Syria turns over list of chemical arsenal in 1st step of disarmament

Syria met the first deadline of its pledge to surrender its chemical weapons arsenal on Friday, delivering its initial disclosure to the headquarters of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague, Netherlands, by the time limit that Russia and the United States had set last weekend. | 09/20/13 18:25:58 By - By Matthew Schofield

Cease-fire called in Syria between Islamic group, U.S.-backed rebels

A tense cease-fire appeared Friday to have halted fighting between key factions of the rebel movement that’s battling to topple Syria’s President Bashar Assad, but questions remained over whether the arrangement could salvage the relationship between the al Qaida-linked Islamic State of Iraq and Sham and the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army, ties that have been crucial to rebel military victories. | 09/20/13 18:02:05 By - By Mitchell Prothero

Islamists’ rise in Syria undercuts Kerry’s claim they play minor role

This week’s takeover of Syrian rebel posts by al Qaida-linked fighters undercuts Secretary of State John Kerry’s assertion to Congress earlier this month that moderates make up the bulk of the guerrilla movement against President Bashar Assad’s regime and are growing stronger. | 09/19/13 19:29:10 By - By Mitchell Prothero

U.S.-backed Syrian rebels being shoved aside by radical Islamists

There’s hardly a more sensitive topic in Syria’s eastern provinces than the standoff between the U.S.-backed Free Syrian Army rebels and the Islamist militants who run much of the region, so it was no surprise that the commander of the Free Syrian Army unit in eastern Syria’s biggest town understated the state of play when he was asked earlier this summer. | 09/19/13 17:25:55 By - By Roy Gutman

U.N. calculations of poison rockets’ paths implicate Syrian guard unit

A U.N. report detailing the scientific evidence behind the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria carefully avoided laying blame for the incident. But the report’s details, particularly its calculations of the trajectories of the rockets that delivered poison gas to two Damascus suburbs, point directly at President Bashar Assad’s regime, experts concluded Tuesday after a day spent studying the U.N. findings. | 09/17/13 19:00:53 By - By Matthew Schofield

U.N. team confirms sarin attack; Assad military implicated

A United Nations report released Monday confirmed that poison gas was used against Syrian civilians in a deadly attack last month that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the most significant use of chemical weapons against civilians since Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of villagers in 1988. | 09/16/13 22:45:32 By - By Hannah Allam and Roy Gutman

UN has allegations of 14 other gas attacks in Syria by both regime and rebels

U.N. inspectors, who Monday confirmed the use of chemical weapons against a rebel-held area in the Damascus suburbs, were in Syria by coincidence, intending to investigate other gas attacks where the national government claims the rebels are responsible. | 09/16/13 20:47:42 By - By Roy Gutman

U.N. provides details of Syrian chemical attack other accounts could not

Far from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s claim Aug. 30 that “the U.N. can’t tell us anything that we . . . don’t already know,” the report provides an intricately detailed account of what happened and how it happened, and a scientific look at why it became the tragedy it did. | 09/16/13 19:51:02 By - By Matthew Schofield

Congress does something unusual on Syria – its homework

Mired in low approval ratings and saddled with the image that it does almost nothing, Congress demanded a deciding role in President Barack Obama’s drive to launch a limited military strike against Syria. | 09/16/13 15:25:13 By - By William Douglas

Deal on Syria comes after weeks of shifting steps by Obama

A U.S.-Russia deal reached Saturday that could cripple the Syrian regime’s ability to use chemical weapons is a potential achievement for President Barack Obama, whose approach to the crisis has come under fire for hesitancy and uncertainty. | 09/16/13 15:25:01 By - By Lesley Clark

Congressman concerned about attack in U.S. with Syrian chemicals

A North Carolina congressman is warning that Syrian chemical weapons, if gotten into terrorists hands, could be used to attack port cities such as Wilmington, N.C., Charleston, S.C., or Boston, killing hundreds of thousands of people. | 09/16/13 15:24:48 By - By Franco Ordonez

