Deputy Bureau Chief Lebanon, Syria & Jordan
Mariam's Feed
Jun 17, 2014

Iraqi Islamists’ gains pose challenge to al Qaeda leader

By Mariam Karouny and Paul Taylor

(Reuters) – If the battle in Iraq and Syria were being fought by tycoons rather than jihadis, it might be called a hostile takeover in defiance of the main shareholder that has created a powerful multinational brand with an uncertain future.

The price is being paid in blood as fighters of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), a scion of the al Qaeda militant jihadist franchise, carve out a cross-border empire by killing government troops and former Islamist allies alike.

Jun 11, 2014

Iraqi insurgent commander is jihad’s rising leader

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The leader of radical Sunni fighters who have made rapid military advances in Iraq is the rising star of global jihad, driven, Islamist fighters say, by an unbending determination to fight for and establish a hardline Islamic state.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, commander of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), now controls large parts of eastern Syria and western Iraq, a vast cross-border haven for militants in the Sunni Muslim core of the Middle East.

Jun 11, 2014

Insight – Leader of Iraq insurgents is jihad’s rising leader

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The leader of radical Sunni fighters who have made rapid military advances in Iraq is the rising star of global jihad, driven, Islamist fighters say, by an unbending determination to fight for and establish a hardline Islamic state.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, commander of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), now controls large parts of eastern Syria and western Iraq, a vast cross-border haven for militants in the Sunni Muslim core of the Middle East.

Jun 11, 2014

Leader of Iraq insurgents is jihad’s rising leader

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The leader of radical Sunni fighters who have made rapid military advances in Iraq is the rising star of global jihad, driven, Islamist fighters say, by an unbending determination to fight for and establish a hardline Islamic state.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, commander of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), now controls large parts of eastern Syria and western Iraq, a vast cross-border haven for militants in the Sunni Muslim core of the Middle East.

May 24, 2014

Lebanon officially enters presidential vacuum

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Outgoing Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said on Saturday that dialogue was the only way to overcome deep divisions in the country, which is struggling to cope with political and security spillover from Syria’s civil war.

Suleiman made his remarks during his farewell speech hours before his six-year term ends and two days after parliament failed for the fifth time to choose a successor. The impasse highlights the stark political divisions in the country.

May 18, 2014

Street by street, Assad extends grip in central Syria

BEIRUT (Reuters) – From his base in Damascus, Bashar al-Assad can contemplate a broad sweep of Syria clawed back from rebels who once threatened to drive him out. The capital which they targeted is now plastered with posters inviting Syrians to reelect him president.

Powerful foreign allies have helped Assad hold or retake a chain of cities which form the north-south backbone of the country, keep his grip on the Mediterranean coast to the west and restore control over the Lebanese border.

May 15, 2014

Air strikes kill over 40 in northern Syria – monitoring group

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Rebels detonated 60 tonnes of explosives packed underneath a large Syrian army base, blowing a hillside hundreds of metres (yards) into the air, an insurgent in the operation who provided footage of the attack said on Thursday.

The casualty toll from the blast was not immediately known.

An Islamic Front commander said that his brigade dug a 850-metre (2,800-foot) tunnel underneath Wadi al-Deif base, which is surrounded by rebels but has remained inside government control for the entirety of the three-year-long civil war.

May 15, 2014

Massive tunnel bomb hits Syrian army base: video

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Rebels detonated 60 tonnes of explosives packed underneath a large Syrian army base, blowing a hillside hundreds of meters (yards) into the air, an insurgent in the operation who provided footage of the attack said on Thursday.

The casualty toll from the blast was not immediately known.

An Islamic Front commander said that his brigade dug a 850-metre (2,800-foot) tunnel underneath Wadi al-Deif base, which is surrounded by rebels but has remained inside government control for the entirety of the three-year-long civil war.

Apr 29, 2014

Chemical watchdog to investigate Syria chlorine gas claims

AMSTERDAM/BEIRUT (Reuters) – The global chemical weapons watchdog overseeing the destruction of Syria’s toxic stockpile will send a fact-finding mission to Syria to investigate allegations by rebels and activists of chlorine gas attacks, the organization said on Tuesday.

The Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said President Bashar al-Assad’s government had agreed to accept the mission and had promised to provide security in areas under its control.

Apr 13, 2014

Syria’s Assad says war turning in his favor

BEIRUT (Reuters) – President Bashar al-Assad said on Sunday that Syria’s three-year conflict was at a “turning point” due to his forces’ military gains against rebels, state media said.

Assad’s allies have portrayed him as confident and in control and they expect him to run for and win a presidential election in July – a turnaround from last year when he looked on the verge of defeat as rebels advanced towards Damascus, struck in the heart of the capital and took control of key areas.

    • 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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