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Islamists find foothold in Syria revolt

By Erika Solomon /Reuters BEIRUT: Sheikh Abu Abdullah Zahed, a Lebanese Muslim cleric with influence amongst radical youth, is part of a growing effort to push the uprising in Syria towards militant Islam. Hardline Sunni Muslims in Lebanon are maneuvering for influence over Syrians across the border who have spent the last year fighting to topple …

DNE

Spillover from the Syrian uprising: three scenarios

By Akeel Abbas How the uprising in Syria will effect Iraq depends largely on how events unfold in Syria — and on whom you ask in Iraq. So far, one sure effect of the Syrian uprising on Iraq has been its “clarifying” quality on the nature of politics in the new Iraq. Prior to the uprising, …

DNE

Arab ministers focus talks on Syria crisis

By Prashant Rao /  AFP Baghdad: Arab foreign ministers were meeting in Baghdad Wednesday ahead of a crucial summit to thrash out the Syrian crisis after Damascus reportedly accepted Kofi Annan’s plan to end the year-long bloodshed. The gathering in the Iraqi capital comes as monitors reported that Syrian forces stormed the central Syria town of …

DNE

Turkey, Syria, Iraq and the Kurdish issue

By Soli Ozel Syria, as always, is more than just Syria. The outcome of the deepening civil war or the violent fragmentation of the country will have a bearing on developments in the region, particularly for neighboring states. The strategies chosen by the regime to fight off the challenge against it have intensified sectarian divisions. A …

DNE

Saving the Syrians

By Gareth Evans CANBERRA: Despite the United Nations Security Council’s belated endorsement of UN Special Envoy Kofi Annan’s peacemaking mission in Syria, confidence that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad will cooperate in any serious or sustained way remains low, and calls for external military intervention continue. As Syria’s crisis goes from bad to worse, those urging armed …

DNE

Syria protesters urge military intervention

By AFP DAMASCUS: Anti-regime protesters called on Friday for foreign military intervention in Syria, as UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan prepared to brief a divided UN Security Council on his peace efforts. Ahead of UN participation in a Syrian-led humanitarian mission to protest cities at the weekend, Annan was to give a videoconference briefing to …

DNE

Syrians have a long memory

By Murhaf Jouejati Assuming that the Assad regime is about to collapse — many indications support this assumption — Russian-Syrian relations are set to go south in the post-Assad era. This conclusion is based on what one Syrian opposition leader who prefers to remain anonymous described as “outrageous” Russian behavior throughout the Syrian uprising that began …

DNE

The Syrian crisis and its implications for Turkish-Russian relations

By Ziya Meral Last week, during his weekly speech to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) group in the Turkish parliament, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated his strong statements on Syria. While his call for humanitarian corridors to bring aid to Syrian people captured international attention, his talk also included an indirect yet equally strong …

DNE

Syria forces attack town; Annan receives Assad response

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis / Reuters AMMAN: Heavily armed forces loyal to President Bashar Al-Assad pounded the southern city of Deraa with anti-aircraft fire on Wednesday, reasserting control over rebel strongholds a year after the start of the Syrian revolt. On the diplomatic front, the UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan was considering Damascus’s response to “concrete …

DNE

Arab League: Syria commits crimes against humanity

By Agencies CAIRO: The Arab League chief said the Syrian regime’s killing of civilians amounts to crimes against humanity and called for an international inquiry. Nabil Al-Araby said Tuesday that it would not be ethical or moral to allow those behind the killings in the cities of Homs and Idlib to get away with their …

DNE

Brotherhood forms human chain for Syria in Alexandria

By Abdel Rahman Youssef ALEXANDRIA: Hundreds of Muslim Brotherhood members formed human chains across the Corniche Monday in support of the Syrian revolution. About 4,000 answered the call made by the Brotherhood, said Ibrahim El-Sayed, member of the group’s administrative office in Alexandria and the protest’s coordinator. “This is to support our brothers in Syria in …

DNE

Russia, Arabs call for end to Syria violence

By AFP CAIRO: Arab and Russian foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Saturday called for an end to the violence in Syria “whatever its source,” as they try to reach common ground on ways to resolve the deadly conflict. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters after a meeting at the Arab League headquarters on …

DNE

Syria’s Assad meets peace envoy Annan again

By Dominic Evans and Alistair Lyon / Reuters BEIRUT: Former United Nations chief Kofi Annan, on a difficult peace mission to Syria, held a second day of talks with President Bashar Al-Assad on Sunday as Syrian forces pursued a drive to crush rebel bastions in the northwest. A UN spokesman said the two men had resumed …

