Deputy Bureau Chief Lebanon, Syria & Jordan
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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.

Apr 2, 2014
via FaithWorld

Apocalyptic prophecies drive both sides to Syrian battle for end of time

Photo

(Free Syrian Army fighters walk with their weapons in Azaz village, north of Aleppo March 30, 2014. REUTERS/Hosam Katan)

Conflict in Syria kills hundreds of thousands of people and spreads unrest across the Middle East. Iranian forces battle anti-Shi’ite fighters in Damascus, and the region braces for an ultimate showdown.

Mar 16, 2014

Syrian forces fully control rebel stronghold near Lebanon

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Government forces backed by Hezbollah fighters took full control of the Syrian town of Yabroud on Sunday after driving out rebel fighters, state media said, helping President Bashar al-Assad to secure the land route linking the capital Damascus to the former commercial hub of Aleppo and the Mediterranean coast.

The fall of Yabroud, the last rebel bastion near the Lebanese border, would also choke off a vital insurgent supply line from Lebanon and consolidate government control over a swath of territory from Damascus to the central city of Homs.

Feb 25, 2014

Syrian al Qaeda group gives rival Islamists ultimatum

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The head of al Qaeda’s Syrian arm has given rival Islamist militants five days to accept mediation to end their infighting or face a war which will “eradicate” them, according to an audio recording posted on Tuesday.

Abu Mohammed al-Golani, leader of the Nusra Front, called on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to agree to arbitration by religious scholars to end more than a year of feuding which has turned violent.

Feb 23, 2014

Syrian rebel, friend of al Qaeda leader, killed by rival Islamists

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A Syrian rebel commander who fought alongside al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden and was close to its current chief, Ayman al-Zawahiri, was killed by a suicide attack on Sunday, intensifying in-fighting between rival Islamist fighters.

The Observatory for Human Rights in Syria said Abu Khaled al-Soury, also known as Abu Omair al-Shamy, a commander of the Salafi group Ahrar al-Sham was killed along with six comrades by al Qaeda splinter group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). It said al-Soury had fought in Iraq and Afghanistan

Feb 12, 2014

Lebanese army seizes top al Qaeda-linked militant

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon’s army on Wednesday arrested a senior al Qaeda-linked militant described by security sources as a “mastermind of car bombs” that have targeted several Shi’ite areas in recent months.

Security sources said the arrest of Naim Abbas could help uncover radical jihadi cells in Lebanon, which have been ratcheting up attacks against the army and against the political and militant Shi’ite group Hezbollah.

Feb 10, 2014

Second round of Syria talks makes faltering start

GENEVA/BEIRUT (Reuters) – A second round of Syria peace talks got off to a shaky start on Monday with the international mediator meeting the two sides separately after violations of a local ceasefire and an Islamist offensive set back his efforts.

Ahead of the talks, mediator Lakhdar Brahimi told delegates to commit first to discussing both ending the fighting and setting up a transitional government. The government side said combating “terrorism” – its catchall term for the revolt – should be agreed first.

Jan 30, 2014

After Syria, al Qaeda expanding in Lebanon

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Faced with recent setbacks in Iraq and Syria, al Qaeda is slowly but firmly gaining influence in Lebanon, helped by the country’s increasing sectarian violence and the turmoil caused by Syria’s civil war, sources close to the group say.

Lebanon, a small Mediterranean state with a fragile sectarian power sharing system, has seen the worst of the Syria’s war spillover with car bombs in Beirut and Tripoli, gunfights in city streets and rocket fire in the Bekaa Valley.

Jan 30, 2014

Insight: After Syria, al Qaeda expanding in Lebanon

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Faced with recent setbacks in Iraq and Syria, al Qaeda is slowly but firmly gaining influence in Lebanon, helped by the country’s increasing sectarian violence and the turmoil caused by Syria’s civil war, sources close to the group say.

Lebanon, a small Mediterranean state with a fragile sectarian power sharing system, has seen the worst of the Syria’s war spillover with car bombs in Beirut and Tripoli, gunfights in city streets and rocket fire in the Bekaa Valley.

Jan 29, 2014

Brahimi says no substantive progress on Syria but hopeful

GENEVA (Reuters) – International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said on Wednesday that he does not expect to achieve anything substantive in the first round of Syria talks ending on Friday, but hoped for a more productive second round starting about a week later.

His sombre assessment came as the two sides took a first tentative step forward by agreeing to use the same 2012 roadmap as the basis of discussions to end the three-year civil war, though they disagreed about how talks should proceed.

    • 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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