Lebanon & Syria

January 4, 2014

Majid al-Majid, the suspected head of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades which claimed responsibility for the Iranian embassy bombing in Beirut, was detained in Lebanon. [Al-Arabiya]
14:27 GMT

An al-Qaeda-linked Saudi suspect detained in Lebanon has died, it was reported on Saturday, after being transferred to a military hospital due to “poor health” a day earlier.

SNC president George Sabra said in October that the group had taken a “firm decision” not to attend the talks. [Getty Images]
11:43 GMT

The Syrian National Council, a key group within Syria’s mainstream opposition National Coalition, reaffirmed on Friday it will not attend the “Geneva II” peace talks scheduled for later this month in Switzerland.

January 3, 2014

A rebel fighter from the Free Syrian Army holds a position with a Belgium made FAL rifle at a front line in the Salah al-Din neighbourhood of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, on December 1, 2013. [Getty Images]
13:37 GMT

Al-Qaeda-linked fighters have besieged some areas in the northwestern Syrian province of Aleppo and are readying to storm the village of al-Atareb nearby, Al Arabiya News Channel reported activists as saying on Friday.

Iris scanners could be used at airports, border crossings, and other security checkpoints, in the search for criminals and terror suspects. [amazonaws]
06:00 GMT

Syrian refugees are expected to be issues service cards that will use iris-scanning technology for identification.

A member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant carries his weapon as he looks through a hole in a wall in Sheikh Saeed neighbourhood December 4, 2013. [AFP]
05:00 GMT

Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) accused of of being “worse than the Assad regime,” by Islamist rebels.

January 2, 2014

Flames rise from burning cars at the site of a car bomb that targeted Beirut's southern suburb of Haret Hreik on January 2, 2014. [AFP]
16:44 GMT

The second explosion in the capital of Beirut has claimed four lives and wounded 66 after a car bomb detonated.

Lebanon hosts nearly 858,000 refugees, according to UNHCR statistics (File Archive/AFP)
06:48 GMT

A Syrian airstrike that targeted Lebanon's border town of Arsal earlier this week left one refugee killed.

January 1, 2014

The WikiLeaks Party website said the meeting was aimed at showing solidarity with the Syrian people and voicing opposition to western military intervention. [Getty Images]
14:52 GMT

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has condemned as "reckless" and "counterproductive" a WikiLeaks Party delegation which met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.

The head of a jihadist group behind the suicide bomb attack on the Iranian embassy in Lebanon in November is arrested, reports say. [AFP]
14:41 GMT

Lebanese troops arrested the leader of the al-Qaeda-linked group responsible for a double suicide bombing at the Iranian embassy in Lebanon in November, the defense minister told Agence France-Presse on Wednesday.

December 31, 2013

Residents of the industrial city of Adra, northeast of Damascus, walking as they are evacuated from the city, which is strategically located on a main road into the capital, due to fierce fighting between government troops and opposition forces. [AFP]
18:04 GMT

The death toll continues to rise in Syria as the new year approaches with the overall total for those killed in the violence passes the 130,000 mark.

Regime air raids have killed at least 500 people in Aleppo within the past two weeks (AFP)
12:55 GMT

At least ten people died in Syria's Aleppo Tuesday after a regime tank shell smashed into a bus.

Syrian opposition leader Ahmad Jarba met with French president Francois Hollande earlier this week in Saudi Arabia. The opposition leader has not yet confirmed his group's participation in the Swiss peace conference scheduled for January (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP)
11:07 GMT

Invitations for the Swiss peace conference on Syria have not yet been issued due to delays in formulating the opposition delegation.

With Chatah’s killing, the possibility of a peaceful resolution has been dealt a serious blow. Today, there is no other figure on the Lebanese political scene with the stature and credibility to bring several battling factions to the negotiating table (AFP)
08:17 GMT

Irrespective of the strife and conflict they have been through, most Lebanese people desperately want to believe the famed signer Fairuz when she sings: Even in your madness I love you (Lebanon)/because your love /gathers us together /when we are dispersed. However, following the bombing of Mohamad Chatah on December 27, one wonders if their faith in a unified Lebanon will survive yet another round of violence.

Assad called for a battle against Saudi Wahhabism Sunday (File Archive/Getty Images)
07:25 GMT

The United Nations called on the Syrian army and rebel fighters to allow urgent aid to reach a sieged community of Palestinians near Damascus who are dying from starvations while Syrian president Bashar Al Assad called for a "battle" against Saudi ideology.

A Syrian man cries carrying the body of a child killed by a barrel bomb. [gendynamics]
04:03 GMT

Assad claims views against extremism in Islam faith while continuing to engage in internal country conflict.