Correspondent, Beirut
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Aug 7, 2015

Lebanon to issue bond for up to $1.5 bln this year – central bank gov

BEIRUT, Aug 7 (Reuters) – Lebanon is planning to issue a new
U.S. dollar-denominated bond this year to raise up to $1.5
billion, the central bank governor said on Friday, welcoming a
move which would avoid the government using foreign reserves to
repay debt.

Governor Riad Salameh said he also expected Lebanon would
issue a new economic stimulus package in 2016 worth around $1
billion because the political and security situation in the
region is hampering Lebanon’s ability to generate growth.

Aug 7, 2015

New diplomatic push for Syria seen, but solution elusive

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The first visit of a top Syrian official to a Gulf Arab state in more than four years is the strongest sign yet of a new diplomatic push to end the Syrian war, but there are still huge hurdles to face before any peace process can begin.

Diplomacy has so far been a total failure during a four year civil war that has divided the Middle East, killed a quarter of a million people, driven more than 10 million from their homes and left large swathes of Syria in the hands of Islamic State militants.

Aug 5, 2015

Turkey says coalition to launch ‘comprehensive battle’ against Islamic State

ISTANBUL/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Turkey said on Wednesday a U.S.-led coalition will soon launch a “comprehensive battle” against Islamic State militants from Turkish air bases, but Syria said any military action not coordinated with Damascus would breach its sovereignty.

NATO-member Turkey formally agreed to open its air bases to U.S. and coalition aircraft last month, a major policy change after years of reluctance in taking a frontline role against the Islamist fighters pressing on its borders.

Aug 1, 2015

Kurdish militia in Syria accuses Turkey of ‘provocative’ attacks

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Kurdish militia fighting Islamic State in Syria accused Turkey on Saturday of targeting it at least four times in the past week, calling the attacks provocative and hostile.

Turkey began a campaign of air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) camps in northern Iraq and Islamic State fighters in Syria last Friday, in what Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has called a “synchronized fight against terror”.

Jul 31, 2015

Al Qaeda in Syria says detains U.S.-trained rebels

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Al Qaeda’s Syria wing said on Friday it had detained members of a Syrian rebel group who had just returned from U.S. training, in a direct challenge to Washington’s plan to train and equip insurgents to combat the hard-line Islamic State group.

In a statement that appeared to contradict comments from the Pentagon, Nusra Front said the men it was holding had entered Syria several days prior and had been trained under the supervision of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Jul 29, 2015

Drama helps Lebanese to bridge their city’s divides

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Young people from two warring districts in the Lebanese city of Tripoli are taking to the stage in a comedy inspired by their own lives, trying to turn their backs on old rivalries inflamed by Syria’s civil war.

“Love and War on the Rooftops” played to a full house in the capital Beirut on Tuesday, a rollicking play within a play about a Sunni Muslim and an Alawite district in the coastal city of Tripoli.

Jul 24, 2015

Syrian government says too early for more U.N.-backed peace talks

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria’s foreign minister said on Friday it was too early to hold another United Nations-backed peace conference on Syria, indicating the dim prospects for diplomacy as a U.N. envoy wraps up three months of consultations on the war.

Walid al-Moualem also reiterated his government’s view that Iran’s support for Damascus would continue after its nuclear deal with world powers including the United States, which says President Bashar al-Assad must leave power.

Jul 23, 2015

Turkish army returns fire on Islamic State after soldier killed: army

ANKARA/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Turkish forces returned fire on Islamic State militants in Syria with tank shells on Thursday after a Turkish soldier was killed and two others were wounded in a cross-border firefight, the military said.

The fighting comes days after a suspected suicide bombing by the Islamist radical group in a Turkish border town killed 32 people, many of them students and some of them Kurds, touching off waves of violence in the largely Kurdish southeast.

Jul 14, 2015

Iran deal heartens Syria’s Assad, worries rebels

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad signaled on Tuesday he expected more support from his top regional ally Iran in the wake of a nuclear deal that includes Western states that have backed the insurgency against him.

Rebels fighting Assad expressed concern that the deal would expand Iranian influence in the region at their expense.

Jul 12, 2015

Nobel winner Malala opens school for Syrian refugees

BEKAA VALLEY, Lebanon (Reuters) – Malala Yousafzai, the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, celebrated her 18th birthday in Lebanon on Sunday by opening a school for Syrian refugee girls and called on world leaders to invest in “books not bullets”.

Malala became a symbol of defiance after she was shot on a school bus in Pakistan 2012 by the Taliban for advocating girls’ rights to education. She continued campaigning and won the Nobel in 2014.

    • About Sylvia

      "Sylvia is based in Beirut, covering Lebanon and Syria. She joined Reuters as a graduate trainee in 2006 and has been based in London, Berlin, Frankfurt, Vienna and Kuwait and has reported from South Korea, Tunisia, Egypt and Iraq. She moved to Beirut in 2014."
      Joined Reuters:
      2006
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