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Iraq to launch mediation to end Syria crisis

DAMASCUS — Iraq’s foreign minister will hold talks with the Damascus regime and opposition groups to try to end months of unrest, as deadly clashes raged Sunday between deserters and regular troops. A senior Omani government official meanwhile said the Arab League was “optimistic” that by Monday Syria will sign…

UN estimates over 5,000 dead in Syria crackdown

Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad killed at least 13 people on Tuesday, reports said after the UN estimated more than 5,000 have died in a nine-month crackdown on dissent. UN rights chief Navi Pillay gave the latest death toll — amounting to a jump of 1,000 in less than…

France condemns UN Council silence on Syria deaths

UNITED NATIONS — France’s UN envoy said Monday that the UN Security Council is “morally responsible” for killings in Syria by failing to condemn the government crackdown on protests. But in a sign of growing divisions within the 15-member council over Syria, Russia’s ambassador accused western nations of seeking “regime…

Barbara Walters calls Syrian dictator a ‘mild-mannered ophthalmologist’

ABC News personality Barbara Walters went to Syria this week to interview dictator Bashar al-Assad about his deadly crackdown on protesters and came back to report that he was “not a wild, crazy man.” “Bashar al-Assad is a dictator by accident, a mild-manner ophthalmologist,” Walters told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos Wednesday.…

Syria says pipeline blown up by rebel saboteurs

BEIRUT (Reuters) – A Syrian pipeline carrying oil from the east of the country to a vital refinery in Homs was blown up Thursday in what the official news agency SANA said was an act of sabotage by an armed terrorist group. Opposition activists said flames and clouds of thick…

US, EU impose new Syria sanctions as death toll rises

Europe and the United States tightened economic sanctions onSyria Thursday, ramping up international pressure as the UN said more than 4,000 people have died in a crackdown on dissidents. The violence on the ground spread, and a Syrian human rights group said troops raided towns and villages in the flashpoint provinces…

Thousands in Syria rally against Arab sanctions

Tens of thousands of Syrians demonstrated in the capital Monday against the Arab League decision to impose crippling sanctions onPresident Bashar al-Assad’s regime, an AFP correspondent reported. Protesters waved Syrian flags and carried giant portraits of the embattled leader as they belted nationalistic songs in Damascus’ central Sabaa Bahrat square. “The people…

Gulf states advise nationals to leave Syria

Bahrain and Qatar on Sunday called on their citizens to leave unrest-swept Syria after the United Arab Emirates also advised its citizens to stay away. The call, issued on the day the Arab League was deciding on sanctions against Damascus over its deadly crackdown on dissent, was issued because of…

At least 17 killed in Syria violence: activists

NICOSIA — Eleven members of Syria’s security forces and two deserters were killed in clashes on Thursday in the flashpoint province of Homs, where at least four civilians also died, activists said. “Eleven soldiers and members of the security forces were killed in skirmishes” with deserters in the town of…

Death toll in new Syria violence hits 33: NGO

The death toll from a new surge of violence in Syrian flashpoints has risen to at least 33, activists said Wednesday, adding that among the dead are six children and teenagers and five army defectors. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a statement received in Nicosia that 28 civilians were…

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