Correspondent, Beirut
Sylvia's Feed
Oct 4, 2014

U.S. air strikes hit Islamic State near Syrian border town as fighting intensifies

MURSITPINAR/BEIRUT (Reuters) – U.S.-led coalition war planes attacked Islamic State targets around the Syrian border town of Kobani overnight as the insurgents pressed their assault against its Kurdish defenders, a monitoring group and witnesses said.

Previous coalition air strikes have failed to stop the insurgent offensive on the predominantly-Kurdish Kobani and the outgunned Kurdish fighters have put up a desperate fight as shells rained down on the town over the past week.

Oct 4, 2014

Islamic State video shows second British hostage beheaded

WASHINGTON/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State militants fighting in Iraq and Syria posted a video on Friday that appeared to show the beheading of British aid worker Alan Henning, triggering condemnation by the British and U.S. governments.

The footage on YouTube, highlighted on pro-Islamic State Twitter feeds, showed a bearded man in an orange jumpsuit kneeling next to a black-clad man in arid scrubland, similar to past Islamic State beheading videos of two American journalists and a British aid worker.

Oct 3, 2014

Islamic State beheads British hostage Henning in new video

WASHINGTON/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State militants fighting in Iraq and Syria released a video on Friday that purported to show the beheading of a man it identified as British citizen Alan Henning.

The footage on YouTube, which was linked to on pro-Islamic State Twitter feeds, showed a man in an orange jumpsuit kneeling in a landscape who was identified as Henning.

Oct 2, 2014

Syria’s army goes on the offensive as U.S. bombs Assad’s foes

BEIRUT (Reuters) – As U.S. warplanes bomb his enemies in Syria’s east, President Bashar al-Assad has set loose his own forces in the west, alarming Washington’s few friends on the ground and potentially undermining the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State.

U.S. President Barack Obama says Washington’s goal in Syria is to defeat Islamic State without helping Assad’s government. The Arab allies that have joined the U.S.-led strikes are some of Assad’s fiercest opponents.

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.

    • 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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