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Syria peace conference kicks off in Switzerland

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday opened a long-awaited international peace conference for Syria in the most serious effort yet to end the bloodshed. The Syrian parties "can make a new beginning... This conference is your opportunity to ..……

U.S. pledges $380 million in humanitarian aid to Syria as UN sends distress call

The United States has pledged $380 million of supplementary humanitarian aid to Syria, State Secretary John Kerry announced Wednesday at a donors conference held in Kuwait to raise $6.5 billion. The aid will go to people affected by the war in Syria……

Syria misses deadline to remove chemical weapons

A December 31 deadline to remove part of the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons arsenal from the country for destruction has been missed, with ships due to receive the materials returning to Cyprus. In Syria, meanwhile, a newspaper quoted government officials as saying invitations to a peace meeting in Switzerland next…

How the Pentagon plans to destroy Syria’s stockpile at sea

Chemical weapons: How Pentagon plans to destroy Syria’s stockpile at sea (via The Christian Science Monitor) This citizen journalism image provided by the United media office of Arbeen which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a member of UN investigation team taking samples of…

Jihadists cut down 150-year-old oak in Syria

Jihadists cut down a 150-year-old oak tree in Atme, on Syria’s border with Turkey, after they accused locals of worshipping it, a pro-jihadist source said. “Thank God almighty, the tree… aged more than 150 years has been removed, after people were worshipping it instead of God,” said the source on…

Syrian film becomes festival favorite following dangerous wartime shoot

A Syrian film that has scooped a string of prestigious awards in recent months barely made it to screens because of the dangers the crew faced in the war-ravaged country, its director told AFP. Filmmaker Basil al-Khatib’s Mariam won prizes at festivals in Cairo on October 13, at Oran in…

UN chief urges action on Syria humanitarian crisis

UN chief Ban Ki-moon called Tuesday for “action” over the dire humanitarian situation in conflict-torn Syria as efforts were underway to destroy the regime’s chemical weapons. “The Security Council has… made a strong commitment to relieve the humanitarian situation to reach millions of desperate civilians. Now these commitments must be…

Few women waging war via ‘sex jihad’

The number of Tunisian women travelling to Syria to wage “sex jihad” by comforting Islamists fighting the regime is very low, a senior interior ministry official told AFP on Sunday. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, seemed to play down previous government statements that suggested “sex jihad” was more…

More than 115,000 people have been killed in Syria’s civil war

At least 115,206 people have been killed in Syria’s devastating 30-month conflict, most of them fighters from both sides, a monitoring group said on Tuesday. “The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has documented the deaths of 115,206 people from the start of Syria’s revolution on March 18, 2011 to September…

‘Sex jihad’ almost certainly a hoax

Over the past few weeks, various media outlets have been awash with sensational stories of an alleged “sex jihad” taking place in parts of Syria controlled by the rebels. Hundreds of Muslim women, notably from Tunisia, are reportedly going to Syria to offer themselves to jihadist fighters as a sign…

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