Correspondent, Beirut
Sylvia's Feed
Sep 21, 2014

Islamic State closes in on Syrian town, refugees flood into Turkey

SURUC Turkey/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State militants tightened their noose on a northern Syrian border town on Sunday as the United Nations said the number of Syrian Kurds fleeing into neighbouring Turkey may have topped 100,000 and was likely to go much higher.

Residents fleeing the frontier town of Ayn al-Arab, known in Kurdish as Kobani, and its surrounding villages said the militants were executing people of all ages in the areas they had seized to create a climate of fear and slavish obedience.

Sep 18, 2014

Assad’s army stretched but still seen strong in Syria’s war

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria’s army declared a victory against insurgents last week when it pushed back their advance towards pro-government towns in the west of the country. But a month earlier the strategic area did not even appear at risk.

The campaign near Hama against al Qaeda-linked fighters and other groups shows how the Syrian military can quickly redeploy its forces to push back enemies using its superior fire power. But it also shows how the army is spread thinly in Syria, leaving at risk even areas of vital importance to the government.

Sep 16, 2014

Iraqi official briefs Syria’s Assad on efforts against Islamic State

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Iraq’s national security adviser briefed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on efforts to counter Islamic State on Tuesday, in the first such meeting since the United States launched air strikes on the radical group in Iraq.

The United States and other Western governments have dismissed the idea of cooperating with Syria in the fight against Islamic State, which has seized large areas of Iraq and Syria. Western governments see Assad as part of the problem and say he must leave power.

Sep 10, 2014

Syrian Islamist group names new leader after blast

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The new head of the Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham, once one of the strongest militias in the Syrian civil war, has urged fellow insurgents to fight on after a blast on Tuesday wiped out its senior leadership.

In a video on YouTube, Ahrar al-Sham said Hashem al-Sheikh, also known as “Abu Jaber”, had been named its new leader and Abu Saleh Tahan its new military chief. Another video showed a man identified as Abu Jaber exhorting his men to fight on.

Aug 29, 2014

Video shows Islamic State executes scores of Syrian soldiers

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters executed scores of Syrian soldiers captures when the militants seized an airbase in the province of Raqqa at the weekend, according to a video posted on You Tube on Thursday.

The video, confirmed as genuine by an Islamic State fighter, showed the bodies of dozens of men lying face down wearing nothing but their underwear. They were stretched out in a line that appeared to be dozens of metres long.

Aug 28, 2014

Islamic State executes dozens of Syrian army soldiers: monitor

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters have executed dozens of members of the Syrian army they captured after seizing an air base in the northeast of the country, a group monitoring the violence said on Thursday.

Islamic State, a radical offshoot of al Qaeda, stormed Tabqa air base on Sunday after days of clashes with the army and said it had captured and killed soldiers and officers in one of the fiercest confrontations yet between the two sides.

Aug 27, 2014

Islamic State executes soldiers, takes hostages at Syria base: social media

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State militants have executed Syrian army soldiers and are holding a group hostage after capturing an air base in northeast Syria at the weekend, pictures posted on social media by supporters showed on Wednesday.

Islamic State, an offshoot of al Qaeda, stormed Tabqa air base near Raqqa city on Sunday after days of fighting with the army that cost more than 500 lives, according to monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Aug 26, 2014

Syria says would work with any state to fight Islamist militants

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syria said on Monday it would cooperate in any international effort to fight Islamic State militants, after Washington signalled it was considering extending the battle against the group into Syrian territory.

Russia, the most prominent foreign backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, also urged Western and Arab nations to overcome their distaste of the government in Damascus and engage with it to fight the hardline insurgents.

Aug 25, 2014

Syria ready to work with any state to fight Islamist militants

BEIRUT, Aug 25 (Reuters) – Syria said on Monday it would
cooperate in any international efforts to fight Islamic State
militants in the country, after Washington signalled it was
considering extending the battle against the group into Syrian

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem, whose government has been
shunned by the West, presented his country as a vital partner in
the war against Islamic State that has seized wide areas of
Syria and Iraq.

Aug 25, 2014

Hundreds dead as Islamic State seizes Syrian air base: monitor

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State militants stormed an air base in northeast Syria on Sunday, capturing it from government forces after days of fighting that cost more than 500 lives, a monitoring group said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 346 Islamic State fighters were killed and more than 170 members of government forces had died since Tuesday in the fight over Tabqa base, making it one of the deadliest confrontations between the two groups since the start of Syria’s war.

    • 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."
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