Deputy Bureau Chief Lebanon, Syria & Jordan
Mariam's Feed
Oct 20, 2015

Three Russians killed in Syria: pro-government source

BEIRUT (Reuters) – At least three Russians fighting alongside Syrian government forces were killed and several more wounded when a shell hit their position in the coastal province of Latakia, a senior pro-government military source said on Tuesday.

If confirmed, the deaths which occurred on Monday night would be the first known incident of Russians killed in Syria since Moscow began air strikes in support of President Bashar al-Assad on September 30.

Oct 19, 2015

Relief trucks enter besieged Syrian towns – ICRC and sources

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Trucks loaded with humanitarian aid entered four besieged Syrian towns and villages as part of a deal agreed last month between Syria’s warring sides with U.N. help, local sources and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Sunday.

A total of eight trucks carrying food and medical aid entered the Shi’ite towns of Kefraya and al-Foua, under rebel siege in Idlib province in northwest Syria.

Oct 18, 2015

Relief trucks enter besieged Syrian towns: sources

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Several trucks loaded with humanitarian aid entered four besieged Syrian towns and villages as part of a deal agreed last month between Syria’s warring sides with U.N. help, sources said on Sunday.

A total of eight trucks carrying food and medical aid entered the Shi’ite towns of Kefraya and al-Foua, under rebel siege in Idlib province in northwest Syria.

Oct 16, 2015

Turkey downs drone as Syria launches Aleppo offensive

BEIRUT/ANKARA, Oct 16 (Reuters) – Turkey shot down a drone
on Friday in an incident highlighting the dangers of the
multiple air combat operations over Syria, where government
troops and their allies launched an offensive against rebels
near Aleppo, backed by Russian jets.

The army offensive south of the city, backed by Hezbollah
and Iranian fighters, further expands its 10-day-old
counter-attack in western Syria against insurgents battling to
overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

Oct 16, 2015

Syrian army launches Aleppo offensive with Iranian support

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian troops backed by Hezbollah and Iranian fighters launched an offensive south of Aleppo on Friday, expanding their counter-attack against rebels across western Syria with support from Russian air strikes.

The assault means the army is now pressing insurgents on several fronts near Syria’s main cities in the west, control of which would secure President Bashar al-Assad’s hold on power even if the east of the country is still held by Islamic State.

Oct 12, 2015

Islamic State can draw on veteran jihadists, ex-Iraq army officers for leadership

CAIRO/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, one of the world’s most wanted men, is counting on veteran jihadis and former Iraqi army officers who form the core of the militant movement to take over if he is killed.

New questions arose over Islamic State’s leadership structure and who might succeed Baghdadi after Iraq’s military said on Sunday air strikes had hit a convoy carrying him, though Iraqi security officials later denied this.

Sep 25, 2015

Hezbollah welcomes Russian buildup in Syria, says U.S. has failed

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanese Shi’ite group Hezbollah on Friday welcomed Russia’s military buildup in Syria in support of common ally President Bashar al-Assad, saying it was the failure of a U.S.-led campaign against Islamic State that had forced Moscow’s hand.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah said in a three-hour interview with the group’s al-Manar TV that increased Russian support for Assad included highly advanced weapons systems, warplanes and helicopters.

Sep 24, 2015

Warring sides in Syria reach agreement on two villages, border town, sources say

By Mariam Karouny and Tom Miles

(Reuters) – Warring sides in Syria have agreed with U.N. help on a deal to extricate one group of rebel fighters and another group of trapped villagers, sources familiar with the talks said on Thursday.

The deal was reached in talks backed by Iran, which supports the Syrian government, and Turkey, which supports the rebels. With a ceasefire in the areas holding, it offers a rare chance of success for foreign-brokered diplomacy in the intractable conflict.

Sep 22, 2015

Insight – Resilient insurgent group Ahrar al-Sham to play bigger role in Syria

BEIRUT (Reuters) – When an explosion killed almost all of its leaders in a single blow last year, many thought it was the end for Ahrar al-Sham, a powerful Syrian insurgent group founded by members loyal to al Qaeda.

But the group immediately re-emerged stronger. It replaced its leader and chose new military commanders. A few months later, it joined a coalition of insurgent groups that seized the city of Idlib with at least 2,000 fighters, making it the most influential group in the Fatah Army (Army of Conquest), which includes al Qaeda’s Syria wing, the Nusra Front.

Sep 22, 2015

Insight – Resilient insurgent group Ahrar al-Sham to play bigger role in Syria

BEIRUT (Reuters) – When an explosion killed almost all of its leaders in a single blow last year, many thought it was the end for Ahrar al-Sham, a powerful Syrian insurgent group founded by members loyal to al Qaeda.

But the group immediately re-emerged stronger. It replaced its leader and chose new military commanders. A few months later, it joined a coalition of insurgent groups that seized the city of Idlib with at least 2,000 fighters, making it the most influential group in the Fatah Army (Army of Conquest), which includes al Qaeda’s Syria wing, the Nusra Front.

    • 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