U.S., Russia give Assad till Friday to reveal details of Syria’s chemical weapons

The United States and Russia on Saturday reached agreement to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons, giving President Bashar Assad one week to reveal what kind of weapons his country has and where they are being kept. | 09/16/13 15:22:05 By - By Matthew Schofield

Syrian opposition stands to lose in U.S-Russian deal to disarm Assad

The U.S.-Russian deal to seize Syria’s chemical weapons is likely to keep Bashar Assad in office for at least many months to come in a major setback for Syrian opposition figures who now face the prospect of negotiating with what they fear will be an emboldened regime with its superior military intact. | 09/16/13 15:09:40 By - By Hannah Allam and Roy Gutman

Israelis cautious about U.S.-Russia deal on Syria’s chemical weapons

Israel reacted cautiously Sunday to a U.S.-Russian accord to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons by mid- 2014, with some Israeli officials questioning whether the deal could be carried out while analysts said the result was preferable to a limited military strike that would have left Syria’s chemical arsenal largely intact. | 09/16/13 15:09:12 By - By Joel Greenberg

Syrian official calls U.S.-Russia chemical weapons deal a victory for Assad

A U.S.-Russian agreement for Syria to turn over its chemical weapons stockpiles and avoid American air strikes is a ‘victory’ for President Bashar Assad, the Syrian official in charge of reaching out to the government’s opponents declared Sunday. | 09/16/13 15:09:00 By - By Mitchell Prothero

UN team confirms sarin gas used against civilians in Syria

A United Nations report released Monday confirmed that poison gas was used against Syrian civilians in a deadly attack last month that U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the most significant use of chemical weapons against civilians since Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of villagers in 1988. | 09/16/13 12:29:45 By - By Hannah Allam

UN report ‘soon’ on Damascus chemical attack as U.S., Russia talk in Geneva

As U.S. and Russian arms experts talked late into the night Friday on how to eliminate Syria’s chemical arsenal, the top official of the United Nations told an audience in New York that he believes Syrian President Bashar Assad is guilty of crimes against humanity and that a U.N. investigation will provide “overwhelming” evidence that chemical weapons were used Aug. 21 in Damascus’ eastern suburbs. | 09/13/13 12:15:22 By - By Matthew Schofield

Syria chemical weapons deal puts Russia back at center of international influence

In one day, with one simply stated proposal, Russian President Vladimir Putin turned a losing position into a winning one. | 09/11/13 15:42:17 By - By Matthew Schofield

Syria accepts Russia's chemical weapons plan; talks to start at U.N.

Hours after Syria announced that it had accepted a Russian plan for the destruction of its chemical weapons, the White House said President Obama had agreed Tuesday to "explore seriously" the Russian proposal and that talks with Russia and China would being Tuesday at the U.N. | 09/10/13 09:26:42 By - By Matthew Schofield and Anita Kumar

Syria appears to agree to Russian plan on chemical weapons

Russia on Monday urged Syria to put its chemical weapons stores under international control, intended for destruction, as a way to avoid a western military response to the alleged Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack in a Damascus suburb. | 09/09/13 12:04:37 By - By Matthew Schofield

Obama’s riddle: How to strike without sparking Syrian retaliation

With President Barack Obama lobbying Congress to agree to the United States’ punishing Syria for alleged use of chemical weapons, he must convince wary lawmakers that Syria’s response won’t lead to tit for tat retaliation that escalates the conflict. | 09/07/13 22:18:07 By - By Kevin G. Hall

Joint Statement on Syria

The Leaders and Representatives of Australia, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States of America made the following statement on the margins of the Group of 20 Nations Leader’s Meeting in Saint Petersburg, Russia: The international norm against the use of chemical weapons is longstanding and universal. The use of chemical weapons anywhere diminishes the security of people everywhere. Left unchallenged, it increases the risk of further use and proliferation of these weapons. | 09/06/13 11:32:22 By -

Russia gave UN 100-page report in July blaming Syrian rebels for Aleppo sarin attack

Russia says a deadly March sarin attack in an Aleppo suburb was carried out by Syrian rebels, not forces loyal to President Bashar Assad, and it has delivered a 100-page report laying out its evidence to the United Nations. | 09/05/13 13:07:10 By - By Matthew Schofield

Which military assets based in Washington state could go to Syria?

