BEIRUT (Reuters) – Pope Benedict urged Middle Eastern Christians on Sunday to work for peace and against “the grim trail of death and destruction” in the world, in a sermon delivered in Lebanon as civil war raged in neighboring Syria.
Benedict was speaking at an open-air Mass on Beirut’s Mediterranean seafront attended by 350,000 worshippers, according to the organizers’ estimate, and leaders of Lebanon’s Christian and Muslim communities including from militant Shi’ite group Hezbollah.
BEIRUT, Sept 15 (Reuters) – Pope Benedict urged multi-faith
Lebanon on Saturday to be a model of religious peace for the
Middle East, as a civil war raged in neighbouring Syria,
deepening sectarian divisions.
“Lebanon is called, now more than ever, to be an example,”
he told political and religious leaders on the second day of a
visit that coincided with violent protests across the Muslim
world against a U.S.-made film insulting Islam.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Pope Benedict appealed on Friday for a halt to the flow of arms into Syria, saying it would help end a civil war which has killed many thousands of people and which Christians fear could bring Islamists to power.
In his strongest comments yet on the conflict, Benedict branded the weapons imports as a “grave sin” as he arrived at the start of a three-day visit to Beirut, just 50 km (30 miles) from the Syrian border.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in Syria’s capital on Thursday as state forces pounded its eastern outskirts to flush out rebels trying to retain a foothold in Damascus.
Brahimi’s mission is a challenging one as neither side in the rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad seems ready to put down arms. Nor does Brahimi enjoy the necessary support from divided world and Middle East powers.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – A powerful Shi’ite Muslim clan handed over a Turkish hostage to Lebanese security forces on Monday, freeing a man believed to be the only remaining captive among more than 20 people abducted by the group last month.
The armed wing of Lebanon’s Meqdad clan kidnapped Turkish businessman Aydin Tufan Tekin in mid-August along with a group of Syrian men. The hostages were taken in retaliation for the abduction of a Meqdad relative in Damascus, seized by rebels trying to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian forces bombarded a crowded Palestinian refugee district in Damascus on Friday, killing at least 10 people according to residents, while other parts of the city were rocked by apparent rebel bomb attacks.
The main focus of the fighting is now in the economic center, Aleppo, but rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad continue to attack government forces and buildings in the capital.
ALEPPO, Syria (Reuters) – President Bashar al-Assad told his troops on Wednesday that their battle against rebels would decide Syria’s fate, but his written message gave no clues to his whereabouts two weeks after a bomb attack on his inner circle.
In Aleppo, rebel fighters seized three police stations while fighting the army for control of a strategically important district. Explosions could be heard and helicopter gunships cruised the skies as troops tried to push the rebels out of the northern city and preserve one of Assad’s main centers of power.
ALEPPO, Syria, Aug 1 (Reuters) – At the frontline of the
battle for Aleppo, the ancient citadel is tantalisingly close
for Syrian rebels.
As they push towards the centre of Syria’s biggest city,
they can see the crumbling stone walls of the 800-year-old
fortress perched on a dry, grassy hill just 200 metres away.
AZAZ/ALEPPO, Syria (Reuters) – Rebel fighter Ahmed chuckles as he tells the story of the Syrian army sniper who was captured and executed by rebels, shot dead after a “trial” conducted at his own graveside.
He says Rami the sniper, firing from a high minaret at the local mosque, killed many rebels and civilians before he was seized by fighters from Ahmed’s Amr bin al-Aas brigade which operates around the northern Syrian town of Azaz.
ALEPPO, Syria (Reuters) – Abdelrahman left school at 17 to join the Syrian rebels in Aleppo. His parents never heard he had reached the city until they got the call to pick up his body.
By evening, his father was in the city, standing on a hillside crammed with white tombstones and fresh graves. Abdelrahman’s comrades used their bare hands to seal his final resting place, their clothes stained with mud and the boy’s blood.