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Syrian President Assad claims the country’s civil war is turning in his regime’s favor

Syria’s Assad says war turning in regime’s favour (via AFP) Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad said Sunday the three-year war tearing the country apart is turning in the government’s favour, state television reported. “This is a turning point in the crisis, both militarily in terms of the army’s achievements…  …

U.N. chief boots Iran out of Syria peace talks

UN leader Ban Ki-moon threw Iran out of this week’s Syria peace conference after it refused to back calls for a transitional government to end the country’s war. The unprecedented diplomatic action averted a Syrian opposition boycott of the talks which start in the Swiss town of Montreux on Wednesday.…

Assad will remain in office and may run for re-election, Syrian official says

Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad will remain in office, and has the right to decide to run for re-election next year, Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi said on Tuesday. “Syria is staying put: the state, the nation, the people and the president. This is the Syrians’ choice,” Zohbi told journalists. “All the…

Assad says Syria ‘will comply’ with UN arms motion

Damascus “will comply” with a UN Security Council resolution ordering the destruction of the country’s chemical arsenal, President Bashar al-Assad told Italian channel Rai News 24. In remarks republished by Syrian state news agency SANA, Assad also said that “so long as the United States is honest,” a US-Iranian rapprochement…

Sidelined France still determined to go after Assad

Sidelined from the US-Russia negotiations on chemical weapons, France is determined that demands for President Bashar al-Assad to be tried for war crimes do not drop off the rapidly shifting international agenda. Publicly, France hailed Saturday’s deal in Geneva to eliminate Assad’s deadly chemical arsenal by mid-2014. But privately there…

Top Syrian diplomat passes Assad’s thanks to Russia

Syria’s foreign minister on Monday passed on the personal thanks of President Bashar al-Assad to Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for his support, as he held talks in Moscow amid growing expectations of military action against the regime. Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem held talks with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov as US…

Syria chemical weapons attack not ordered by Assad, says German press

Bild am Sonntag cites high-level German surveillance source suggesting Syrian president was not personally behind attacks President Bashar al-Assad did not personally order last month’s chemical weapons attack near Damascus that has triggered calls for US military intervention, and blocked numerous requests from his military commanders to use chemical weapons…

Britain to submit UN resolution on Syria

Britain will on Wednesday submit a draft resolution to the UN Security Council condemning suspected chemical attacks in Syria and demanding “all necessary measures” to protect civilians. The announcement came as the United States and its allies pressed their case for likely military action against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, despite…

Seventy-one Syrian army officers defect to Turkey

ANKARA (Reuters) – Seventy-one officers, including six generals, have defected from the Syrian army to Turkey, a Turkish official said on Saturday, the biggest single mass desertion of senior soldiers from President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces in months. It was not immediately clear why the group had deserted. Just hours…

Obama approves non-lethal aid to Syrian rebels

US President Barack Obama has approved non-lethal US aid, including communications equipment and medicines for Syria’s rebels, and plans to increase the package over time, a US official said Friday. The administration had previously indicated it would take such a step, in line with an initiative by the international “Friends…

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