Correspondent, Beirut
Sylvia's Feed
Jun 2, 2015

Syrian insurgent advances put Assad under pressure

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Steady advances by insurgents on key fronts in Syria mean President Bashar al-Assad is under more military pressure than at any point in the four-year-old war.

Losses in the north, east and south to groups including al Qaeda’s Syrian arm and Islamic State may test Assad’s hold over western parts of the country that are the most crucial to his survival.

May 31, 2015

Islamic State pushes back Syria insurgents near Turkey

AMMAN/BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters advanced against rival insurgents in northern Syria on Sunday, capturing areas close to a border crossing with Turkey and threatening their supply route to Aleppo city, fighters and a group monitoring the war said.

Islamic State captured the town of Soran Azaz and two nearby villages after clashes with fighters from a northern rebel alliance, which was formed last December and includes both Western-backed fighters and Islamist militants.

May 26, 2015

Syria says carries out deadly air raid on Islamic State stronghold

BEIRUT (Reuters) – The Syrian air force hit an Islamic State-controlled air base in Raqqa province on Tuesday, killing more than 140 militants, state media said, striking the jihadist group in its Syrian stronghold a week after it seized Palmyra from the government.

The city of Raqqa is seen as the de facto capital of the “caliphate” Islamic State has declared in Syria and Iraq. The group has made notable gains in both countries this month, capturing both Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria.

May 22, 2015

Islamic State says it has full control of Syria’s Palmyra

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters tightened their grip on the historic Syrian city of Palmyra on Thursday and overran Iraqi government defences east of Ramadi, the provincial capital that they seized five days earlier.

The twin successes not only pile pressure on Damascus and Baghdad but throw doubt on a U.S. strategy of relying almost exclusively on air strikes to support the fight against Islamic State.

May 21, 2015

Islamic State takes control of Syria’s Palmyra in westward advance

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State seized full control of the historic city of Palmyra in central Syria on Thursday, just days after it captured a provincial capital in neighbouring Iraq, suggesting momentum is building for the ultra-hardline group.

The twin successes pile pressure not just on Damascus and Baghdad, but also throw doubt on U.S. strategy to rely almost exclusively on air strikes to defeat the Sunni Muslim movement, which is an offshoot of al Qaeda.

May 21, 2015

Islamic State enters ruins of Syria’s Palmyra after storming city – monitor

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters in Syria have entered the ancient ruins of Palmyra after taking complete control of the central city, but there are no reports so far of any destruction of antiquities, a group monitoring the war said on Thursday.

The offshoot of al Qaeda has taken control of the city’s military air base and prison after storming them on Wednesday, Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said by telephone.

May 20, 2015

Islamic State seizes ancient Palmyra city from Syrian forces

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State insurgents stormed the historic Syrian city of Palmyra on Wednesday, fighting off pro-government forces who withdrew after evacuating most of the civilian population, state television said.

The capture of Palmyra is the first time the al Qaeda offshoot has taken control of a city directly from the Syrian army and allied forces, which have already lost ground in the northwest and south to other insurgent groups in recent weeks.

May 20, 2015

Islamic State insurgents storm ancient Syrian city, civilians flee

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State stormed the historic Syrian city of Palmyra on Wednesday, seizing parts of it from government forces in fierce fighting as civilians were evacuated and Syria’s antiquities chief called on the world to save its ancient ruins.

If the al Qaeda offshoot takes over Palmyra it would be the first time it has captured a city directly from President Bashar al-Assad’s forces, which have already lost ground in northwest and southern Syria to other insurgent groups in recent weeks.

May 20, 2015

Islamic State captures one-third of ancient Syrian city: monitor

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Islamic State fighters seized around a third of the historic Syrian city of Palmyra on Wednesday after fierce clashes with the military and allied combatants, a group monitoring the war said.

The city, known as Tadmur in Arabic, is home to a UNESCO World Heritage site and the violence has fuelled fears Islamic State will destroy ancient ruins. The offshoot of al Qaeda advanced into the city over the weekend but had been repelled.

May 19, 2015

Insurgents seize army base, tighten grip in Syria’s Idlib province

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Insurgents seized an army base in northwestern Syria from the military on Tuesday, compounding a series of setbacks for President Bashar al-Assad at the hands of rebel groups believed to have received extra backing from his regional enemies.

The capture came as a top aide to Iran’s leader met Assad in Damascus and underlined firm Iranian support as the Syrian government faces mounting pressure from insurgents in a four-year-old civil 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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