Latest Lebanon News

  • Talks between Lebanese political rivals postponed on final day 18 hours ago

    Lebanon's parliament speaker cancelled the last day of this week's meeting aimed at discussing ways out of a political crisis after politicians made no progress on issues including high-level security appointments, the National News Agency said. The three-day "national dialogue" called by Nabih Berri started on Tuesday and was aimed at finding solutions to a stalemate that has paralysed government and helped fuel weeks of street protests. The talks were set to run into Thursday but Berri postponed the next session until Oct. 26. More »

  • EU talks tough on deportations amid flood of Syrian refugees
    EU talks tough on deportations amid flood of Syrian refugees Wed, Oct 7, 2015

    By Alastair Macdonald LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - European Union governments are set to agree on Thursday to step up deportations of illegal immigrants among the hundreds of thousands who have failed to win asylum as they try to cope with a surge in refugees from war-torn Syria. Diplomats say interior ministers meeting in Luxembourg should agree, among other things, to back the detention of those who may abscond before expulsion and exert more pressure on African and other poor states, including via aid budgets, to make them accept the return of citizens refused entry to Europe. In the evening, they will be joined by EU foreign ministers and delegations from Balkan states, Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon for talks on stemming migrant flows that have plunged the bloc into crisis, dividing members over how to secure the EU external borders and how to share responsibility for housing refugees. More »

  • Sursock reborn as Beirut's first interactive museum
    Sursock reborn as Beirut's first interactive museum Wed, Oct 7, 2015

    From nighttime walks around the city to workshops on art conservation, Beirut's grandiose Sursock Museum reopens this week as Lebanon's first interactive museum of contemporary art. More »

  • Russian strikes were planned for months - Syria minister Mon, Oct 5, 2015

    Russian airstrikes in Syria had been planned months in advance and will be successful because of their coordination with the Syrian military, Syria's foreign minister was quoted as saying by state news agency SANA on Monday. "Without a doubt, Russia will win this race," Walid al-Moualem said in an interview with Lebanon-based channel al-Mayadeen, according to a preview of his comments published on SANA. "I have no doubt at all and the reason behind that is practical and simple, it is because Russia is coordinating with the Syrian Arab Army, which is the only force in Syria that is confronting terrorism," Moualem said. More »

  • Bomb in Lebanon targets bus heading to Syria, no casualties Mon, Oct 5, 2015

    BEIRUT (Reuters) - A bomb went off in Lebanon on Monday targeting a minibus transporting passengers to Syria, and a second explosive device was found near a Lebanese customs office at the Syrian-Lebanese border and defused, a security source said. There were no casualties from the roadside explosion near the bus in the town of Chtaura in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley, the source said. (Writing by Tom Perry; Editing by Toby Chopra) More »

  • U.N. forced to halt planned humanitarian work under Syria ceasefire deal Fri, Oct 2, 2015

    By Tom Miles GENEVA (Reuters) - The United Nations has been forced to suspend planned humanitarian operations in Syria under a ceasefire agreement due to a "surge of military activity", a spokeswoman for U.N. envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said on Friday. Aid activities including evacuations of wounded had been planned in Zabadani, a town surrounded by pro-government forces near the Lebanon border, and in rebel-besieged Shi'ite villages in the northwestern province of Idlib in a deal agreed with U.N. help and backed by Iran and Turkey. "The U.N. calls on all concerned parties to fulfil their responsibilities in the protection of civilians and reach the necessary understandings in order to implement this agreement as soon as possible," De Mistura's office said in a statement that made no explicit reference to Russia's bombing in Syria for a third day. More »

  • Russia jets strike Islamic State in northern Syria - al-Mayadeen TV Thu, Oct 1, 2015

    Russian warplanes bombed an airbase in northern Syria on Thursday in what appeared to be Russia's first strikes on a known Islamic State-held target, as well as other areas in the west and east of the country, al-Mayadeen TV said. The strikes hit areas including Tabqa airbase in Raqqa province, an Islamic State stronghold, the channel said in a newsflash citing its correspondent. Lebanon-based al-Mayadeen has good contacts in Syria. More »