By air and sea, Defense Department assets based in Washington state could play a role in whatever military action the Obama administration chooses if it decides to strike Syria. But ground troops from Joint Base Lewis-McChord are unlikely to go to Syria after 10 years cycling in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan. | 09/05/13 13:06:50 By - Adam Ashton

VIDEO: McClatchy editor Mark Seibel discusses Syria on Democracy Now!

VIDEO: Chief of Correspondents and foreign editor Mark Seibel discusses Syria on Democracy Now! at 46:50 | 09/04/13 12:29:24 By -

Obama: "This is not Iraq. This is not Afghanistan."

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that any military action in Syria would be "limited" and "proportional" and doesn't involved "boots on the ground." | 09/03/13 10:26:10 By - Anita Kumar

To some, US case for Syrian gas attack, strike has too many holes

The Obama administration’s public case for attacking Syria is riddled with inconsistencies and hinges mainly on circumstantial evidence, undermining U.S. efforts this week to build support at home and abroad for a punitive strike against Bashar Assad’s regime. | 09/02/13 19:52:32 By - By Hannah Allam and Mark Seibel

Kerry says it was sarin gas in Syria; Congress questions US stake

The Obama administration pressed Congress Sunday for an expansive green light to attack Syria, amid continued Middle East turmoil and Capitol Hill skepticism from both right and left. | 09/02/13 10:37:38 By - By Michael Doyle

Obama’s proposal seeks broad war power despite vow of limits

While President Barack Obama insists he wants only a limited air attack on Syria, his proposed authorization of force would empower him to do much more than that. Congress is likely to impose tighter reins, as lawmakers have learned that presidents are prone to expand on powers once granted | 09/02/13 10:37:20 By - By Michael Doyle

Delay of airstrikes in Syria opens new push for diplomacy

As senior Obama administration officials sought support in Congress and abroad for a strike against the Syrian regime, other forces seized on the delay in a U.S. attack to make a last-ditch plea to avoid escalation. | 09/02/13 10:37:04 By - By Hannah Allam and Nancy Youssef

In Syrian refugee camp, anger at Obama

As President Barack Obama’s announcement that he was postponing U.S. missile strikes against the Syrian regime hit the Zaatari refugee camp, so did anger and fear. | 09/02/13 10:27:24 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

Ever private, Obama kept even close aides in dark about plan to go to Congress

For weeks he weighed what to do about Syria. The decision to strike came more quickly. Then, in a long walk around the White House grounds, he told a close aide of a second decision, to postpone the strikes and ask Congress for approval. | 09/01/13 14:38:30 By - By Anita Kumar and Lesley Clark

Even as U.S. strikes loom, Syrian refugees lament them as too little, too late

Marooned in the world’s second largest refugee settlement, Syrians uprooted by the mayhem in their homeland gathered in the thick afternoon heat Friday to speak eagerly about expected U.S. strikes against President Bashar Assad and their hope that U.S. cruise missiles will drive him from power. | 09/01/13 06:36:58 By - Jonathan S. Landay

Chemical weapons experts weigh in on Syria intelligence report

International chemical weapons experts generally agree that the evidence presented Friday in an unclassified U.S. report about the alleged use of chemical weapons in Syria seems stronger than the faulty intelligence employed to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq. | 09/01/13 06:36:40 By - By Lindsay Wise and Anita Kumar

Obama asks Congress for OK to hit Syria

President Barack Obama said Saturday he will ask Congress to approve military strikes against Syria’s government, a risky step likely to delay action for at least 10 days that could signal broad popular support but also could end in rejection by the legislative branch. | 09/01/13 06:36:13 By - By David Lightman, William Douglas and Anita Kumar

