide bomber, a killer has again driven his explosive-packed car towards an embassy in Beirut, hurling charred corpses through the street.

For Lebanese, Tuesday’s carnage at the Iranian embassy – 23 people were killed and nearly 150 wounded – was both a sharp jolt from their own bloody past and a harrowing omen of a future as the Middle East’s next sectarian slaughterhouse.

Nov 20, 2013

Analysis – Beirut blast: jolt from past and omen of dark future

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Thirty years after the Lebanese capital gave birth to the modern suicide bomber, a killer has again driven his explosive-packed car towards an embassy in Beirut, hurling charred corpses through the street.

For Lebanese, Tuesday’s carnage at the Iranian embassy – 23 people were killed and nearly 150 wounded – was both a sharp jolt from their own bloody past and a harrowing omen of a future as the Middle East’s next sectarian slaughterhouse.

Nov 18, 2013

Syria rebel chieftain killed; Assad forces bomb besieged town

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.

Nov 15, 2013

Assad’s forces advance in northern Syria towards Aleppo

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.

Nov 15, 2013

World Bank to set up Lebanon trust fund by end-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.

Nov 14, 2013

Hezbollah will stay in Syria as long as needed: Nasrallah

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.

Nov 10, 2013

Syrian army retakes northern military base in third day of clashes

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.

Nov 8, 2013

Exclusive: U.S., Russia see Syrian chemical disarmament overrunning

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.

    • 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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