June 18, 2013 |
AMMAN, Jordan - 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. Despite official statements by the Obama administration that a decision to arm the rebels was made on June 13, preparations were seen by McClatchy on the ground days earlier. In addition to the 300 U.S. Marines who Jordanian officials said were currently stationed along Jordan's northern border with Syria, meetings were held between Syrian rebels and U.S. officials more than 10 days ago to establish what type of weapons the White House is willing to provide.
June 16, 2013 |
BEIRUT - Syrian troops pushed forward with their offensive against rebels Saturday, capturing a suburb near the Damascus international airport as the U.S. warned that the alleged use of chemical weapons by President Bashar al-Assad's forces and the involvement of the Iranian-backed militant group Hezbollah in the civil war threaten to put a proposed political settlement out of reach. The United States and Russia have been pressing for a peace conference to end Syria's civil war in Geneva, but prospects for that have been dampened after a series of regime battlefield victories and hardened positions by both sides as the death toll from the more than two-year-old conflict has surged to nearly 93,000.
June 13, 2013 |
BEIRUT - Syrian rebels, including Sunni extremists, stormed a village and battled pro-regime militiamen, killing more than 60 Shiite fighters and civilians in an attack steeped in the sectarian hatreds that increasingly characterize the civil war, activists said Wednesday. In the raid, which comes at a time when the West is worried that extremists are increasingly joining the rebellion, the victorious fighters raised black Sunni Islamist flags over the eastern village of Hatla. In amateur videos, the fighters - some wearing al-Qaeda-style headbands - vented anti-Shiite slurs and fired in the air. "The homes of the infidel Shiites were burned," the voice behind the camera in one video shouted as smoke rose in the background from several houses.
June 8, 2013 |
QUNEITRA, Golan Heights - Syrian rebels briefly seized control of a border crossing along the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights on Thursday, prompting the withdrawal of a major Austrian peacekeeping contingent and heightening fears in Israel that it could soon be dragged into the neighboring country's civil war. From the Israeli side of the Golan, Syrian tanks and armored vehicles could be seen across the border. Explosions could be heard throughout the day, and smoke and flames rose from the area.
June 4, 2013 |
BEIRUT - Syrian rebels and Hezbollah guerrillas battled Sunday in their worst clashes yet inside Lebanon. Syria's foreign minister, meanwhile, rebuffed an appeal by the U.N. and the Red Cross to let humanitarian aid reach thousands of civilians trapped in the rebel-held town of Qusair, under regime attack for the past three weeks. The Red Cross said many of the wounded were not receiving desperately needed medical care. Meanwhile, thousands of Hezbollah militants were massed around the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Sunday, according to rebels and a senior commander in the Lebanese Shiite movement, broadening Hezbollah's backing of President Bashar al-Assad's forces and stoking fears of an imminent assault on the city.
June 2, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - Syrian rebels battling the forces of President Bashar al-Assad must receive ammunition and heavy weapons to counter the regime's tanks and aircraft or it will be impossible for them to prevail, Sen. John McCain said days after he quietly slipped into Syria to meet with the opposition. "They just can't fight tanks with AK-47s," McCain said Friday in a telephone interview. The Republican lawmaker and 2008 presidential candidate made an unannounced visit to Syria on Monday, traveling across the border near Kilis, Turkey, and spending about two hours meeting with rebel leaders.
May 30, 2013 |
LONDON - A day after securing an end to the European Union's weapons embargo on Syria, Britain and France are facing criticism from Russia, and pressure at home and abroad, to show restraint before acting to arm the rebels seeking to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Britain, along with France, scored a diplomatic victory in Paris on Monday, effectively blocking an attempt by other European nations to extend the regional embargo that has prevented them from sending weapons to help the Syrian opposition.
May 28, 2013 |
BRUSSELS, Belgium - The European Union has decided to lift the arms embargo on the Syrian opposition while maintaining all other sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad's regime after June 1, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said late Monday. The decision "sends a very strong message from Europe to the Assad regime," Hague said after an all-day meeting that laid bare EU hesitation on feeding arms in a foreign conflict only months after it won the Nobel Peace Prize. Hague insisted that Britain had "no immediate plans to send arms to Syria.
May 26, 2013 |
NEW DELHI - Suspected Maoist rebels set off a land mine and opened fire Saturday on a convoy of cars carrying local leaders and supporters of India's ruling Congress party in eastern India, killing at least 17 people and wounding 24, police said. Senior police officer M. Gupta said the attack occurred in the Sukma area, about 215 miles south of Raipur, the capital of Chhattisgarh state. Two state party leaders and five police officers were among those killed in the attack, said R. K. Vij, a top state police officer.
May 24, 2013 |
AMMAN, Jordan - The United States and its partners will widen support for the Syrian rebels, potentially by sending more weapons or taking other measures short of sending U.S. forces, if diplomacy fails to end a civil war that has killed "upwards of 100,000" people, Secretary of State John Kerry said Wednesday. With the Syrian rebels he is trying to help in disarray, Kerry lowered expectations for an international effort to draw rebels and a resurgent Syrian regime to the bargaining table.