Lebanon & Syria

January 13, 2014

A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) shows Syrian President Bashar al-Assad next to Syrian Grand Mufti Ahmed Hassun and Syrian Prime Minister Wael al-Halaqi attending prayers on the eve of the anniversary of the birth of Islam's Prophet Mohammed at the al-Hamad mosque in Damascus. [AFP]
06:00 GMT

Rarely seen in public, President Bashar Al-Assad made an appearance at a mosque in Damascus in honor of the Prophet Mohammed.

January 12, 2014

'Friends of Syria'  met with leaders of the mainstream opposition to President Bashar al-Assad ahead of peace talks due later this month. [AFP]
17:00 GMT

he U.S.-led “Friends of Syria” grouping had agreed that President Bashar al-Assad and his family will have no role in the country’s future, Ahmad Jarba, head of Syria’s opposition National Coalition, said during a press conference held in Paris on Sunday.

At least 130,000 people have died in Syria three-year war, but the UN has stopped tracking the death toll due to limited access to accurate data (Fadi Dirani/AFP)
11:52 GMT

United States Secretary State John Kerry along with ten other Western nation envoys reportedly have "raised the pressure" on one of Syria's main opposition groups to attend Swiss peace talks. Syrian President Bashar Al Assad's regime shelled the central city of Homs, killing 20.

Many besieged areas throughout Damascus have not received food supplies and humanitarian aid for months (Courtesy of Foreign Policy)
07:20 GMT

At least 48 people have died from starvation in a besieged Palestinian refugee camp near Syria's capital.

January 11, 2014

Rebel fighters man a checkpoint close to Jabal al-Zawiyaa in Idlib province on January 6, 2014. [AFP]
14:26 GMT

A bomb attack blamed on pro-al-Qaeda group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), has killed at least five militants in Syria’s Idlib Province as infighting rages on among various foreign-backed opposition groups.

Defense lawyers for Salim Ayyash at the Special Tribunal of Lebanon, Monday, Oct. 1, 2012. [The Daily Star]
13:01 GMT

The Lebanese government must bolster efforts to arrest five men accused of the assassination of the country’s former Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri, the prosecutor at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon told British newspaper the Guardian on Friday.

January 10, 2014

The FBI believes that approximately 70 Americans have traveled to Syria to join militant fighters since the start of the war three years ago (File Archive/AFP)
14:00 GMT

The United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently told reporters that Al Qaeda-linked groups in Syria are training U.S. and Western citizens fighting in the conflict to conduct terrorist attacks when they return home.

The Lebanese army was deployed to Tripoli in early December to mitigate ongoing turmoil and sectarian conflict that has enveloped the country's northern city (File Archive/AFP)
13:27 GMT

Clashes between the Lebanese Army and gunmen near a mosque in the northern city of Tripoli left three people, including two soldiers, wounded.

Sigrid Kaag, pictured right and who is the head of the joint disarmament mission in Syria between the United Nations and OPCW, says the Syrian government can meet its March deadline if it maintains its current efforts (File Archive/AFP)
13:10 GMT

The United Nations and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) told reporters Friday that the Syrian government will be able to meet its March deadline to destroy Priority 1 chemical weapons. material if it maintains its current efforts.

The U.S. is reconsidering sending nonlethal aid to the Syrian opposition, now that some Islamist rebels are proving to be more moderate, according to a recent New York Times article. (AFP/File)
08:55 GMT

Despite the risk that any aid may end up in the hands of militant extremists, top Washington officials said Thursday that the U.S. is considering resuming its nonlethal aid to the Syrian opposition.

Regime forces have enforced a siege in Homs' Old City for over a year and much of the city has been destroyed in clashes between loyalist troops and rebels. Reports of energy and food shortages in the central Syrian city are rife. (AFP/File)
07:11 GMT

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported late Thursday that Syrian regime forces killed at least 45 rebels during an offensive on the regime-stronghold of Homs.

January 9, 2014

At least 700 people have been killed in Aleppo since Dec. 15 under government airstrikes (Medo Halab/AFP)
13:19 GMT

Syrian opposition groups, including Islamist rebels, met for the first time in Spain's Cordoba in order to "seek common ground" before peace talks scheduled for later this month in Switzerland, and a car bomb killed 18 in Syria's central Hama province in the village of Kafat.

The UN Security Council has attempted to pass three resolutions on Syria since March 2011 (File Archive/AFP)
08:39 GMT

Russia blocked a British-drafted UN Security Council statement that condemns the Syrian government attacks on the northern city of Aleppo.

AIn Al Hilweh, the Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon's south considered a "hotbed" for militants, fears a possible armed sectarian clash with Hezbollah forces due to the latter's politics at home and in Syria (Courtesy of the Guardian)
07:29 GMT

Sectarian clashes between Palestinians in Lebanon's south and Hezbollah may be imminent if the latter party does not "revise its policies at home and in Syria," a key spiritual leader told reporters this week.

Rebel fighters gesture next to the bodies of handcuffed and blindfolded dead men laying on the ground of the Aleppo headquarters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. (AFP)
07:17 GMT

Since the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) began freeing hundreds of prisoners in Aleppo, shocking stories about their detention have emerged.