Senior Correspondent, Syria
Khaled's Feed
Oct 27, 2013

Kurdish militants tighten grip on Syria’s northeast

AMMAN (Reuters) – Kurdish militants moved on Sunday to consolidate their control of an oil-producing region in northeastern Syria after seizing a border crossing with Iraq from Islamist rebels, activists said.

Militia linked to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought the government of neighboring Turkey for decades, were clearing pockets of resistance of the al Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, al-Nusra Front, and Ahrar al-Sham in the border town of Yarubiya, Syrian opposition sources said.

Oct 11, 2013

Syrian army retakes two Damascus suburbs from rebels: activists

AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian army troops and Shi’ite militia fighters loyal to President Bashar al-Assad captured two southern suburbs of Damascus on Friday, killing at least 70 people, opposition activists said.

The fighters, including some from the Lebanese Shi’ite movement Hezbollah and Iraqi Shi’ites backed by Syrian army tanks, searched al-Thiabiya and Husseiniya, a Palestinian refugee camp, for pockets of resistance after overrunning them, the sources said.

Oct 10, 2013

Sunni rebels, Shi’ite militia clash near Damascus shrine

AMMAN (Reuters) – Fighting flared on Thursday between Syrian Sunni rebels and foreign militias near a main Shi’ite shrine on the southern edge of Damascus, opposition activists said, in an increasingly internationalized conflict deepening Middle East sectarian faultlines.

Heavy clashes were reported as rebels fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, whose Alawite sect is an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam, attacked Lebanese Hezbollah and Iraqi Shi’ite militia based in the Saida Zainab suburb of Damascus with mortar bombs and automatic weapons, the sources said.

Oct 9, 2013

Hezbollah, Iraqi militia capture Damascus suburb: opposition

AMMAN (Reuters) – Iraqi and Lebanese Shi’ite militia backed by Syrian army firepower overran a southern suburb of Damascus on Wednesday, opposition activists said, in a blow to Sunni Muslim rebels trying to hold onto strategic outskirts of the capital.

At least 20 rebels were killed when Hezbollah guerrillas and Iraqi militiamen captured the town of Sheikh Omar under cover of Syrian army artillery and tank fire and aerial bombardment, the activists said, with tens of Shi’ite fighters killed or wounded.

Oct 1, 2013

Saudi Arabia boosts Salafist rivals to al Qaeda in Syria

AMMAN (Reuters) – Alarmed by the rise of al Qaeda in Syria, Saudi Arabia is trying to strengthen rival Islamists with ties to Riyadh and this week helped engineer a consolidation of rebel groups around Damascus under a Saudi-backed leader.

That might bolster the opposition militarily as President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have been pushing back, but it also underlines al Qaeda’s expansion in Syria – and the proliferation of splits among Assad’s enemies, just as world powers are trying to corral them into talks with his government.

Oct 1, 2013

Insight: Saudi Arabia boosts Salafist rivals to al Qaeda in Syria

AMMAN (Reuters) – Alarmed by the rise of al Qaeda in Syria, Saudi Arabia is trying to strengthen rival Islamists with ties to Riyadh and this week helped engineer a consolidation of rebel groups around Damascus under a Saudi-backed leader.

That might bolster the opposition militarily as President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have been pushing back, but it also underlines al Qaeda’s expansion in Syria – and the proliferation of splits among Assad’s enemies, just as world powers are trying to corral them into talks with his government.

Sep 26, 2013

Arabs battle Syrian Kurds as Assad’s foes fragment

AMMAN, Sept 26 (Reuters) – Syrian rebels and al Qaeda-linked
fighters clashed with Kurds in northern Syria on Thursday,
activists said, in a battle for territory highlighting the
country’s descent towards sectarian and ethnic fiefdoms after
two years of war.

The heavy fighting in the town of Atma on the border with
Turkey’s Hatay province followed outbreaks of internecine
conflict by rival rebel forces elsewhere, which have undermined
their military campaign to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

Sep 25, 2013

Al Qaeda, Kurdish militia clash on Syrian border with Turkey

AMMAN (Reuters) – Seven al Qaeda-affiliated rebels were killed in a battle with a Syrian Kurdish militia on Wednesday, as violence between Syria’s Arabs and Kurds increased, opposition activists said.

The fighting in Atma, a town on the Turkish border which is a main escape route for refugees fleeing the civil war, shows how the region has become a battleground for a myriad of armed groups in a scramble to grab territory, opposition sources said.

Sep 22, 2013

Syrian opposition group says willing to attend Geneva talks

AMMAN (Reuters) – The head of the Syrian National Coalition has said the group is ready to attend a proposed Geneva conference to end the civil war, if the talks aim to establish a transitional government.

It was the first clear commitment by the Western- and Arab-backed coalition to attend the proposed conference, but other opposition voices, including rebels inside Syria, said they were against talks as long as Bashar al-Assad remains president.

Sep 20, 2013

Insight: Angered by chemical deal, Syrian rebels may lose the West

AMMAN (Reuters) – The Syrian opposition feels badly let down by Washington’s decision to do a deal with Moscow to eliminate Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons but diplomats are warning the Syrian National Coalition that it risks losing Western support if it cannot adapt to new realities.

The rift that has alienated the Syrian opposition from the United States threatens to derail international efforts to end the two and a half year civil war, diplomatic and opposition sources said.