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Russia urges Syrian president to meet with moderate rebels

Russia said on Tuesday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could engage in peace talks with the more moderate elements of the armed opposition at a meeting in Geneva next month. “I do not rule out that the armed opposition, if it does not stand for extremist or terrorist views, could…

Report: Half of Syrian rebels are hardline jihadists or Al-Qaeda operatives

AFP – Jihadists and members of hardline Islamist groups make up almost half of forces fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, according to extracts from a British defence study published in Monday’s Daily Telegraph. The analysis by defence consultancy IHS Jane’s, due to be published in full later this week,…

Is Assad just buying time with his pledge to turn over chemical weapons?

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may have averted a US strike by agreeing to hand over his chemical arsenal but the move could backfire against his weakened regime, analysts say. Damascus quickly embraced a Russian plan for it to hand over its chemical arsenal. The initiative defused talk of a strike,…

Senators file resolution to arm Syria opposition

WASHINGTON — Senior US lawmakers filed a resolution Wednesday in the Senate condemning deadly violence ordered by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and urging the arming of the country’s opposition. Republican Senator John McCain presented the text, co-sponsored by four other senators including Lindsey Graham and independent Joe Lieberman, “condemning…

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…

Syria’s Assad denies orders to kill

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad denied ordering the killing of thousands of protesters and said “only a crazy person” would target his own people, in a rare US interview released Wednesday. Speaking to ABC News, Assad brushed off widening international sanctions and questioned the UN death toll of more than 4,000 since the eruption of…

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