BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria said it reached a deal with the United Nations on Thursday to allow “innocent” civilians to leave the besieged rebel-held old city of Homs, potentially the first positive result after deadlocked peace talks in Switzerland last week.
However, U.N. officials initially declined to comment on the reported deal, and it was not clear whether the offer would come with sufficient guarantees for the safety of those trapped in the besieged area to satisfy aid agencies.
MOSCOW/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Russia said its ally Syria would soon ship more chemical weapons abroad for destruction after being accused of dragging its feet, while activists said civilians in Aleppo were fleeing deadly barrel bomb raids by President Bashar al-Assad’s air force.
Moscow also said on Tuesday that the Syrian government would show up at a new round of peace talks next week, in a bid to allay Western concerns over Assad’s commitment to negotiations which ended inconclusively in Geneva last week.
QAMISHLI, Syria (Reuters) – In the northeast corner of Syria, a pocket of stability is emerging amid the country’s civil war. Here the talk is of building, not bombing.
Local leaders have launched projects to revive normal life and encourage people to stay. They are creating a regional administration, producing cheap fuel, subsidizing seeds for crops and trying to restore electricity to an area that had lost power for nearly 24 hours a day. And so far they are fighting off the forces of both President Bashar al-Assad and the rebels who want to oust him.
MALIKIYA, Syria (Reuters) – Like her five sisters before her, Ahin left school to help her mother at home. Now she’s training to fight.
At a remote Kurdish militia base on the grassy rolling hills near Syria’s border with Iraq, the stocky 19-year-old jumps and crawls with rows of women in olive green fatigues. Their commander barks an order, and they take position and aim their Kalashnikovs.
QAMISHLI, Syria, Jan 22 (Reuters) – In the northeast corner
of Syria, a pocket of stability is emerging amid the country’s
civil war. Here the talk is of building, not bombing.
Local leaders have launched projects to revive normal life
and encourage people to stay. They are creating a regional
administration, producing cheap fuel, subsidising seeds for
crops and trying to restore electricity to an area that had lost
power for nearly 24 hours a day. And so far they are fighting
off the forces of both President Bashar al-Assad and the rebels
who want to oust him.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria’s centrist internal opposition group, which rejects the armed insurgency against President Bashar al-Assad, said on Thursday that it will not attend peace talks in Switzerland next week, in a setback for the negotiations.
Khaled Dahowd, an executive member of the National Coordination Body (NCB), accused Russia and the United States of rushing the conference to promote their own interests in the region, rather than those of the Syrian people.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – An al Qaeda affiliate based in Iraq and Syria has vowed to crush opposition groups it has been confronting in the worst outbreak of infighting among rebels since the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
Heavy fighting between rebels in Syria has killed hundreds of people over the last five days and rattled the al Qaeda-linked faction, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria has started moving chemical weapons materials out of the country in the most crucial phase of an internationally backed disarmament program that has been delayed by war and technical problems.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said on Tuesday that “priority chemical materials” were transported to the port of Latakia and onto a Danish vessel which was now sailing towards international waters.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Mourners chanting anti-Hezbollah slogans laid to rest former Lebanese minister Mohamad Chatah on Sunday after he was killed by a car bomb his allies blame on the powerful Shi’ite group.
Friday’s attack on Chatah, a Sunni who was a vocal critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his Lebanese ally Hezbollah, has once again stoked sectarian enmities exacerbated by the spillover of Syria’s conflict.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian Kurds are demanding their own delegation separate from both the government and opposition at next month’s peace talks in Switzerland aimed at halting the conflict in Syria, Kurdish political leaders said on Thursday.
The Kurds say they need independent representation because their demands in negotiations over Syria’s future are distinct from those of the government or the opposition Syrian National Coalition that seeks to end President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.