Senior Correspondent, Syria
Khaled's Feed
May 26, 2013

Syrian opposition struggles for unity as battle rages

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Syria’s opposition resumed talks on Saturday aimed at closing their fractious ranks, as government forces launched a fierce onslaught on a rebel-held border town to try to gain the upper hand in the civil war.

A failure of the opposition to unite could weaken the hand of Russia and the United States, co-sponsors of a proposed peace conference on the war, which has killed 80,000 and threatens to spill over borders and whip up wider sectarian violence.

May 25, 2013

Syrian opposition resumes unity talks key to peace conference

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Syria’s opposition resumed talks on Saturday aimed at creating a coherent front crucial to a proposed international peace conference, struggling under Western and Arab pressure to close their fractious ranks and elect a viable leadership.

Failure of the opposition to unite could weaken the hand of conference co-sponsors Russia and the United States in ending Syria’s civil war, which has killed 80,000 people and threatens to spill across borders and whip up wider sectarian conflict.

May 25, 2013

Syria opposition unity talks face spectre of collapse

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Syrian opposition talks aimed at presenting a coherent front at an international peace conference to end the civil war faced the prospect of collapse after President Bashar al-Assad’s foes failed to cut an internal deal, opposition sources said on Friday.

The failure of the Syrian National Coalition to alter its Islamist-dominated membership as demanded by its international backers and replace a leadership undermined by power struggles is playing into the hands of Assad, whose forces are attacking a key town as his ally Russia said he would send representatives to the conference, coalition insiders said.

May 25, 2013

Syria opposition seeks to unify as momentum for talks builds

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Syria’s fractious opposition scrambled to agree a new leadership on Friday in a bid to present a coherent front at peace talks which the United States and Russia are convening to seek an end to more than two years of civil war.

A major assault by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces on a rebel held town over the past week is shaping into a pivotal battle. It has drawn in fighters from Assad’s Lebanese allies Hezbollah, justifying fears that a war that has killed 80,000 people would cross borders at the heart of the Middle East.

May 24, 2013

Syria opposition struggles to forge transition plan before talks

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Syria’s divided opposition leaders have failed to back a plan by their outgoing leader for President Bashar al-Assad to cede power gradually to end the country’s civil war, highlighting the obstacles to international peace talks expected next month.

The 16-point plan proposed by Moaz Alkhatib, who resigned as head of the Western-backed opposition National Coalition in March, urges Assad to hand power to his deputy or prime minister and then go abroad with 500 members of his entourage.

May 23, 2013

Syrian opposition scrambles to save credibility ahead of peace talks

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The Syrian opposition in exile met on Thursday to decide whether to attend a peace conference that the United States and Russia see as a crucial path to ending two years of civil war.

Under international pressure to swiftly resolve internal divisions, the Syrian National Coalition began talks in Istanbul to elect a coherent leadership and decide on the conference which could take place in Geneva in the coming weeks.

May 21, 2013

Hezbollah in big Syria battle, Obama “concerned”

AMMAN/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas have fought their biggest battle yet for Syria’s beleaguered president, prompting international alarm that the civil war may spread and an urgent call for restraint from the United States.

About 30 Hezbollah fighters were killed on Sunday, Syrian activists said, along with 20 Syrian troops and militiamen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad during the fiercest fighting this year in the rebel stronghold of Qusair, near the Lebanon border.

May 20, 2013

Hezbollah suffers big losses in Syria battle: activists

AMMAN (Reuters) – About 30 Lebanese Hezbollah fighters and 20 Syrian soldiers and militiamen loyal to President Bashar al-Assad have been killed in the fiercest fighting this year in the rebel stronghold of Qusair, Syrian activists said on Monday.

If confirmed, the Hezbollah toll from Sunday’s battles in Qusair near the Lebanese border would highlight a deepening intervention in Syria by the guerrilla group set up by Iran in the 1980s to fight Israeli occupation troops in south Lebanon.

May 19, 2013

Outlook dim as Syria diplomacy gathers force

AMMAN/LONDON (Reuters) – The world’s diplomats will make a major new push in the coming days for negotiations to end Syria’s civil war, but their chances of achieving a peace deal look as remote as ever.

President Bashar al-Assad poured scorn on new plans for peace talks announced unexpectedly by the United States and Russia two weeks ago and planned for Geneva in early June.

May 19, 2013

Hezbollah steps up Syria battle, Israel threatens more strikes

AMMAN (Reuters) – Lebanese Hezbollah militants attacked a Syrian rebel-held town alongside Syrian troops on Sunday and Israel threatened more attacks on Syria to rein the militia in, highlighting the risks of a wider regional conflict if planned peace talks fail.

Activists said it was the fiercest fighting in Syria’s two year-old civil war involving Hezbollah, a Shi’ite group backed by Iran which they said appeared to be helping President Bashar al-Assad secure a vital corridor in case Syria fragments.