• Alleged Islamic State militants known as 'Beatles' headed to U.S. to face charges
    WASHINGTON, October 7 (Reuters): Two alleged Islamic State militants known as the 'Beatles' will arrive in the United States on Wednesday to face trial on U.S. charges for their alleged involvement in beheadings of American hostages in Syria, the U.S. Department of Justice said. The alleged militants, Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, have been in U.S. military custody abroad since they were captured in 2019. They grew up in Britain and were UK citizens, but the Br
  • Syria's Assad blames Turkey for fighting between Azeris and Armenians
    YEREVAN/BAKU, October 6 (Reuters): Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accused Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan of being the main instigator in the deadliest fighting between Armenian and Azeri forces for more than 25 years. In an interview published on Tuesday that is likely to exacerbate international frictions over the clashes in the South Caucasus region, Assad also said militants from Syria were being deployed to the conflict area. Turkey has denied involvement in the fi
  • Syria seeks more Russian investment as U.S. sanctions hammer economy
    MOSCOW/AMMAN, September 7 (Reuters): President Bashar al Assad said on Monday he wanted to expand business ties with Russia to help Damascus cope with new U.S. sanctions on Syria's already crippled economy that threaten to undermine military gains achieved with Moscow's help. Assad, speaking in comments made during a meeting in Damascus with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and carried by state media, said he wanted Russian i
  • Hezbollah will avenge slain fighter, leader warns Israel
    BEIRUT, August 30 (Reuters): Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said on Sunday it was only a matter of time before the group killed an Israeli soldier to avenge the death of one its fighters in Syria and that it would not be drawn into clashes on the Lebanon-Israel frontier. Israel and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah last fought a war in 2006, and tensions on the Israel-Lebanon border have been running high after the Shi'ite movement said one of its members was killed in
  • Syria Constitutional Committee 'on hold' after three members test positive for COVID-19: U.N.
    GENEVA, August 24 (Reuters): The Syrian Constitutional Committee, which began its first session in nine months in Geneva on Monday as part of efforts to find a political solution to end Syria's war, was swiftly put "on hold" after three members tested positive for COVID-19, the United Nations said. Hours earlier, U.S. Syria envoy James Jeffrey told reporters that the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had agreed "under some Russian pressure&q
  • Syria says pipeline blast was terrorist attack, U.S. suspects IS
    CAIRO, August 24 (Reuters): The Syrian government said an explosion on a main gas pipeline traversing the Middle East on Monday was the result of a terrorist attack, and the United States said it suspected Islamic State militants of carrying out the sabotage. The blast caused a blackout across Syria, but power was gradually being restored, officials said. It took place on the Arab Gas Pipeline between the towns of Ad Dumayr and Adra, northwest of the capital Damascus. &qu
  • Syria's Assad stops speech due to low blood pressure before resuming - state TV
    AMMAN, August 12 (Reuters): Syrian President Bashar al Assad suffered low blood pressure for a few minutes while delivering a speech to parliament before resuming normally, state television said on Wednesday. It said the speech which was supposed to be delivered at around noon would now be broadcast in full at 6:30 p.m. The channel gave no further details. "This was a result of a small drop in blood pressure that Mr President suffered before he resumed his speech nor
  • Erdogan says Turkey will remain in Syria 'until Syrian people are free'
    ANKARA, July 21 (Reuters): President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkish forces, which have carried out several incursions into northern Syria since 2016, would remain in the country until Syrians can live in freedom and safety. "Nowadays they are holding an election, a so-called election," Erdogan said of a parliamentary election on Sunday in Syria's government-controlled regions, after nearly a decade of civil war. "Until the Syrian people are free,
  • Syria goes to the polls as new sanctions hit war-ravaged economy
    DAMASCUS/BEIRUT, July 19 (Reuters): Syria held a parliamentary election on Sunday, gripped by a collapsing economy and new U.S. sanctions after President Bashar al-Assad clawed back control of most of the country.   People voted across government territory at more than 7,000 polling stations, including for the first time in former rebel bastions that the army has recaptured over the last two years.   Assad's opponents denounced the vote as a farce, nearly
  • Lives will be lost as Syria aid access cut, aid agencies warn
    BEIRUT, July 12 (Reuters): A U.N. Security Council resolution that leaves only one of two border crossings open for aid deliveries from Turkey into rebel-held northwestern Syria will cost lives and intensify the suffering of 1.3 million people living there, aid agencies said.   Western states had pressed for aid access to continue through two crossings at the Turkish border, but Russia, President Bashar al-Assad's main ally in his war against, and China vetoed a las
  • U.N. seeks billions more aid for Syrians beset by war and COVID-19
    BRUSSELS, June 30 (Reuters): The United Nations pushed governments at a virtual conference on Tuesday for nearly $10 billion in aid for Syria, where nine years of war has displaced millions in a humanitarian crisis exacerbated by soaring food prices and the coronavirus crisis.   The now annual fund-raising round for Syria brought together 60 governments and non-official agencies via video in an event hosted by the European Union (EU) and due to end at 1600 GMT.
  • No sweet victory for Assad as economy collapses and U.S. sanctions hit
    BEIRUT/AMMAN, June 24 (Reuters): Just last year, President Bashar al-Assad seemed on the brink of crowning military victories by easing his diplomatic isolation and recovering more of Syria without a bullet being fired.   Not only had U.S.-allied Kurds invited government forces back to the northeast, but businessmen from the once hostile United Arab Emirates visited Damascus to scout out investment opportunities and regional trade had started to pick up.   Th
  • Iran rejects U.S. sanctions on Syria, vows to boost trade with ally
    DUBAI, June 18 (Reuters): Iran on Thursday condemned as inhumane a fresh round of U.S. sanctions against its regional ally Syria and said it would expand its trade ties with Damascus.   The United States on Wednesday imposed its toughest sanctions targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to choke off revenue for his government and force it back to U.N.-led negotiations on ending his country's war.   "As the world is involved with the Corona pandemi
  • U.S. hits Syria with toughest sanctions yet to push Assad to end war
    WASHINGTON, June 17 (Reuters): The United States on Wednesday imposed its toughest sanctions ever targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to choke off revenue for his government in a bid to force it back to United Nations-led negotiations and broker an end to the country's nearly decade-long war.   The fresh round of sanctions on Syria penalize 39 companies and individuals, including Assad and his wife Asma, whom along with her family Secretary of State Mike Pompeo de
  • Syria's Assad removes prime minister as economic hardship grows
    AMMAN, June 11 (Reuters): Syrian President Bashar al Assad on Thursday dismissed prime minister Imad Khamis, state media said, in a move that follows weeks of deepening economic hardship and a rare outbreak of anti-Assad protests in government-held areas. State media did not give a reason for the sudden decision, announced in a presidential decree that designated water resources minister Hussein Arnous as Khamis' successor.   But Syria has been in the throes of an e