  • Assad allies, including Iranians, prepare ground attack in Syria: sources Thu, Oct 1, 2015

    Hundreds of Iranian troops arrived in Syria 10 days ago with weapons to take part in ground operations in rebel-held areas of northern Syria, and Lebanon's ally Hezbollah is preparing to join the operation, Lebanese sources told Reuters on Thursday. The ground operation together with the Syrian army would accompany air strikes mounted by the Russian air force, the sources who were briefed on the matter said. More »

  • Senior Iran diplomat missing after hajj tragedy
    Senior Iran diplomat missing after hajj tragedy Wed, Sep 30, 2015

    A senior Iranian diplomat and former ambassador to Lebanon is missing after the deadly stampede at last week's hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, officials in Tehran said on Wednesday. More »

  • Lebanon arrests 40 Palestinians leaving for Europe Wed, Sep 30, 2015

    Lebanese security forces arrested 40 Palestinians on Wednesday as they tried to leave by boat from the northern city of Tripoli for a journey towards Europe, the National News Agency said. The group, which included men and women, was aiming to reach Germany and had come from the large, long-established Ain al-Hilweh Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon's south, NNA said. There was no immediate comment from Lebanese justice authorities, but it is an offence to enter Tripoli's port area without a security clearance or ferry ticket. More »

  • Lebanon activists block ministry in electricity protest
    Lebanon activists block ministry in electricity protest Tue, Sep 29, 2015

    Dozens of protesters blocked access to Lebanon's energy ministry early on Tuesday in a surprise demonstration against the notoriously ineffective and costly electricity sector. More »

  • As insults fly, Iran-Saudi haj row aggravates regional rifts
    As insults fly, Iran-Saudi haj row aggravates regional rifts Mon, Sep 28, 2015

    By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin and Noah Browning DUBAI (Reuters) - For regional adversaries at loggerheads over the crises in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, the disaster at the haj is unlikely to be a game changer in the contest between Iran and Saudi Arabia, merely adding venom to their mutual acrimony. While the Gulf rivals have managed to put aside bad blood after past flare-ups, such moments of detente happened in a much more stable Middle East, years before turmoil in Iraq and Arab Spring uprisings unleashed sectarian hatreds across the region. Today, Iranian and Saudi participation would be crucial in stabilising Iraq, Syria, Yemen or Lebanon, where the two sides back sectarian proxy forces that are either at daggers drawn or openly at war in conflicts killing thousands each month. More »

  • Two wounded rebels evacuated from Syria under ceasefire deal - monitor Sun, Sep 27, 2015

    Two wounded rebel fighters were evacuated to Lebanon on Sunday from a Syrian town surrounded by pro-government forces, a monitoring organisation said, in the first sign that a local ceasefire agreement is being implemented. A U.N. vehicle transported the two fighters, as well as the father of one of them, from the Syrian town of Zabadani to Lebanon, after an agreement with government forces and Damascus ally Hezbollah to grant safe passage, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The ceasefire deal, restricted to two areas in Syria, was reached with help from the United Nations and involvement by Iran, which supports the government of President Bashar al-Assad, and Turkey, which backs the rebels fighting against it. More »

  • Wounded Syria rebels evacuated to Lebanon as part of truce: monitor
    Wounded Syria rebels evacuated to Lebanon as part of truce: monitor Sun, Sep 27, 2015

    Two severely wounded Islamist rebels were rushed out of a flashpoint rebel bastion in Syria to Lebanon on Sunday as part of a truce in flashpoint areas, a monitor said. More »

  • Haj death toll rises to 769, Iran denounces 'crime'
    Haj death toll rises to 769, Iran denounces 'crime' Sat, Sep 26, 2015

    By Noah Browning DUBAI (Reuters) - The death toll in a crush at the annual haj pilgrimage outside Mecca rose to 769, Saudi Arabia said on Saturday, as arch-rival Iran said Saudi officials should be tried in an international court for what it called a crime. Shi'ite Muslim Iran, which is locked in a series of proxy wars in Arab countries around the Sunni Muslim kingdom, says that at least 136 Iranians are among the dead, sparking protests and outrage in the Islamic Republic on Friday. Over 300 other Iranians remain unaccounted for, including former ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi, Fars news agency reported. More »