DNE

Syria activists fear new Baba Amr on Annan visit eve

By AFP DAMASCUS: Syrian activists voiced growing fears on Friday of a major assault like the one that devastated the Homs neighborhood of Baba Amr, on the eve of a first visit by new international envoy Kofi Annan. Troop reinforcements backed by tanks were massing in the northwestern province of Idlib, close to the Turkish …

DNE

Annan warns more militarization will worsen Syria crisis

By Samer Al-Atrush /AFP CAIRO: United Nations and Arab League special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, warned Thursday that further militarization in Syria will worsen a conflict there that has left thousands dead in a year. The former UN chief said he feared any miscalculation on the issue risked destabilizing the region. “I believe further militarization …

DNE

High-level meetings Monday on Syria and Mideast

By AP UNITED NATIONS: High-level meetings on Syria and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are expected to take place Monday on the sidelines of a ministerial meeting of the UN Security Council on the challenges from the “Arab Spring.” British Foreign Secretary William Hague, whose country holds the council presidency this month, invited foreign ministers from the …

DNE

UN sends aid chief to Syria as Obama rejects military force

DAMASCUS: The UN’s humanitarian chief heads for Syria Wednesday to urge the regime to let aid into devastated protest cities, with US President Barack Obama insisting military intervention would be a “mistake”. The five major UN powers discussed on Tuesday new efforts to press for a halt to the violence in Syria, which Obama called …

DNE

Syria faces mounting pressure on aid, rights abuses

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi / Reuters AMMAN: Syria’s President Bashar Al-Assad faces growing pressure for blocking humanitarian aid and human rights abuses, with the UN humanitarian chief set to visit the country this week and the broadcast of harrowing pictures said to show torture victims at a hospital in the embattled city of Homs Secretly shot video …

DNE

Palestinian named Annan deputy to Syria

By AFP CAIRO: The Arab League on Monday named Palestinian diplomat Nasser al-Qudwa to serve as former UN chief Kofi Annan’s deputy in his role as international envoy to conflict-stricken Syria. Arab League chief Nabil Al-Araby said that Qudwa, a former foreign minister, had agreed to take on “this very difficult mission during a critical …

DNE

Arab League chief says fuelling violence will not help Syria

By Tamim Elyan / Reuters CAIRO: Arab League chief Nabil Al-Araby said on Thursday he was opposed to violence as a way to end the Syrian crisis after Gulf states called for arming the rebels seeking to oust President Bashar Al-Assad. Saudi Arabia and Qatar have led the Arab charge to isolate Syria, although other leading …

DNE

Syria death toll well over 7,500: UN

By AFP UNITED NATIONS: The death toll in the Syrian government crackdown is now “certainly well over 7,500,” a top UN official said Tuesday, adding that more than 100 civilians are now often killed each day. B. Lynn Pascoe, UN under secretary general for political affairs, told the UN Security Council that the international community’s …

DNE

Arab ministers to discuss Syria before summit

By Ayman Samir and Tamim Elyan / Reuters CAIRO: Arab foreign ministers will meet for two days starting on March 10 in Cairo to discuss developments in Syria and prepare for the Arab League summit in Iraq next month, a league source said. The ministers will discuss Damascus’ failure to implement the league’s resolutions of bringing …

DNE

West vows to up pressure on Assad at ‘Friends of Syria’ meet

By AFP TUNIS: Western powers vowed Thursday to boost pressure on the Syrian regime and push it to allow in vital humanitarian aid at a global conference on Friday to tackle the country’s increasingly bloody crisis. As the flashpoint city of Homs came under renewed shelling, officials said Friday’s “Friends of Syria” meeting of over …

DNE

Two Western journalists dead, Syria’s Homs pounded

By AFP DAMASCUS: Two Western journalists were killed Wednesday as Syrian regime forces pounded the rebel city of Homs for a 19th straight day, activists said, while calls mounted for a truce to allow in humanitarian aid. The latest barrage came a day after security forces killed at least 68 people across Syria, bringing the …

DNE

Arab silence at Syria crackdown speaks volumes

By Tom Pfeiffer and Shaimaa Fayed / Reuters CAIRO: Arab governments were swift to condemn Libya’s Moammar Qaddafi in February when he tried to crush a popular uprising with machineguns and heavy artillery. Now, as Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad uses tanks and live bullets to smash a wave of street protests, the relative silence from Arab capitals …

DNE

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