Bureau Chief Lebanon, Syria, Jordan
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Nov 8, 2013

U.S., Russia see Syrian chemical disarmament overrunning

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.

Nov 3, 2013

World must help Lebanon handle Syrian refugee flood: UNICEF

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.

Oct 31, 2013

Syria meets deadline to destroy chemical production facilities

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.

Oct 28, 2013

Chemical weapon inspectors unable to reach two Syrian sites

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.

Oct 18, 2013

Jets bomb Syrian city after intelligence general killed

BEIRUT, Oct 18 (Reuters) – Syrian air force jets bombarded
the eastern city of Deir al-Zor on Friday after heavy overnight
clashes and the killing of one of President Bashar al-Assad’s
top military intelligence officers, activists said.

General Jama’a Jama’a was shot dead on Thursday by snipers
in the midst of a battle with rebels including forces linked to
al Qaeda, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Oct 18, 2013

Jets bomb eastern Syrian city after intelligence general killed

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian air force jets bombarded the eastern city of Deir al-Zor on Friday after heavy overnight clashes and the killing of one of President Bashar al-Assad’s top military intelligence officers, activists said.

General Jama’a Jama’a was shot dead on Thursday by snipers in the midst of a battle with rebels including forces linked to al Qaeda, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

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.

    • 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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