Latest Syria News

German-Moroccan man charged with training, fighting in Syria

BERLIN (AP) — German federal prosecutors say they have charged a German-Moroccan dual citizen with membership in a terrorist …

  • Heavy fighting as Taliban attack northern Afghan city 1 hour 4 minutes ago

    By Mirwais Harooni and Kay Johnson KABUL (Reuters) - Heavy fighting between Afghan security forces and Taliban insurgents that killed more than 30 combatants threatened a major northern city on Monday, officials said. The battle on the outskirts of Kunduz, part of an intensifying wave of attacks after the departure of most foreign troops, led President Ashraf Ghani to delay his departure on a state visit to India by several hours. Officials said hundreds of Taliban militants had attacked police and army checkposts in the province of Kunduz, the insurgents' last stronghold before U.S.-led forces drove them from power in 2001. Now they threaten to overrun parts of the provincial capital, after fighting that killed eight Afghan security personnel and at least two dozen Taliban, a spokesman for the provincial governor said. More »

  • Afghan president delays trip to India by few hours 1 hour 55 minutes ago

    KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Afghan president delayed his official trip to India by a few hours Monday to hold an emergency meeting with the NATO commander in Afghanistan and top Afghan security officials. More »

  • Army rescuer decorated after Greece shipwreck
    Army rescuer decorated after Greece shipwreck 2 hours 35 minutes ago

    ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece's Defense Ministry has honored an army sergeant shown in photographs and video footage around the world rescuing an Eritrean asylum seeker following a deadly shipwreck on the island of Rhodes. More »

  • Mediterranean migrants: Portraits of people who have crossed from Libya to Italy …
    Mediterranean migrants: Portraits of people who have crossed from Libya to Italy … 2 hours 36 minutes ago

    A surge in the number of migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean is putting a severe strain on the holding centre on the southern Sicilian island of Lampedusa. Italy's regional authorities are growing more frustrated as the ability to house new arrivals becomes increasingly difficult. Rescue services are trying to spread the arrivals between different areas of southern Italy but there are growing concerns space to hold the migrants will soon run out. photographer Dan Kitwood travelled to Lampedusa to photograph and talk to some of the recent arrivals. More »

  • Head of Iran's Guard lashes out over Saudi 'treachery'
    Head of Iran's Guard lashes out over Saudi 'treachery' 2 hours 54 minutes ago

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard on Monday accused Saudi Arabia of treachery against the Islamic world and compared the kingdom to Israel, the official IRNA news agency reported. More »

  • Serbia arrests 15 suspected migrant traffickers 4 hours ago

    BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Serbian police have arrested 15 people suspected of trafficking more than 200 migrants from Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan toward the European Union. More »

  • Why Iran is standing by its weakened, and expensive, ally Syria 4 hours ago

    Iran has proven critical in helping keep President Bashar al-Assad in power after four years of bloody war, dispatching thousands of soldiers and paramilitary fighters to bolster Syria’s flagging army and billions of dollars in loans to prop up its economy. Iranian officials have declared that Syria is of supreme strategic importance, and appear unwilling to reconsider the military option in defeating the anti-Assad rebels. The question is how much longer Iran, a country burdened by international sanctions, can afford to continue allocating funds, materiel, and manpower to Mr. Assad while incurring ever greater animosity – and now blowback – from the region’s Sunni states. “The Iranians could probably provide additional foreign fighters … but at a certain point the marginal utility of additional foreign forces becomes smaller and smaller,” says Robert Ford, a senior fellow with the Washington-based Middle East Institute and US ambassador to Syria between 2010 and 2014. More »

  • Syrian insurgents capture military base in northwest
    Syrian insurgents capture military base in northwest 4 hours ago

    BEIRUT (AP) — Islamic insurgents overran a military base at a former factory in northwestern Syria on Monday, carting off tanks and other weapons in the latest blow to President Bashar Assad's forces in the region, activists said. More »

  • Insight - Set to begin, U.S. plan for Syrian rebels already mired in doubt
    Insight - Set to begin, U.S. plan for Syrian rebels already mired in doubt 4 hours ago

    By Dasha Afanasieva, Warren Strobel and Phil Stewart REYHANLI, Turkey/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Hundreds of Syrian rebels are approaching the start of U.S. training to battle Islamic State, without knowing whether or how Washington would come to their aid on the battlefield and as other rebel leaders say the proxy army could spark opposition infighting. The U.S. plan to train and arm a force that is expected to eventually total more than 15,000 troops and to get underway in the coming weeks is a major test of President Barack Obama's strategy of engaging local partners to combat extremists. Senior U.S. officials said Obama has not yet decided how extensively and under what circumstances Washington will back the force militarily - a commitment that would risk the very entanglement in Syria that Obama has long sought to avoid. The hardline Sunni Muslim Islamic State movement has seized swathes of Syria and Iraq and proclaimed a caliphate. More »

  • Insight - Two migrant sisters from Syria, now worlds apart
    Insight - Two migrant sisters from Syria, now worlds apart 4 hours ago

