BEIRUT (Reuters) – The growing power of the ultra-hardline Islamic State means the Syrian army is now having to confront a group it has until now been reluctant to attack for political reasons.
The emergence of the al Qaeda offshoot, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has so far allowed President Bashar al-Assad to present himself to the world as a bulwark against Sunni Islamist radicals.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian armed forces have taken strategic ground around Aleppo this week, residents and state media said on Wednesday, squeezing the main rebel supply line into the city after months of battlefield gains by Damascus.
The government advance, after close to two years of stalemate, was bolstered by fighters from the Lebanese Shi’ite Muslim group Hezbollah, an ally of President Bashar al-Assad, according to sources close to Hezbollah.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Militants from the Islamic State group seized control of Syria’s largest oil field from rival Islamist fighters on Thursday, strengthening its advance across the eastern Deir al-Zor province, an opposition monitoring group said.
The capture of the al-Omar oil field gives Islamic State control of crude reserves which could be useful to its advancing fighters, and underlines how the al Qaeda offshoot has eclipsed its militant rivals by capturing territory and assets across Syria and Iraq in the past few weeks.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Lebanon faces the threat of political and economic collapse as the number of refugees pouring in from Syria is set to exceed a third of the population, Social Affairs Minister Rashid Derbas said on Thursday.
Derbas said the total was expected to hit 1.5 million by the end of the year, an excessive burden for a country of just 4 million people.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – An offshoot of al Qaeda which has captured territory in Iraq and Syria has declared itself an Islamic “caliphate” and called on factions worldwide to pledge their allegiance, a statement posted on Islamist websites and Twitter said on Sunday.
The move poses a direct challenge to the central leadership of al Qaeda, which has already disowned it, and to conservative Gulf Arab rulers.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Militant Islamist groups in Syria are recruiting children as young as 15 and sending them into battle after promising them a free education, a Human Rights Watch report said on Monday.
The report said the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which has made rapid territorial gains across the border in Iraq, had given children weapons training in Syria and told them to carry out suicide bombings.
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Kurds in parts of northern Syria have carried out arbitrary arrests and failed to investigate the killings and disappearance of political opponents, Human Rights Watch said on Thursday in a report documenting rights abuses.
The Democratic Union Party (PYD), an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in neighboring Turkey, has run three Kurdish enclaves in northern Syria since 2012, when Syrian government forces withdrew from the areas.
DUBAI/KUWAIT, May 22 (Reuters) – In the space of just 72
hours last week core OPEC oil producer Kuwait lined up $15
billion worth of gas supply from BP and Royal Dutch Shell to
help meet soaring demand.
So why is it that Kuwait – along with neighbouring OPEC
powers Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – is left
wanting for gas when the region houses around 30 percent of the
KUWAIT, May 21 (Reuters) – Doha Bank plans to
raise additional capital in 2015 to underpin fast asset growth
and potential acquisitions, the chief executive of Qatar’s
fourth-largest bank by assets said on Wednesday.
The bank is looking at several options to raise capital,
such as a rights issue, CEO R. Seetharaman told reporters at a
news conference in Kuwait.
KUWAIT (Reuters) – Kuwait’s Justice and Islamic Affairs Minister has resigned, state news agency KUNA said on Monday, after a senior U.S. official said he had called for jihad in Syria and promoted the funding of terrorism.
Last month Nayef al-Ajmi rejected the comments made in March by U.S. Treasury Undersecretary David Cohen as “groundless and baseless”, and was backed by the cabinet.