BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian security forces pounded opposition areas across the country on Monday, activists said, adding that at least 23 people had been killed in clashes they say have escalated since international observers suspended their mission.
Activists said artillery had targeted Douma, a town 15 km (9.3 miles) outside the capital Damascus. The town has for weeks been under the partial control of rebels who have joined the 15-month-old revolt against President Bashar al-Assad.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon risks being sucked into a worsening spiral of violence that has already begun to spill over from neighboring Syria unless its deeply divided leaders set aside their disputes, Interior Minister Marwan Charbel said.
The situation was so tense that the tiny Arab Mediterranean country could not afford the luxury of internal disputes, including a row over disarming the Shi’ite movement Hezbollah, and needed to agree to set them aside for now, he added.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Rebels in Syria’s embattled western town of Haffeh said on Tuesday they were struggling to smuggle out civilians trapped in fierce fighting that has drawn international condemnation.
Three fighters contacted by phone said that hundreds of rebels who have joined the 15-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad are fighting a tank and helicopter-backed assault on their district, tucked among rugged mountains near Syria’s Mediterranean coast.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Eighteen people, including 12 women and children, were killed overnight by shelling in the Syrian town of Deraa, where the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad erupted 15 months ago, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Saturday.
Fighting was also reported in Damascus, Homs and other cities, killing 33 people overall on Saturday, the group said, showing neither side was respecting a U.N.-backed ceasefire, the failure of which has left outside powers divided on what to do next.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – The smell of burnt flesh hung in the air and body parts lay scattered around the deserted Syrian hamlet of Mazraat al-Qubeir on Friday, U.N. monitors said after visiting the site where 78 people were reported massacred two days ago.
The alleged killing spree on Wednesday underlined how little outside powers, divided and pursuing their own interests in the Middle East, have been able to do to stop increasing carnage in the 15-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.N. monitors entered the Syrian hamlet of Mazraat al-Qubeir on Friday, where up to 78 people were reported killed in cold blood two days earlier and a BBC correspondent with them said it was clear a “terrible crime” had taken place.
“It was an appalling scene,” said the correspondent, Paul Danahar. “What we didn’t find were any bodies of people. What we did find were tracks on the tarmac (that) the U.N. said looked like armoured personnel carriers or tanks.”
BEIRUT/UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – U.N. monitors came under fire in Syria on Thursday while trying to investigate reports of a new massacre that raised the pressure on world powers struggling to halt the carnage and save a peace plan from collapse.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described as “unspeakable barbarity” the reported killing of at least 78 villagers by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and warned that a civil war was imminent.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Six hours after tanks and militiamen pulled out of Mazraat al-Qubeir, a Syrian farmer said he returned to find only charred bodies among the shouldering homes of his once-tranquil hamlet.
“There was smoke rising from the buildings and a horrible smell of human flesh burning,” said a man who told how he had watched Syrian troops and “shabbiha” gunmen attack his village as he hid in his family olive grove.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.N. monitors tried on Thursday to check reports of a massacre of at least 78 villagers by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad – killings that prompted another U.S. demand for the Syrian leader to cede power and leave the country.
Opposition activists said up to 40 women and children were among the dead in Mazraat al-Qubeir, near Hama, on Wednesday, posting film on the Internet of bloodied or charred bodies.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s tourism minister said the crucial summer tourism season would not be badly damaged by growing domestic unrest and turmoil in neighbouring Syria, and forecast revenues this year of about $7 billion, similar to last year.
Fadi Abboud shrugged off concern that tourism could take a heavy hit and said he expected 1.8 million visitors this year, despite an almost complete absence of overland travellers.