Deputy Bureau Chief Lebanon, Syria & Jordan
Mariam's Feed
Mar 28, 2015

Islamist groups seize Syrian city Idlib for first time

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamist groups including al Qaeda’s Nusra Front have seized the city of Idlib for the first time in Syria’s civil war, fighters and a monitoring group said on Saturday.

By taking Idlib, capital of a northwestern province of the same name, hardline Islamist insurgents now control a second province after Raqqa, the stronghold of the Islamic State group which has been the target of U.S.-led air strikes.

Mar 28, 2015

Islamist insurgents take parts of Syria’s Idlib city

BEIRUT, March 28 (Reuters) – Islamist groups including al
Qaeda’s Nusra Front have seized major parts of Syria’s city of
Idlib for the first time since the conflict in the country
began, fighters and a monitoring group said on Saturday.

Syrian state television said the army was engaged in fierce
fighting and have managed to halt the insurgents advances on the
northern, eastern and southern sides of the city.

Mar 23, 2015

Islamic State moves west to attack Syrian army in Homs: monitor

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters attacked a military airport in Syria’s Homs province on Monday as they pressed a westward offensive against government strongholds, a monitoring group said.

Forays by Islamic State, which is strongest in the northeast and east, into the provinces of Homs, Hama and even Damascus pose a fresh challenge for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Mar 18, 2015

U.S. loses drone over Syria, which claims to have brought it down

WASHINGTON/BEIRUT (Reuters) – The United States lost one of its Predator drone aircraft over northwest Syria on Tuesday, U.S. officials said, as Syrian state media reported its air defenses brought down the spy plane in the government-controlled Latakia province.

If Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces took down the U.S. aircraft – something U.S. officials said was not immediately certain – it would raise the stakes in the U.S.-led bombing campaign against Islamic State militants that began in Syria in late September.

Mar 6, 2015

Future of Syria’s Nusra Front in question after commander killed

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Al Qaeda’s Syrian branch was left reeling on Friday after its military chief was killed in an apparent army air strike, adding to confusion over the future path of the most powerful group opposing both President Bashar al-Assad and Islamic State.

Abu Humam al-Shami, who trained in Afghanistan alongside plotters of the Sept. 11 2001 attacks on the United States and whose Nusra Front controls wide parts of northwestern Syria, was killed by an explosion at a meeting of commanders on Thursday in Idlib province.

Mar 6, 2015

Blast in Syria kills top al Qaeda commander, three others

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Al Qaeda’s official Syrian wing, the Nusra Front, announced on Thursday the death of its top military commander, who insurgent sources said fell victim to a blast targeting a high-level militant meeting.

General Military Commander Abu Humam al-Shami, a veteran of Islamist militant fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, was the senior-most member of the group to die in the Syria war, an insurgent source said.

Mar 5, 2015

Blast in Syria kills top al Qaeda commander

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Al Qaeda’s official Syrian wing, the Nusra Front, announced on Thursday the death of its top military commander, who insurgent sources said fell victim to a blast targeting a high-level militant meeting.

General Military Commander Abu Humam al-Shami, a veteran of Islamist militant fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, was the senior-most member of the group to die in the Syria war, an insurgent source said.

Mar 4, 2015

Syria’s Nusra Front may leave Qaeda to form new entity

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Leaders of Syria’s Nusra Front are considering cutting their links with al Qaeda to form a new entity backed by some Gulf states trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad, sources said.

Sources within and close to Nusra said that Qatar, which enjoys good relations with the group, is encouraging the group to go ahead with the move, which would give Nusra a boost in funding.

Mar 4, 2015

Insight – Syria’s Nusra Front may leave Qaeda to form new entity

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Leaders of Syria’s Nusra Front are considering cutting their links with al Qaeda to form a new entity backed by some Gulf states trying to topple President Bashar al-Assad, sources said.

Sources within and close to Nusra said that Qatar, which enjoys good relations with the group, is encouraging the group to go ahead with the move, which would give Nusra a boost in funding.

Feb 27, 2015

Islamic State under pressure as Kurds take Syrian town

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Kurdish forces dealt a blow to Islamic State by capturing an important town on Friday in the latest stage of a powerful offensive in northeast Syria, a Kurdish militia spokesman said.

Islamic State has been forced into retreat across parts of the strategic region, a land bridge between territory it controls in Syria and Iraq, even as its fighters have mounted new raids this week on Assyrian Christian villages, abducting more than 200 people.

    • About Mariam

      "Currently based in Beirut, Lebanon. Have done stints in Cairo and Dubai.Have been Reuters Deputy Bureau chief in Iraq from 2005-2008. Have also worked in london on several desks including equities and energy. Currently my responsibilities are: Run the cluster while bureau chief is away. Anchor stories from Amman and Damascus when required Write wraps, trunks and analyses Conduct interviews with major political and financial players Ensure Reuters News dominates top stories, timings and exclusives"
    • Follow Mariam