    She shares the three-bedroom flat with 12 others including her five children – all, like her, refugees from Syria. Almost every day she gets cellphone messages from her younger sister Rabab, in Germany. They both fled their homeland three years ago, and their divergent lives capture the fates dealt to millions of Syrians forced from their country by its four-year civil war. Rabab, a 42-year-old widow, and her two teenage children are among the few thousand Syrians selected by a rich European country for re-settlement. More »

  • Uncle of Syria's Assad in French probe over 90-million-euro fortune
    Uncle of Syria's Assad in French probe over 90-million-euro fortune 4 hours ago

    The uncle of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is under investigation in France for amassing a 90-million-euro fortune, including a stud farm and luxury apartments, despite being kicked out of Syria "with nothing" 30 years ago. More »

  • Islamist rebels capture army base in Syria's Idlib province 5 hours ago

    By Suleiman Al-Khalidi AMMAN (Reuters) - A coalition of Islamist rebels seized an army base in northwestern Syria at dawn on Monday after a suicide bomber from al Qaeda's Nusra Front drove a truck packed with explosives into the compound and blew it up. The capture, reported by a rebel commander and social media videos showing militants inside the base, brought the coalition closer to seizing most of Idlib province and moving towards Latakia, the ancestral home of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Controlling it should help the rebels tighten their siege on the major Mastouma army base nearby. Syrian state media said the army killed scores of Nusra fighters and dozens of Islamist suicide bombers from Russia's Chechnya region in fighting near the base, but did not say the compound had fallen to the militants. More »

  • France, Australia to step up anti-terror cooperation
    France, Australia to step up anti-terror cooperation 6 hours ago

    PARIS (AP) — French President Francois Hollande says France and Australia will reinforce their cooperation in the fight against the Islamic State group and other terrorist threats. More »

  • Assad's Uncle Investigated Over £64m Fortune
    Assad's Uncle Investigated Over £64m Fortune 6 hours ago

    The uncle of Syrian President Bashar al Assad is being investigated by French authorities for accumulating a 90 million euro (£64m) fortune despite fleeing Syria penniless in 1984. Rifaat al Assad went into exile in Europe after staging a failed coup against his brother Hafez al Assad, who was Syria's president at the time and is also Bashar's father. French investigators told Agence France-Presse that Rifaat claimed he left Syria with "nothing" as he always donated his salary to Syria's poor. More »

  • Dozens reportedly killed across Syria's Idlib
    Dozens reportedly killed across Syria's Idlib 6 hours ago

    Women and children killed in attacks in Idlib, activists say, as Israel carries out air strikes along its Syria border. More »

  • Dozens of Iraqi police killed during fierce clashes in Ramadi
    Dozens of Iraqi police killed during fierce clashes in Ramadi 6 hours ago

    A week of heavy fighting between security forces and the Islamic State jihadist group in the Ramadi area of Anbar province killed 30 police, a top officer said on Monday. More »

  • North Korea 'Should Be Back On US Terror List'
    North Korea 'Should Be Back On US Terror List' 7 hours ago

    North Korea has increased its "material support" for terrorist organisations and should be placed back on America's list of nations that are state sponsors of terrorism, according to new report. The Pyongyang regime, at the time under the command of Kim Jong-il, was taken off the list in 2008 by President George W Bush, who hoped to improve relations with the country. But according to a the report, written by North Korea expert Joshua Stanton for the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK), America's standards for defining state sponsors of terror are "vague and inconsistent". More »

  • The curious case of Israel, al-Nusra and 'Facebook Spy'
    The curious case of Israel, al-Nusra and 'Facebook Spy' 8 hours ago

    Israel has arrested a Syrian Druze man who documented contact between Israel and al-Nusra Front. More »

  • Syrian bands rock Beirut's alternative music scene
    Syrian bands rock Beirut's alternative music scene 9 hours ago

    Syrian rock bands fleeing war are finding safety and new fans in neighbouring Lebanon, where they are revitalising a Westernised scene with their focus on Arabic musical heritage. More »

  • Australia concern over doctor in IS video
    Australia concern over doctor in IS video 12 hours ago

    Australia Monday said it was deeply concerned about an Australian-trained doctor who appears in an Islamic State propaganda video which urges other medical professionals to join the jihadists. More »

  • Malaysia says foils plan by suspected militants to attack capital 15 hours ago

    Malaysian police have arrested 12 people linked to the militant group Islamic State and seized explosives, foiling a plan to attack several locations in and around the capital, which is hosting the ASEAN summit. Security had already been heightened in Kuala Lumpur where leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) arrived on Sunday for a meeting that officially opens on Monday. The male suspects, aged 17 to 41, were arrested on Saturday and Sunday in Ulu Langat and Cheras, suburbs near Kuala Lumpur, police chief Khalid Abu Baker said in a statement on Sunday. The plans were in response to calls by Islamic State (IS) to launch terrorist attacks on secular Islamic countries seen as "enemies of IS". More »

