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Dec 6, 2012

Chemical scare is a cloak for intervention, says Syria

BEIRUT, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Western powers are whipping up
fear of chemical weapons as a pretext to intervene in Syria,
President Bashar al-Assad’s government said on Thursday, after
several Western countries said they feared Assad might use
poison gas.

“Syria stresses again, for the tenth, the hundredth time,
that if we had such weapons, they would not be used against its
people. We would not commit suicide,” Deputy Foreign Minister
Faisal al Maqdad told Lebanon’s Al Manar television, the voice
of the pro-Assad Hezbollah movement.

Dec 6, 2012

Syria says chemical scare “pretext for intervention”

BEIRUT, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Western powers are whipping up
fears of a fateful move to the use of chemical weapons in
Syria’s civil war as a “pretext for intervention”, President
Bashar al-Assad’s deputy foreign minister said on Thursday.

He spoke as Germany’s cabinet approved stationing Patriot
anti-missile batteries on Turkey’s border with Syria, a step
requiring deployment of NATO troops that Syria fears could
permit imposition of a no-fly zone over its territory.

Dec 5, 2012

Clinton says “desperate” Assad could use chemical arms

BEIRUT/BRUSSELS, Dec 5 (Reuters) – Washington fears a
“desperate” Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could use chemical
weapons as rebels bear down on Damascus, Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton said on Wednesday, repeating a vow to take swift
action if he does.

Rebels fighting to overthrow Assad said they had surrounded
an air base near Damascus, a fresh sign the battle is closing in
on the Syrian capital, a day after NATO agreed to send air
defence missiles to Turkey.

Dec 5, 2012

Syria’s rebels in new effort to unite ranks

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian rebels are trying to restructure their leadership on a country-wide scale, in hopes of gaining foreign funding for their armed revolt against President Bashar al-Assad, opposition sources said on Wednesday.

Final deals over the new structure were still being hammered out late on Wednesday at a secret meeting in Turkey which brought together a diverse array of rebel units long plagued by deep divisions and bitter rivalries that defy coordination.

Dec 5, 2012

NATO missiles to be sent to Turkey, Syria clashes rage

BRUSSELS/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Rebels said on Wednesday they had surrounded an air base near Damascus, a fresh sign of battle closing in the capital a day after NATO drew a line in the sand by agreeing to send air defense missiles to Turkey.

The Western military alliance’s decision to send U.S., German and Dutch Patriot missile batteries to help defend the Turkish border would bring European and U.S. troops to Syria’s frontier for the first time in the 20 month civil war.

Dec 4, 2012

Darkness at noon in the mind of fearful Damascus

BEIRUT (Reuters) – By day, the streets of Syria’s capital are crowded with cars and with shoppers. It looks normal, but it isn’t – by noon, people are planning how to get home before nightfall.

Roads suddenly blocked by the army cause traffic jams. Workers race to quit the office, hit the shops and get home by dark. Dark is when the kidnappers come out to seek new victims, and the clashes raging on the outskirts creep ever closer to the heart of Damascus.

Dec 4, 2012

Syrian spokesman flees country – diplomat

CAIRO/BEIRUT (Reuters) – A Syrian foreign ministry spokesman, who was the most public face of Bashar al-Assad’s government as it battled a 20-month-old uprising, has fled the country, a diplomat in the region said on Monday.

Jihad al-Makdissi, who is in his 40s, previously worked at the Syrian embassy in London and returned to Damascus a year ago to serve as spokesman for the ministry, defending the government’s crackdown on the revolt against Assad’s rule.

Dec 3, 2012

Syrian spokesman flees country, diplomat says

CAIRO/BEIRUT, Dec 3 (Reuters) – A Syrian foreign ministry
spokesman, who was the most public face of Bashar al-Assad’s
government as it battled a 20-month-old uprising, has fled the
country, a diplomat in the region said on Monday.

Jihad al-Makdissi, who is in his 40s, previously worked at
the Syrian embassy in London and returned to Damascus a year ago
to serve as spokesman for the ministry, defending the
government’s crackdown on the revolt against Assad’s rule.

Dec 3, 2012

Syrian government spokesman flees country, diplomat says

CAIRO/BEIRUT, Dec 3 (Reuters) – A Syrian foreign ministry
spokesman, who was the most public face of Bashar al-Assad’s
government as it battled a 20-month-old uprising, has defected
and fled the country, a diplomat in the region said on Monday.

Jihad al-Makdissi, who is in his 40s, previously worked at
the Syrian embassy in London and returned to Damascus a year ago
to serve as spokesman for the ministry, defending the
government’s crackdown on the revolt against Assad’s rule.

Dec 3, 2012

Syria denies plans to use chemical weapons

BEIRUT, Dec 3 (Reuters) – Syria said on Monday it would not
use chemical weapons against its own people after the United
States warned it would take action against any such escalation.

The statements came amid media reports, citing European and
U.S. officials, that Syria’s chemical weapons had been moved and
could be prepared for use in response to dramatic gains by
rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

    • 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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