Obama risks embarrassing loss in Congress

President Barack Obama is taking a risk by asking Congress to approve airstrikes against Syria. | 08/31/13 18:52:03 By - By Anita Kumar and Lesley Clark

Obama opens narrow window for diplomatic action in Syria

Obama’s decision to shelve attack plans pending a vote from Congress opens a narrow door for diplomacy, though it’s unclear whether any side would negotiate now after a bitter buildup and competing claims of chemical weapons use. | 08/31/13 18:42:25 By - By Hannah Allam

Attacking Syria raises thorny questions as well as risks

The Obama administration’s preparations on Syria this week raise many thorny questions about the risks associated with launching a punitive strike against Bashar Assad’s regime over the alleged use of chemical weapons. | 08/29/13 13:53:15 By - By Hannah Allam

Fearing U.S. missiles, Syrians flood neighboring Lebanon

Lebanese media outlets – which tend to employ hyperbole on refugee matters – said tens of thousands of Syrians had used the Masnaa border crossing in the past 48 hours to flee the more than 2-year-old rebellion that has killed more than 100,000 people and threatens to enter a new phase of Western involvement. Lebanese security sources put the numbers substantially lower but said they were believed to be in the thousands. | 08/29/13 13:53:00 By - By Mitchell Prothero

Obama blames Syrian regime for chemical weapons deaths; undecided on whether to attack

In his first direct comments about the Syrian crisis, President Barack Obama said Wednesday that his government has concluded Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime is responsible for a large-scale chemical weapons attack that killed civilians but that he’s not yet decided how to respond to a breach he said demands “international consequences.” | 08/29/13 13:52:45 By - By Lindsay Wise and Lesley Clark

Congress presses Obama for more details about possible Syria strike

Any effort by President Barack Obama to launch military action against the Syrian regime faces growing resistance on Capitol Hill, as increasing numbers of lawmakers from both parties insist on having a say. | 08/29/13 13:52:32 By - By David Lightman and William Douglas

British deliberations slow rush to attack Syria for chemical weapons use

United Nations weapons inspectors said Thursday that they would be ready to leave their investigation of possible chemical weapons use in Syria on Saturday. | 08/29/13 13:52:17 By - By Matthew Schofield

ARCHIVED CHAT: What will happen in Syria?

Foreign Affairs correspondent Hannah Allam and Middle East expert Leila Hilal answer your questions about what's next in Syria. | 08/28/13 14:57:52 By - By Hannah Allam

White House 'deeply concerned' by reports of chem weapon attacks in Syria

The Obama administration says it's "deeply concerned" about reports that hundreds of Syrian civilians were killed in an attack today by government forces -- who reportedly used chemical weapons | 08/21/13 15:08:58 By - By Lesley Clark

Arab Spring leaves region unsettled, two years later

Egypt’s turmoil is a reminder that the revolution cycle in the Middle East and North Africa region is far from over and far from resolving the hopes stirred more than two years ago by the Arab Spring. | 07/05/13 15:39:24 By - Ali Watkins

U.S. to leave 700 troops in Jordan in sign of deepening involvement in Syrian crisis

In a sign of deepening U.S. involvement in the Syrian crisis, the United States is leaving 700 combat-equipped American military personnel in Jordan following the end of a joint U.S.-Jordanian training exercise, President Barack Obama told Congress Friday. | 06/24/13 07:53:30 By - By Jonathan S. Landay

U.S. slow to deliver promised aid to Syrian rebels

While State Department officials are fond of saying they’re providing hundreds of millions of dollars in assistance to the Syrian opposition, only a fraction of the promised funds has arrived, and none has gone to the political body the U.S. looks to as an alternative to President Bashar Assad’s regime. | 06/21/13 18:36:32 By - By Hannah Allam