  • Israel says airstrike on Syrian border targeted militants 17 hours ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's military said Sunday it launched an airstrike on its border with Syria after spotting militants carrying a bomb in the Israeli-held Golan Heights. More »

  • Israel army kills four men on Syria border: security source
    Israel army kills four men on Syria border: security source 18 hours ago

    Israeli armed forces on Sunday killed four people when they tried to plant bombs near the Golan Heights on the country's border with war-torn Syria, a security source said. More »

  • Israeli air strike kills four planting bomb at Syria frontier - source 19 hours ago

    An Israeli air strike killed four militants on Sunday as they placed an explosive on a fence near Israel's frontier with Syria in the annexed Golan Heights, an Israeli military source said. The Israeli military spokesman issued a terse statement saying the air force had thwarted an attack at the Israeli-Syrian border, saying it "targeted the squad, preventing the attack." Tensions have risen in the Golan Heights, territory Israel captured from Syria in a 1967 war and later annexed in a move never recognised internationally, amid the civil war raging in Syria in the past four years. More »

  • Can Syrian rebels unite against Assad?
    Can Syrian rebels unite against Assad? 19 hours ago

    An alliance of opposition forces seizes control of a second strategic city from government troops. More »

  • Israel says it launches airstrike on its border with Syria after seeing militants … 19 hours ago

    Israel says it launches airstrike on its border with Syria after seeing militants with a bomb. More »

  • Official: Palestinian operatives helped free Syria hostages 20 hours ago

    JERUSALEM (AP) — A top Palestinian intelligence official provided first details Sunday of the release of two Swedish hostages held in Syria for 17 months, saying the captors drove them to a pre-arranged drop-off point, pushed them out of the car and sped off. More »

  • Air raids on market kill 40 as Syria regime hits back
    Air raids on market kill 40 as Syria regime hits back 20 hours ago

    Air strikes on a marketplace Sunday killed at least 40 civilians, including women and children, as Syrian forces stepped up attacks on rebels a day after losing a key border town. More »

  • Three suspects held in French investigation into failed church attack
    Three suspects held in French investigation into failed church attack 20 hours ago

    French police were holding three people for questioning on suspicion they may be accomplices of an Algerian man suspected of planning to attack at least one French church, several French media said on Sunday. The Paris prosecutor's office declined to comment. French magistrates have already placed the 24-year-old Algerian, who is suspected of murdering a woman and planning a gun attack on churchgoers in a Paris suburb, under formal investigation on Friday. The Paris chief prosecutor said earlier this week a search of the Algerian suspect's phones and laptops showed he was in touch with another person, possibly in Syria, who had asked him to target a church. More »

  • U.S., allies conduct air strikes in Syria, Iraq - U.S. military 21 hours ago

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S.-led forces targeted Islamic State militants in Syria with three air strikes from Saturday to Sunday morning and conducted 17 strikes against the group in Iraq, the U.S. military said. In Syria, the air strikes hit Islamic State positions near Al Hasakah, Dayr Az Zawr and Kobani, according to a U.S. military statement on Sunday. In Iraq, five strikes hit Islamic State positions near Fallujah. The strikes also hit Islamic State positions near Al Hawayjah, Bayji, Mosul and Ramadi, the statement said. (Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Leslie Adler) More »

  • Swedish hostages held by Syrian jihadists return home
    Swedish hostages held by Syrian jihadists return home 21 hours ago

    Two Swedish men held hostage by Syrian jihadists have been reunited with their families in Sweden, the country's foreign ministry said on Sunday. More »

  • France detains 3 new suspects in thwarted attack probe 22 hours ago

    PARIS (AP) — French police have detained three people in an investigation into an alleged plot to attack a church near Paris, authorities said Sunday. More »

  • U.S. mulls ransom policy for families of overseas hostages - ABC TV 22 hours ago

    The Obama administration is considering changing a U.S. policy prohibiting families of hostages held overseas from making ransom payments to abductors, according to a television report on Sunday. "Under recommendations contained in an ongoing White House review of U.S. hostage policy, there will be absolutely zero chance ... of any family member of an American-held hostage overseas ever facing jail themselves, or even the threat of prosecution, for trying to free their loved ones," according to the report aired on ABC's "This Week." The report said three senior U.S. officials told of the policy review, but it did not indicate when a decision might be made. A White House official contacted by Reuters would not comment on the ABC report. Last year, U.S. military forces unsuccessfully tried to rescue American journalist James Foley and other hostages thought to be in eastern Syria only to find that they had been moved. More »

  • Bahrain again extends top rights activist's detention
    Bahrain again extends top rights activist's detention 22 hours ago

    Bahrain on Sunday extended by two weeks the period of detention for prominent rights activist Nabeel Rajab, accused of spreading false news, for the second time this month. More »

  • Syria changes passport rules for citizens abroad
    Syria changes passport rules for citizens abroad 23 hours ago

    Syrian authorities will allow citizens abroad, including refugees who fled the war, to obtain passports without an intelligence service review for the first time, Syria's Al-Watan newspaper said on Sunday. More »