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Dec 2, 2013

Syria death toll hits nearly 126,000: monitoring group

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The death toll in Syria’s civil war has risen to at least 125,835, more than a third of them civilians, but the real figure is probably much higher, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Monday.

The pro-opposition monitoring group also appealed to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and “all people in the international community who have a conscience” to increase their efforts to end the 2-1/2 year war.

Nov 26, 2013

Free Syrian Army says no ceasefire for Geneva peace talks

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) said on Tuesday his group would shun a planned peace conference in Switzerland in January and would pursue its fight to topple President Bashar al-Assad regardless.

General Salim Idriss’s stance highlights how hard it will be for international mediators to get Syria’s warring and divided parties to the negotiating table in Geneva.

Nov 26, 2013

Free Syrian Army says no ceasefire for Geneva talks

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) said on Tuesday his group would not join a planned peace conference in Switzerland in January and would pursue its fight to topple President Bashar al-Assad regardless.

General Salim Idriss’s stance highlights how hard it will be for international mediators to get Syria’s warring and divided parties to the negotiating table in Geneva.

Nov 24, 2013

Scores killed as rebels battle to break siege of Damascus suburbs

BEIRUT, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Fierce fighting to the east of
Damascus has killed more than 160 people in the past two days as
Syrian rebels struggle to break a months-long blockade by forces
loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, activists said on Sunday.

It began on Friday when rebel units attacked a string of
military checkpoints encircling the opposition-held suburbs in
an area known as Eastern Ghouta, which has been under siege for
more than six months.

Nov 23, 2013

Islamist rebels capture Syria’s largest oilfield – activists

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamist rebels led by al Qaeda-linked fighters seized Syria’s largest oilfield on Saturday, cutting off President Bashar al-Assad’s access to almost all local crude reserves, activists said.

There was no immediate comment from the government and it was not possible to verify the reports of the capture independently.

Nov 23, 2013

Islamist rebels report capture of largest Syrian oil field

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamist rebels led by al Qaeda-linked fighters seized the largest oil field in eastern Syria on Saturday, activists said, a raid which would cut off President Bashar al-Assad’s access to almost all local crude reserves.

There was no immediate comment from the government. Losing the al-Omar oil field would mean Assad’s forces would be almost completely reliant on imported oil in their highly mechanized military campaign to put down a 2-1/2-year uprising.

Nov 22, 2013

Syria Islamists unite as faction-fighting goes on

AMMAN/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamist fighters in Syria have joined forces to form what may be the biggest rebel army in the country, further undermining Western-backed military commanders and potentially challenging al Qaeda.

The announcement on Friday of a common leadership for the Islamic Front, an amalgam of six major Islamist groups which had earlier declared an intention to merge, coincided with accounts of a battle on the Turkish border between rival Islamists that ended with al Qaeda allies taking control of the town of Atma.

Nov 19, 2013

Two blasts target Iranian embassy in Beirut, kill 18

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Two explosions targeting the Iranian embassy hit the Lebanese capital Beirut on Tuesday killing 18 people and damaging buildings around the embassy compound, medical sources and witnesses said.

It was not immediately clear whether the ambassador or any diplomatic staff were among the victims of the explosions, which took place within minutes of each other. Embassy officials would not comment to Reuters when reached by phone.

Nov 15, 2013

Jordan sees Syria refugee costs soar, vows subsidy reform

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Jordan said on Friday the total cost of hosting Syrian refugees in 2013 and 2014 would exceed $5 billion, more than previously estimated, but vowed to stick with painful economic reforms including the removal of power subsidies.

Finance Minister Umayya Toukan attributed the escalating costs mainly to the need for more infrastructure to alleviate overcrowding in Jordan, now home to more than 600,000 refugees from the civil war in neighbouring Syria according to U.N. data.

Nov 13, 2013

Syrian Kurds make fresh military gains after declaring self-rule

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Kurdish militias seized another seven villages in northeastern Syria, activists said on Wednesday, a day after the fighters’ political wing announced an interim administration that aims to carve out an autonomous Syrian Kurdish region.

Kurds, often described as the world’s largest stateless ethnic group, number about 30 million, concentrated in parts of Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq. While they have had partial autonomy in Iraqi Kurdistan since 1991, nationalist movements have long been suppressed in Turkey, Syria and Iran.

    • 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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