AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian rebels and activists say they fear President Bashar al-Assad’s troops could resort to wider use of chemical weapons, unless the United States follows up on its pledge of military support with firm and swift action.
After months of equivocating, President Barack Obama’s administration said on Thursday it would arm rebels, having obtained proof the Syrian government used chemical weapons against fighters trying to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
AMMAN/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad are massing around Aleppo in preparation for an offensive to retake the city and build on battlefield gains that have swung the momentum of Syria’s war to Assad and his Hezbollah allies.
Rebels reported signs of large numbers of Shi’ite Muslim fighters flowing in from Iraq to help Assad end the civil war that has killed at least 80,000 people and forced 1.6 million Syrians to flee abroad.
AMMAN (Reuters) – Fighting is intensifying in northern Syria, where rebels say President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies are preparing an offensive after success last week in seizing a strategic town further south.
The capture by Assad’s forces and Hezbollah of the town of Qusair, which controls vital supply routes across Syrian and with Lebanon, is a sign of reversing momentum after the rebels seized swathes of the country in the second half of last year.
AMSTERDAM/AMMAN (Reuters) – Syria, defeated by Israel in three wars and afraid its arch enemy had gained a nuclear arsenal, began in earnest to build a covert chemical weapons program three decades ago, aided by its neighbors, allies and European chemical wholesalers.
Damascus lacked the technology and scientific capacity to set up a program on its own, but with backing from foreign allies it amassed what is believed to be one of the deadliest stockpiles of nerve agent in the world, Western military experts said.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Syria’s opposition cast doubt on Friday on hopes of any meaningful progress in planned international peace talks after President Bashar al-Assad said only a referendum could decide whether he should leave power.
Russia and the United States are trying to draw Assad’s representatives and his opponents into a conference in Geneva on forming a transitional government in an effort to end a civil war that has killed more than 80,000 people.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Syria’s opposition, under pressure to broaden its Islamist-dominated leadership, struggled to overcome deep rifts on Thursday and form a united front for a proposed international conference to try to end the Syrian civil war.
Delegates at inconclusive talks in Istanbul agreed to add 14 named members of a liberal bloc led by veteran figure Michel Kilo to the 60-member assembly of the Syrian National Coalition, the closest body that President Bashar al-Assad’s foes have to an overall civilian leadership in the two-year-old uprising.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Syria’s opposition, under pressure to broaden its Islamist-dominated leadership, struggled to overcome deep rifts on Thursday and form a united front for a proposed international conference to try to end the Syrian war.
Delegates at talks in Istanbul agreed to add 14 members of a liberal bloc led by veteran figure Michel Kilo to the 60-member assembly of the Syrian National Coalition, the closest body that Assad’s foes have to an overall civilian leadership in the two-year-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Syria’s divided opposition, under heavy pressure to shake up its Islamist-dominated ranks, struck a deal on Thursday to present a more representative image to the world before a proposed international peace conference.
Delegates at talks in Istanbul agreed to admit a liberal bloc led by veteran figure Michel Kilo into the Syrian National Coalition, which acts as the civilian opposition leadership in the two-year conflict with the Damascus government.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The Syrian opposition said on Wednesday it would only take part in planned international peace talks if a deadline was set for a settlement that forces President Bashar al-Assad to leave power.
In its first official reaction to the Geneva conference being prepared by the United States and Russia, the opposition coalition adopted a declaration calling for “binding international guarantees” for any resolution of Syria’s two-year-old conflict.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Opposition groups on the ground in Syria slammed their counterparts in exile for undermining the rebellion and lacking legitimacy, laying bare chronic divisions among the foes of President Bashar al-Assad ahead of a planned peace conference.
A meeting of the exiled National Coalition members in Turkey has so far failed to agree to attend the Geneva conference, provisionally planned for June, or who should represent them, and is deadlocked over Western-backed proposals to widen its membership.