  • Hezbollah confirms 6-month truce deal for three Syria towns
    Hezbollah confirms 6-month truce deal for three Syria towns Fri, Sep 25, 2015

    Lebanon's Shiite movement Hezbollah, an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, confirmed Friday a six-month truce had been agreed for the rebel-held town of Zabadani and two Shiite towns in the northwest. More »

  • Hezbollah leader confirms localised ceasefire deal in Syria Fri, Sep 25, 2015

    BEIRUT (Reuters) - Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah confirmed on Friday that a deal had been reached between Syrian pro-government forces and insurgents in two areas of the country that included a six-month ceasefire. The deal, which would see rebels withdraw from a town near the border with Lebanon and the evacuation of besieged civilians from two villages in the northwest, would take place in two stages, Nasrallah said in a live interview with Al-Manar TV. Reuters reported the deal on Thursday. (Reporting by John Davison; Editing by Mark Heinrich) More »

  • Syrian rock musicians on unexpected 'exile tour' through Europe
    Syrian rock musicians on unexpected 'exile tour' through Europe Thu, Sep 24, 2015

    Like tens of thousands of their fellow countrymen fleeing war, members of a Syrian rock group exiled in Lebanon undertook a perilous journey to reach Europe. More »

  • Migrant crisis: EU pledges €1bn to help Syria's neighbours stem flows to …
    Migrant crisis: EU pledges €1bn to help Syria's neighbours stem flows to … Thu, Sep 24, 2015

    European Union leaders who held an emergency meeting to discuss the migrant crisis have pledged at least €1bn (£700m, $1.1bn) for Syrian refugees in neighbourng countries in the Middle East and closer cooperation to help reduce the flow of migrants into Europe. Short term actions before the next regular summit for EU leaders in mid-October includes additional funding to the United Nations refugee agency, its World Food Programme and other agencies, as well as increased funding to Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, which have taken in millions of Syrians fleeing their home country. In announcing the measures agreed by EU leaders, European Council President Donald Tusk said the aim of the emergency meeting was to "end the public finger pointing" among members, who have lashed out at each other throughout the crisis. More »

  • Syrian refugee crisis: 20,000 journeys to the UK
    Syrian refugee crisis: 20,000 journeys to the UK Wed, Sep 23, 2015

    The first of the 20,000 Syrian refugees the British prime minister David Cameron has promised to resettle over the coming five years have arrived in the UK. Instead, Cameron said the UK will take refugees directly from the camps around Syria, such as in Lebanon and Iraq, where aid agencies are working around the clock to keep people fed, watered, clothed and sheltered. As the first of the 20,000 Syrians find safety in the UK, here is how the process works, from the camps of the Middle East to the streets of Britain. More »

  • Migrant Crisis: David Cameron says Europe must work to keep Syrian refugees …
    Migrant Crisis: David Cameron says Europe must work to keep Syrian refugees … Wed, Sep 23, 2015

    David Cameron has said Britain and its European partners must work harder to keep Syrian refugees away from the continent and do more to return migrants who don't have real claims of asylum. The prime minster made the remarks while meeting with French President Francois Hollande ahead of a meeting of the European Council on the migrant crisis. A Downing Street spokesperson said the two men agreed the meeting needed to be used to focus on giving assistance to nations such as Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey "to enable more refugees to stay there". More »

  • At busy Lebanese port, Syrians set their sights on Europe Wed, Sep 23, 2015

    By Sylvia Westall TRIPOLI, Lebanon (Reuters) - Hundreds of Syrians gather at dusk for a passenger ferry from Lebanon's northern port of Tripoli to Turkey, the next step on their long trek towards what they hope will be a better, safer life in western Europe. For more than four years, Lebanon has drawn refugees fleeing Syria but in the past three months it has increasingly become a 24-hour transit point for mainly middle class Syrians who can afford to take the onward trip by boat and plane. "Syria is finished, there is nothing there. More »