Groundwork for arming Syrian rebels began before Obama’s announcement

The U.S. military began laying the groundwork to arm and support Syrian rebels more than a week ago, using a military exercise currently being held in Jordan as a cover for bringing in personnel and equipment. | 06/21/13 18:39:20 By - By Sheera Frenkel

Analysts: Obama is gambling on uncertain allies in new Syria push

After concluding that President Bashar Assad’s regime has used chemical weapons against rebel forces, the White House pledged Friday to send more military and financial aid to Syrian opposition groups to make them “as strong as possible.” But whether they’ll ever be strong enough to topple Assad or assert themselves to govern a post-Assad Syria are unanswered questions. | 06/21/13 18:39:35 By - By Hannah Allam

Without support, UN reports civilians hit hardest in Syrian rebellion

The United Nations on Thursday reported that at least 92,901 people have been killed in Syria’s civil war, according to a new study of casualty reports compiled by eight Syrian organizations. | 06/21/13 18:38:48 By - By Mark Seibel

U.S. says Syria used chemical weapons, will send military support to rebels

The U.S. will sendmilitary support to Syrian rebels after finding the Syrian regime used chemical weapons on the opposition “multiple times,” the White House said Thursday, escalating involvement in a civil war in which President Barack Obama has resisted military involvement. | 06/21/13 18:38:32 By - By Lesley Clark

State Department foresees few refugees from Syria this year

Despite the rising violence in Syria, the United States does not expect an influx of refugees from that country, State Department officials said Thursday. | 06/21/13 18:38:14 By - By Ali Watkins

After Assad victory over rebels in Qusayr, what’s next for Hezbollah?

The Syrian government claimed control of the strategic city of Qusayr in central Syria on Wednesday after a nearly three-week-long fight with rebels who’d held the city for a year, a victory for President Bashar Assad that raised questions about what’s next for the Hezbollah fighters considered key to the outcome. | 06/21/13 18:37:50 By - By David Enders

U.S., U.N. urge Gulf states to donate more for Syrian refugees

With its neat rows of carpeted cabins, security monitors and on-site hospital and school, the Mrigb al Fuhud camp in Jordan is opulent compared with the squalid tent cities that house other Syrian refugees. | 06/21/13 18:37:34 By - By Hannah Allam

Refugees fleeing besieged Qusayr say Syrian rebels dug in, preparing for government onslaught

The Syrian city of Qusayr lies just 10 miles over the border from Aarsal in northern Lebanon. But the Syrians now crowding into Aarsal said the trip to get here from Qusayr required walking for days. | 06/21/13 18:39:05 By - By David Enders

Bombs in Turkish border town kill dozens, intensify Turkish-Syrian tensions

A pair of car bombs killed at least 40 people and raised tensions between Turks and Syrians in this city on the Syrian-Turkish border that is a hub for refugees fleeing the fighting and rebels who use the area to resupply fighters inside Syria. | 05/11/13 15:41:57 By - By David Enders

Explainer: Chemical weapons in Syria

What do we know about how, when, where and who has used weapons in Syria's ongoing civil war. | 05/01/13 12:03:40 By - Danny Dougherty

U.S. believes Syria may have used chemical weapons; experts offer caution

Even as lawmakers pressed President Barack Obama on Thursday to take more aggressive action in Syria, questions surfaced among experts and from within the U.S. government about the strength of the evidence showing that chemical weapons have been used in that nation’s 2-year-old civil war. | 04/25/13 12:27:11 By - By Jonathan S. Landay, Matthew Schofield and Anita Kumar

Accounts of Syria rebels executing prisoners raise new human rights concerns

Syrian insurgents fighting to unseat President Bashar Assad face a growing list of accusations that they’ve carried out executions and torture, muddying the Western narrative of a heroic resistance force struggling against a vicious regime. | 01/11/13 13:32:05 By - By Hannah Allam and Austin Tice

