May 24, 2012 |
DAMASCUS, Syria - The nation's oil minister blamed international sanctions Wednesday for shortages of cooking gas and other basic goods, saying the measures have bled $4 billion from the nation's ailing economy. President Bashar al-Assad's regime must strike a delicate balance toward the U.S. and EU sanctions as it confronts a 15-month-old uprising against its rule, acknowledging their heavy toll while denying the regime's grip on power is in any way shaken. Sufian Allaw said the punitive measures were to blame for the shortages that have left Syrians standing in long lines to pay inflated prices for cooking gas, fuel, sugar and other staples.
December 11, 2011 |
BEIRUT, Lebanon - Syrian forces fired on funeral processions and clashed with army defectors Saturday, killing at least 12 people as France called on the international community to "save the Syrian people. " The nine-month-old uprising against Syria's authoritarian president, Bashar al-Assad, has grown increasingly violent in recent months, as once-peaceful protesters took up arms and rebel soldiers fought back against the army. Some of the worst bloodshed has been in Homs, the central city that has emerged as the epicenter of the revolt, and there are concerns a renewed assault could be imminent.
March 13, 2012 |
UNITED NATIONS - The United States and Russia clashed over Syria at the United Nations on Monday after Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged the divided Security Council to speak with one voice and help the Mideast nation "pull back from the brink of a deeper catastrophe. " Washington and Moscow both called for an end to the bloody yearlong conflict - but on different terms, leaving in doubt prospects of breaking a deadlock in the council over a new resolution. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton rejected any equivalence between the "premeditated murders" carried out by President Bashar al-Assad's "military machine" and the civilians under siege driven to self-defense.
March 5, 2012 |
BEIRUT, Lebanon - Saudi Arabia said Sunday that Syrians have a right to take up arms to defend themselves against the regime and accused the Damascus government of "imposing itself by force," as concerns mounted over a humanitarian crisis there. In a rare televised news conference, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal said the kingdom welcomed international efforts to broker a cease-fire in Syria but added that they have "failed to stop the massacres. " "Is there something greater than the right to defend oneself and to defend human rights?"
August 22, 2011 |
CAIRO - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Sunday repeated promises of changes and warned of "repercussions" should the West intervene militarily in the uprising threatening his family's four-decade rule. Assad's remarks during a choreographed question-and-answer session that aired live on state TV did not diverge from the message his regime had sent since the rebellion started in the spring: Change is coming soon, the uprising is the work of militants, and interference from the West is an assault on Syria's sovereignty.
June 3, 2012 |
BEIRUT - Gun battles between pro- and anti-Syrian groups in northern Lebanon killed at least seven people and wounded 22 on Saturday, security officials said, as activists reported fresh shelling in a region in central Syria where a massacre last week left more than 100 people dead. The clashes were the latest to hit the Lebanese port of Tripoli. Repeated outbreaks of violence in the city, the country's second largest, are seen as spillover from the conflict in neighboring Syria and have raised fears of an escalation in sectarian tensions in Lebanon.
November 14, 2012 |
BEIRUT - France on Tuesday became the first Western country to formally recognize Syria's newly formed opposition coalition as the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. The U.S. also recognized the leadership body announced in Qatar Sunday as a legitimate representative, but stopped short of describing it as the "sole" one, saying the group must first demonstrate its ability to represent Syrians inside the country. The two announcements could start a trend toward world recognition of the rebels as the legitimate government of Syria, undercutting whatever legitimacy the regime of President Bashar al-Assad still has after 20 months of a bloody civil war. "We look forward to supporting the national coalition as it charts a course for the end of Assad's bloody rule, and marks the start, we believe, of a peaceful, just, and democratic future for the people of Syria," said U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner in Washington.
May 17, 2013 |
BEIRUT - Syrian government troops on Thursday flushed out rebels who had stormed a prison compound in the northern city of Aleppo in a bid to free hundreds of political prisoners. The forced retreat was the latest setback for fighters seeking to topple President Bashar al-Assad, whose forces have been gaining ground in the country's civil war. In Washington, President Obama and the Turkish prime minister projected a united front on Syria, despite sharp differences about how much the U.S. should intervene.
February 2, 2013 |
BEIRUT - Syrian opposition leaders and rebels on Friday slammed President Bashar al-Assad for not responding to a rare Israeli air strike near Damascus, calling it proof of his weakness and acquiescence to Israel. The opposition's sharp reaction underlines how those seeking to topple the Syrian leader might be more prepared to tangle with Israel if they came to power. Wednesday's air strike that U.S. officials say hit a convoy of antiaircraft weapons bound for the militant Lebanese Hezbollah group also has fueled rage among many Syrians who say they now must fear warplanes from both Assad's forces and Israel.
January 23, 2012
Former dictator ordered to court MEXICO CITY - A Guatemalan judge has ordered former military dictator Efrain Rios Montt to appear in court Thursday, the first step in a process that could lead to his being tried on genocide charges related to Guatemala's brutal 36-year civil war. During Rios Montt's 17-month rule in 1982 and 1983, the Guatemalan army pursued a scorched-earth campaign in the Mayan highlands that included massacres. To flush out leftist guerrillas, soldiers entered Indian villages and hunted down inhabitants, slaughtering them.