BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview published on Thursday he expected his country’s conflict to be long and difficult but vowed to defeat the insurgents battling to oust him and said he would not be driven from power.
Assad told the French magazine Paris Match nobody could predict when the war with Islamic State militants and other foes would end but said they had failed to win over the Syrian people, allowing his army to make advances.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – The Lebanese army detained a wife and daughter of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as they crossed from Syria nine days ago, security officials said on Tuesday, in a setback to the group as it comes under increased military pressure.
The woman was identified her as Saja al-Dulaimi, an Iraqi, by a senior Lebanese political source and security official.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – The Lebanese army detained a wife and daughter of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as they crossed from Syria nine days ago, security officials said on Tuesday.
The officials declined to give the name or nationality of the woman whom they described as one of his wives. The Lebanese newspaper As-Safir reported the army had detained her in coordination with “foreign intelligence apparatus”.
MOSCOW/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Fresh Russian efforts to encourage Syrian peace talks are unlikely to make progress because Moscow rejects opposition and Western calls for the swift departure of President Bashar al-Assad.
Moscow has long-supported Assad, including with arms supplies for Syria, but he has become a more important ally for Russia since the Arab Spring protests toppled leaders in the Middle East, some of whom had close ties with Moscow.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamist militants who attacked parts of Lebanon this year could have drawn it into civil war, army chief General Jean Kahwaji said in an unusually direct and political speech published on Friday.
Kahwaji paid tribute to soldiers killed and wounded in battles which prevented what he described as a militant plot to take over parts of the small Mediterranean country.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – At least 21 people were killed and around 100 wounded overnight when Syrian government war planes bombed a town in northern Syria controlled by Islamic State militants, a group monitoring the war said on Sunday.
The attack came hours before a United Nations mediator met senior Syrian officials in Damascus to discuss ways to ease the war, which has entered its fourth year, killed around 200,000 people and since September drawn in the United States and allies in air strikes against the Sunni militant group Islamic State.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – At least 21 people were killed and around 100 wounded overnight when Syrian army planes bombed a town in northern Syria controlled by Islamic State militants, a group monitoring the war said on Sunday.
The attack came hours before a United Nations mediator met with senior Syrian officials in Damascus to discuss ways to ease the conflict, which has entered its fourth year and killed more than 191,000 people.
RASHAYA Lebanon (Reuters) – On mountains close to the Syrian border, members of Lebanon’s minority Druze sect say they are ready to defend their towns and villages with arms if the civil war next raging door gets much nearer.
“Here in the east, the danger has become very close to us, it is right in our faces and in our lives,” said Ali Fayik, a regional official speaking in the predominantly Druze town of Rashaya, set in steep mountains with a panorama over the region.
ISTANBUL/BEIRUT (Reuters) – A senior Syrian Kurdish official on Friday denied a report from Turkey’s president that Syrian Kurds had agreed to let 1,300 Free Syrian Army fighters enter the border town of Kobani to help defend it against besieging Islamic State insurgents.
President Tayyip Erdogan has long championed the relatively secular Free Syrian Army in the complicated, faction-ridden insurgency against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has repeatedly advocated FSA intervention in Kobani.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Iraqi pilots who have joined Islamic State in Syria are training members of the group to fly in three captured fighter jets, a group monitoring the war said on Friday, saying it was the first time the militant group had taken to the air.
The group, which has seized swathes of land in Syria and Iraq, has been flying the planes over the captured al-Jarrah military airport east of Aleppo, said Rami Abdulrahman, who runs the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.