Senior Correspondent, Syria
Khaled's Feed
Jul 29, 2013

Al Qaeda group kidnaps Italian priest in Syria: activists

AMMAN (Reuters) – Al Qaeda-linked fighters in a rebel-held eastern Syrian city on Monday abducted a prominent Italian Jesuit priest who championed the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, activists said.

Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant kidnapped father Paolo Dall’Oglio while he was walking in Raqqa, which fell to militant Islamist brigades in March, the sources in Raqqa province told Reuters.

Jul 29, 2013
via FaithWorld

Al Qaeda group kidnaps Italian Jesuit Paolo Dall’Oglio in Syria: activists

Photo

(A medic inspects the damage at Raqqa national hospital, hit by what activists said was a Syrian Air Force fighter jet loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in Raqqa province, eastern Syria June 20, 2013. Picture taken June 20, 2013. REUTERS/Nour Fourat)

Al Qaeda-linked fighters in the rebel-held eastern Syrian city of Raqqa on Monday abducted a prominent Italian Jesuit priest who championed the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, activists said.

Jul 21, 2013

Insight: By relying on Iran, Syria’s Assad risks irrelevance

AMMAN (Reuters) – Military support from Iran and its Shi’ite ally Hezbollah has given Syrian President Bashar al-Assad new impetus in his fight against the insurgents intent on ousting him, but at a price.

Assad now risks losing much of his autonomy to Tehran and becoming a pawn in a wider sectarian war between Sunni Muslims and Shi’ites that may not end even if he is forced to step down, military experts and diplomats in the region say.

Jul 21, 2013

By relying on Iran, Syria’s Assad risks irrelevance

AMMAN, July 21 (Reuters) – Military support from Iran and
its Shi’ite ally Hezbollah has given Syrian President Bashar
al-Assad new impetus in his fight against the insurgents intent
on ousting him, but at a price.

Assad now risks losing much of his autonomy to Tehran and
becoming a pawn in a wider sectarian war between Sunni Muslims
and Shi’ites that may not end even if he is forced to step down,
military experts and diplomats in the region say.

Jul 15, 2013

Assad’s forces advance into rebel-held district of Damascus

AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian troops backed by tanks and artillery moved into a rebel-held district of Damascus on Monday, stepping up efforts to drive opposition fighters from the capital and build on battlefield gains elsewhere in the country, a rebel commander said.

Opposition sources said troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad advanced into the neighborhood of Qaboun after subjecting the Sunni Muslim district to heavy shelling. Two adjacent rebel-held neighborhoods have been under sustained fire in recent weeks to cut off the movement of rebel fighters.

Jul 10, 2013

Syrian rebel sheikh calls for war on Assad’s Alawite heartland

AMMAN (Reuters) – An influential Islamist cleric turned rebel commander urged Syrian insurgents on Wednesday to focus their war on President Bashar al-Assad’s Alawite heartland to create a “balance of terror” and help turn the tide of the conflict.

After seizing large tracts of Syria’s north and east and parts of the center, the rebels – short of heavy weaponry – have struggled to weaken Assad’s grip over most major cities and his western Alawite communal stronghold along the Mediterranean coast that so far has been largely unscathed by the civil war.

Jul 8, 2013

Syrian opposition head expects advanced weapons

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The new head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition said he expected advanced weapons supplied by Saudi Arabia to reach rebel fighters soon, strengthening their currently weak military position.

Ahmad Jarba, who has close links to Saudi Arabia, told Reuters in his first interview since being elected president of the coalition on Saturday that the opposition would not go to a proposed peace conference in Geneva sponsored by the United States and Russia unless its military fortunes improve.

Jul 8, 2013

Syrian opposition head expects advanced weapons to reach rebels

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The new president of the opposition Syrian National Coalition said on Sunday he expected advanced weapons supplied by Saudi Arabia to reach rebel fighters soon and change their military situation, which he described as weak.

Ahmad Jarba, who has close links to Saudi Arabia, told Reuters in the first interview since he was elected president of the coalition on Saturday that the opposition will not go to a proposed peace conference in Geneva sponsored by the United States and Russia unless its military position becomes strong.

Jul 6, 2013

Syrian opposition chooses Saudi-backed leader

ISTANBUL/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria’s fractious opposition elected a new leader on Saturday but rebel groups were reported to be fighting among themselves in a sign of growing divisions on the ground between factions trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

The Syrian National Coalition chose Ahmad Jarba as its president after a close runoff vote that reinforced the influence of Saudi Arabia over a perpetually divided opposition movement that has struggled to convince its Western and Arab allies that its fighters are ready to be given sophisticated foreign weaponry.

Jul 5, 2013

Egypt’s shadow hangs over Syrian opposition

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Syria’s opposition hit deadlock on Friday in talks to elect a new leader, as the toppling of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood dealt a blow to its most influential faction.

The stalemate is preventing the main players in the Syrian National Coalition from reaching a deal acceptable to their Saudi and Qatari backers, who want to strengthen the opposition to counter an onslaught by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Syria’s civil war.