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Jun 13, 2013

West to discuss aid with Syria rebel leader; insurgents kill Shi’ites

BEIRUT/PARIS (Reuters) – Western officials will meet the commander of the main force fighting President Bashar al-Assad on Saturday to discuss new aid, diplomats said, signaling a new bid to help mainstream rebels and counter the strength of sectarian militias.

Underscoring the West’s fears of an uncontrolled sectarian bloodbath, activists said Sunni insurgent militiamen had killed some 60 Shi’ites in a town in the east of Syria.

Jun 12, 2013

Syrian rebels kill 60 Shi’ites in eastern town: activists

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Sunni Muslim insurgents have killed about 60 Shi’ite Muslims in a rebel-held eastern Syrian town where President Bashar al-Assad’s agents had been trying to recruit and arm fighters for his cause, according to opposition sources on Wednesday.

The attack was another sign of how a revolt that began more than two years ago with peaceful protests against four decades of Assad family rule is descending into sectarian bloodshed.

Jun 7, 2013

U.N. launches record appeal to cover Syria crisis

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The United Nations warned on Friday that half of all Syrians will need humanitarian aid by the end of 2013 and launched what it said was the largest emergency appeal in history to cope with the civil war crisis.

“Syria as a civilization is unraveling,” said the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, announcing the call for some $5 billion before the end of the year.

Jun 5, 2013

Syrian army captures strategic border town of Qusair

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The Syrian army seized control on Wednesday of the strategic border town of Qusair, Syrian media and security sources said, in a major advance for President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in the country’s two-year civil war.

Rebels said they had pulled out of Qusair, which lies on a cross-border supply route with neighbouring Lebanon and where they had fought fierce battles with government forces and Hezbollah guerrillas for more than two weeks.

Jun 4, 2013

No safe way out as Syrian forces grind down besieged Qusair

BEIRUT/GENEVA (Reuters) – As Syrian government forces try to grind down rebel resistance in the besieged town of Qusair, trapped civilians have had to choose between sheltering from the bombs or risking a 100 km hike to safety.

“Qusair itself is described as a ghost town, heavily damaged and filled with the sound of bombs. People are hiding in bunkers or, even worse, in holes that they’ve dug. One woman told us that she spent, with her children, one week inside a hole that was dug into the ground,” UNHCR chief spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told a U.N. briefing in Geneva.

May 31, 2013

Moscow suggests missiles have yet to reach Assad

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Thursday Moscow was still committed to sending him advanced anti-aircraft weapons, although a source close to the Russian defense ministry said the missiles had yet to arrive.

The prospect of the missiles arriving is a serious worry for Western and regional countries opposing Assad which have called on Moscow not to send them.

May 30, 2013

Besieged Syria rebels seek help, Assad eyes missiles

BEIRUT, May 30 (Reuters) – Syrian rebels under siege near
the Lebanese border pleaded for help on Thursday against
government troops and their Hezbollah allies as a confident
President Bashar al-Assad spoke of having new Russian missiles.

Though Moscow contradicted suggestions he had taken delivery
of an entire, long-range S-300 anti-aircraft system which alarms
Israel, Russia’s plan to send them highlighted the international
confrontation brewing over Syria, even as Moscow and Washington
work together for a peace conference between the warring sides.

May 30, 2013

Syria rebels plead for aid in strategic Qusair, Damascus

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian rebels pleaded for military and medical aid in the embattled border town of Qusair on Thursday, saying they were unable to evacuate hundreds of wounded under an onslaught from government forces backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters.

President Bashar al-Assad launched an offensive to capture Qusair two weeks ago in what many see as a bid to link territory from the capital Damascus up to his Alawite community heartland on the Mediterranean coast.

May 30, 2013

Besieged Syria rebels plead for help, Assad confident

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian rebels under siege in a town near the Lebanese border issued a desperate appeal on Thursday for reinforcements and medical supplies as government troops and Lebanese guerrillas pounded their defences.

Alongside a military offensive on Qusair and rebel-held Damascus suburbs, President Bashar al-Assad tried to drive home diplomatic advantage; he highlighted his foreign alliances in announcing the arrival of anti-aircraft missiles from Russia and militia from Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and declared his willingness to attend a Geneva peace conference with his squabbling opponents.

May 30, 2013

Syrian rebels plead for help as army bombards strategic Qusair

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian rebels pleaded for military and medical aid in the embattled border town of Qusair on Thursday, saying they were unable to evacuate hundreds of wounded under an onslaught from government forces backed by Lebanese Hezbollah fighters.

President Bashar al-Assad launched an offensive to capture Qusair two weeks ago in what many see as a bid to cement a hold on territory from the capital Damascus up to his Alawite community heartland on the Mediterranean coast.

    • About Erika

      "I am a correspondent based in Dubai, where I focus mainly on political and general news in the UAE and the greater Arab Gulf region. I previously worked for Reuters in the Palestinian territories."
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