Syrian ex-radio star Honey al Sayed struggles with exile, her country’s fate

Seven months ago, Sayed left Damascus under the pretense of pursuing her studies, though she knew she was fleeing both the regime of President Bashar Assad and a rebel movement that’s killed media personalities who are seen as pro-government. Now she’s telling her story, offering a rare portal into the regime’s propaganda machine and an explanation for why Assad remained attractive to so many Syrians for so long. | 01/11/13 13:31:40 By - By Hannah Allam

U.S. officials: Al Qaida behind Syria bombings

The Iraqi branch of al Qaida, seeking to exploit the bloody turmoil in Syria to reassert its potency, carried out two recent bombings in the Syrian capital, Damascus, and likely was behind suicide bombings Friday that killed at least 28 people in the largest city, Aleppo, U.S. officials told McClatchy. | 01/11/13 13:30:23 By - Jonathan S. Landay

In rare interviews, Syrian ex-soldiers talk of killing civilians

Former Syrian soldiers who've escaped to northern Iraq are telling grisly stories of how their units executed unarmed civilians for demonstrating against the Assad regime and staged mass reprisals when residents shot back, on one occasion lining up and shooting 30defenseless civilians. | 01/11/13 13:28:48 By - Roy Gutman

Syrian rebels’ arsenal includes remote-controlled truck bombs

Unlike the car bombs U.S. troops came to fear in the Iraq war, there’s no young fanatic at the wheel of one of the most innovative weapons rebels have deployed in their fight to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad. Instead, a controller concealed in a nearby house pilots the vehicle, packed with explosives, by remote control. | 01/11/13 13:25:44 By - By Austin Tice

Some rebels wonder if Syrian troops’ poor use of tanks, helicopters is intentional

The Syrian military, whose advantage in heavy equipment has been emphasized repeatedly by critics of the government of President Bashar Assad, rarely uses its tanks and helicopters effectively in combat against rebel forces, a shortcoming so consistent that it raises the question of whether some pilots and troops may be intentionally missing when they target rebel positions. | 01/11/13 13:25:27 By - By Austin Tice

Dash to enter Damascus with rebels shows government still in control

I'd been trying for weeks to get into Damascus. This would be no triumphant entry, however. Government troops seemed to have beaten back, at least for now, the rebel offensive that erupted after a bomb killed four senior military advisers to President Bashar Assad nearly two weeks ago. | 01/11/13 13:25:03 By - By Austin Tice

One face of the Syrian revolt: a jihadi comes home

Abu Khalid, 28, was born and reared in Daraa, the Syrian city where the revolt against President Bashar Assad began last year. For months from Jordan, he's been providing weapons and other supplies to his comrades across the border. This is his story. | 01/11/13 11:36:03 By - David Enders

In northern Syria, rebels now control many towns and villages

Amid a torrent of news coverage focused on massacres and sanctions, a major change in the Syrian political landscape has gone largely unremarked: All across northern and central Syria, in an area known as the Al Ghab Plain, a growing number of villages and towns effectively are outside government control. | 01/11/13 11:35:34 By - By David Enders

Syria’s rebel groups united only by opposition to Bashar Assad

By one count, there are more than 600 rebel battalions, large and small, though fewer than 10 stand out as having significant organizational capability across large swaths of Syrian territory. The cost of weapons and ammunition remains a major obstacle. | 01/11/13 11:33:07 By - By David Enders

Al Qaida-linked group Syria rebels once denied now key to anti-Assad victories

When the group Jabhat al Nusra first claimed responsibility for car and suicide bombings in Damascus that killed dozens last January, many of Syria’s revolutionaries claimed that the organization was a creation of the Syrian government, designed to discredit those who opposed the regime of President Bashar Assad and to hide the regime’s own brutal tactics. | 01/11/13 11:32:07 By - By David Enders

For one Syrian activist, second thoughts on the armed rebellion

Hasaka is still controlled by the Syrian government, but even from the window of a taxi it’s obvious the people here have not been spared from the country’s civil war. | 01/11/13 11:31:17 By - By David Enders

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