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Aug 23, 2013

Obama says no rush to costly Syria entanglement

BEIRUT (Reuters) – President Barack Obama called the apparent gassing of hundreds of Syrian civilians a “big event of grave concern” but stressed on Friday he was in no rush to embroil Americans in a costly new war.

As opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad braved the frontlines around Damascus to smuggle tissue samples to U.N. inspectors from victims of Wednesday’s mass poisoning, Obama brushed over an interviewer’s reminder that he once called chemical weapons a “red line” that could trigger U.S. action.

Aug 23, 2013

Rebels smuggling Syria chemical weapons strike evidence to U.N. experts

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian activists say they are smuggling out body tissue samples from victims of an alleged chemical weapons attack outside Damascus and are trying to get them to a team of United Nations inspectors staying in a hotel a few miles away.

“The U.N. team spoke with us and since then we prepared samples of hair, skin and blood and smuggled them back into Damascus with trusted couriers,” said activist Abu Nidal, speaking from the town of Arbin.

Aug 23, 2013

U.N. presses Syria to allow gas attack inspection

BEIRUT/PARIS (Reuters) – The United Nations demanded Syria give its chemical weapons experts immediate access on Thursday to rebel-held Damascus suburbs where poison gas appears to have killed hundreds just a few miles from the U.N. team’s hotel.

There was no sign, however, that scientists would soon be taking samples at the scene of horrors that have drawn comparison with the gassing of thousands of Iraqi Kurds at Halabja in 1988.

Aug 22, 2013

West presses Syria to let U.N. team reach “poison gas” scene

BEIRUT/AMMAN (Reuters) – Western powers demanded Syria give U.N. chemical weapons experts immediate access on Thursday to rebel-held Damascus suburbs where poison gas appears to have killed hundreds just a few miles from the U.N. team’s hotel.

There was no sign, however, that they would soon be taking take samples at the scene of horrors that have drawn comparison with the gassing of thousands of Iraqi Kurds at Halabja in 1988.

Aug 21, 2013

Syrians retrieve ‘sleeping’ dead after alleged chemical attack

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The men, women and children lying undisturbed in their beds had looked so peaceful they might have been just sleeping, Abu Nidal thought, as he and other rescuers dragged their bodies into the street.

His was one of many accounts of a massive assault on the eastern suburbs of Damascus that activists say killed more than 500 people on Wednesday morning. They say some of the bombs were loaded with chemical agent, which would make it the worst chemical attack since Syria’s two-year conflict began.

Aug 7, 2013

Tunisia eyes “Egypt scenario” after assembly freeze

TUNIS (Reuters) – The suspension of Tunisia’s transitional parliament could bring the birthplace of the Arab Spring uprisings closer to an “Egyptian scenario” in which the secular opposition topples an Islamist-led government, analysts and politicians say.

The biggest shock to the ruling Ennahda party, the Tunisian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, may be that the latest blow came from one of its own secular allies – a sign of rising polarisation between Islamist and secular forces.

Aug 7, 2013

Analysis: Tunisia eyes ‘Egypt scenario’ after assembly freeze

TUNIS (Reuters) – The suspension of Tunisia’s transitional parliament could bring the birthplace of the Arab Spring uprisings closer to an “Egyptian scenario” in which the secular opposition topples an Islamist-led government, analysts and politicians say.

The biggest shock to the ruling Ennahda party, the Tunisian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, may be that the latest blow came from one of its own secular allies – a sign of rising polarisation between Islamist and secular forces.

Aug 6, 2013

Marginalized poor on Tunis outskirts cling to embattled government

ETTADAMEN, TUNIS (Reuters) – Faisal the repairman doesn’t have time for the anti-government protests shaking the capital 10 kilometers away. Just as before Tunisia’s 2011 revolution, his main preoccupation is keeping food on the table.

The demonstrators on central Tunis’ manicured streets pay lip service to the problems of people like him in the trash-littered streets of Ettadamen suburb, he says, but they never reach out to help.

Aug 5, 2013

Tunisia’s Ennahda chief offers poll to end political crisis

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisia’s ruling Islamist party is willing to go to referendum over whether to preserve transitional governance institutions, the party chief said on Monday, but he stood firm against secular opposition efforts to oust the government.

Rachid Ghannouchi said his Ennahda party was open to dialogue to modify Tunisia’s political transition.

Aug 4, 2013

Thousands rally to support embattled Tunisia government

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tens of thousands of Tunisians came out in a show of force for the country’s Islamist-led government on Saturday, in one of the largest demonstrations since the 2011 revolution.

Supporters of the ruling Ennahda party crowded into Kasbah Square next to the prime minister’s office in the capital, Tunis. Ennahda officials said more than 150,000 attended. Fireworks flashed overhead and red Tunisian flags fluttered over a sea of demonstrators.

    • 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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