Deputy Bureau Chief Lebanon, Syria & Jordan
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May 24, 2015

Hezbollah says it will step up presence in Syria as needed

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Hezbollah is fighting across all of Syria alongside the army of President Bashar al-Assad and is willing to increase its presence there when needed, the leader of the Lebanese Shi’ite movement said on Sunday.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah told thousands of supporters via video link that the fight was part of a wider strategy to prevent groups like al Qaeda’s wing in Syria, Nusra Front, and the ultra-hardline Islamic State from taking over the region.

May 24, 2015

Syria says Islamic State executes hundreds in Palmyra

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters have executed at least 400 people in Palmyra since capturing the ancient Syrian city four days ago, Syrian state media said on Sunday.

It was not immediately possible to verify the account, but it was consistent with reports by activists that the Islamist fighters had carried out executions since capturing the city from government troops.

May 19, 2015

Insight – Islamic State learns lessons from U.S. raid: jihadist sources

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A U.S. special forces raid against an Islamic State leader in Syria caught the jihadist group off guard, killing not only the declared target, but also two other important figures, jihadist sources in Syria said.

The sources said a spy must have infiltrated the movement and passed on vital information that helped the U.S. commandos zero in on the home of their victim early Saturday when most of the guards had left to join a battle elsewhere.

May 19, 2015

Islamic State learns lessons from U.S. raid: jihadist sources

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A U.S. special forces raid against an Islamic State leader in Syria caught the jihadist group off guard, killing not only the declared target, but also two other important figures, jihadist sources in Syria said.

The sources said a spy must have infiltrated the movement and passed on vital information that helped the U.S. commandos zero in on the home of their victim early Saturday when most of the guards had left to join a battle elsewhere.

May 19, 2015

Insurgents seize army base, tighten grip in Syria’s Idlib province

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Insurgents seized an army base in northwestern Syria from the military on Tuesday, compounding a series of setbacks for President Bashar al-Assad at the hands of rebel groups believed to have received extra backing from his regional enemies.

The capture came as a top aide to Iran’s leader met Assad in Damascus and underlined firm Iranian support as the Syrian government faces mounting pressure from insurgents in a four-year-old civil war.

May 19, 2015

Top aide to Iran’s leader meets Syria’s Assad, pledges support

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A top aide to Iran’s leader met Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday, footage on Syrian state television showed, underlining firm Iranian support for Damascus as it faces mounting pressure from insurgents in a four-year-old civil war.

The meeting came as insurgents in Idlib province seized an army base from the Syrian military, expanding their grip in the northwest of the country, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

May 14, 2015

Islamic State issues audio of Baghdadi calling supporters to join him

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State issued an audio recording on Thursday that it said was by its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, calling on supporters around the world to join the fight in Syria and Iraq or to take up arms wherever they live.

It was Baghdadi’s first message since a number of media reports said that he was wounded earlier this year in Iraq. Some said that he was no longer running the group and others suggested he had even died.

May 5, 2015

Hezbollah says will attack Nusra Front inside Syria

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Hezbollah’s leader said on Tuesday his Lebanon-based militant group will launch an attack inside Syria against al Qaeda-linked insurgents in the mountain region along the countries’ border.

Local media and Syrian opposition have speculated that such an assault could start within days in the Qalamoun area, and Hezbollah fighters clashed with gunmen from the same Syria-based insurgent group, Nusra Front, in a different border zone on Tuesday.

Apr 29, 2015

World Bank plans help for regions in Iraq recaptured from Islamic State

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The World Bank is seeking to finance development projects in areas in Iraq that the government has recaptured from Islamic State militants, its regional vice president said.

Hafez Ghanem also said he would meet with Iraqi officials and discuss ways to help the government tackle a budget deficit caused by a drop in oil revenues when he visits Iraq this week.

Apr 25, 2015

Islamist fighters seize Syria’s Jisr al-Shughour, army says redeploys

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamist insurgents including al-Qaeda’s wing in Syria, Nusra Front, captured the northwestern Syrian town of Jisr al-Shughour on Saturday, for the first time in the four-year-old conflict.

Syrian state media said the army had redeployed to the town’s surroundings “to avoid civilian casualties”. They said the army was battling “a large number of terrorists coming from the Turkish border.”

    • 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"
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