Latest Syria News

  • Dozens dead as Qaeda militants in Syria seize rebel base
    Dozens dead as Qaeda militants in Syria seize rebel base 3 hours ago

    Al-Qaeda's Syria affiliate on Saturday drove US-backed rebels out of a strategic northern military base in fierce fighting that left dozens dead, a monitor said. More »

  • Kurdish rebel leader in Turkey calls for disarmament congress
    Kurdish rebel leader in Turkey calls for disarmament congress 3 hours ago

    By Ayla Jean Yackley ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Jailed Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan called on his followers to take a "historic" decision to lay down their arms, according to a statement on Saturday, a crucial step in Turkey's drive to end a 30-year insurgency by Kurdish rebels. Sirri Sureyya Onder, a lawmaker from parliament's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), read a statement from Ocalan on live TV that urged the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to attend a congress on disarmament in the spring months. "I invite the PKK to attend an extraordinary congress in the spring months in order to make the strategic and historic decision to abandon the armed struggle," Onder said, quoting Ocalan, with whom an HDP delegation met this week. More »

  • Syrian army takes villages in south
    Syrian army takes villages in south 3 hours ago

    Syrian government forces have taken control of villages in southern Syria, state media said on Saturday, part of a campaign they started this month against insurgents posing one of the biggest remaining threats to Damascus. The large offensive is backed by the Lebanese Shi'ite group Hezbollah and initially made swift progress before slowing. More »

  • In Algeria, women 'imams' battle Islamist radicalisation
    In Algeria, women 'imams' battle Islamist radicalisation 7 hours ago

    Hundreds of female religious guides have been at the forefront of Algeria's battle against Islamic radicalisation since the civil war that devastated the North African country in the 1990s. More »

  • Assad or no Assad, West asks, as IS rises and conflict rages
    Assad or no Assad, West asks, as IS rises and conflict rages 9 hours ago

    Faced with a seemingly unending bloody conflict in Syria and the rise of the Islamic State group, is President Bashar al-Assad the lesser of the country's evils and should the West re-engage with him? More »

  • Australia may join New Zealand's Iraq training mission
    Australia may join New Zealand's Iraq training mission 9 hours ago

    Australia is considering joining New Zealand in a training mission in Iraq to help counter the Islamic State (IS) militant group, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Saturday. More »

  • Cameron defends security services after media unmask 'Jihadi John'
    Cameron defends security services after media unmask 'Jihadi John' 10 hours ago

    Prime Minister David Cameron has defended Britain's security services after Islamic State executioner "Jihadi John" was unmasked as London graduate Mohammed Emwazi, a man previously monitored by spy agency MI5. More »

  • Today in History 11 hours ago

    Today is Saturday, Feb. 28, the 59th day of 2015. There are 306 days left in the year. More »

  • Protesters clash in Rome ahead of anti-immigrant rally
    Protesters clash in Rome ahead of anti-immigrant rally 13 hours ago

    Clashes in Italy's capital on eve of Northern League rally as counter-protesters denounce party's anti-immigrant stance. More »

  • U.N. condemns Islamic State's 'barbaric terrorist acts' in Iraq 14 hours ago

    By Louis Charbonneau UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council on Friday condemned what it described as the latest "barbaric terrorist acts" in Iraq by Islamic State militants, including the destruction of priceless religious and cultural artifacts. A video published by the ultra-radical Islamist militant group Islamic State on Thursday showed men attacking ancient Assyrian statues and sculptures, some of them identified as antiquities from the 7th century BC, with sledgehammers and drills, saying they were symbols of idolatry. "The members of the Security Council strongly condemned the ongoing barbaric terrorist acts in Iraq by ISIL (Islamic State)" the council said in a statement. More »

  • Kurdish fighters rout IS militants from town near Iraq
    Kurdish fighters rout IS militants from town near Iraq 14 hours ago

    BEIRUT (AP) — Backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, Kurdish fighters fought their way Friday into a northeastern Syrian town that was a key stronghold of Islamic State militants, only days after the group abducted dozens of Christians in the volatile region, Syrian activists and Kurdish officials said. More »

  • GOP contenders push for military action against ISIS
    GOP contenders push for military action against ISIS 15 hours ago

    OXON HILL, Md. (AP) — The Republican Party's leading presidential contenders on Friday promised conservative activists they would pursue aggressive military action to prevent the spread of global terrorism, including a renewed use of ground forces in the Middle East. More »

  • Training of Syrian rebels in Turkey in 4-6 weeks: US
    Training of Syrian rebels in Turkey in 4-6 weeks: US 16 hours ago

    The US military said Friday the training of moderate Syrian rebels will likely begin within four to six weeks in Turkey after the two NATO allies clinched an agreement last week. More »

  • Does destroying human history serve ISIL's goals?
    Does destroying human history serve ISIL's goals? 16 hours ago

    Scenes of ISIL fighters smashing artifacts at museum in Iraq's Mosul have drawn an unprecedented outcry worldwide. More »

  • 'Jihadi John': quiet football fan who developed thirst for war
    'Jihadi John': quiet football fan who developed thirst for war 17 hours ago

    Mohammed Emwazi, named by British and US media as the Islamic State executioner known as "Jihadi John", has been described as a quiet but intense young man who gradually developed a taste for war. More »

  • MI5 'quizzes Jihadi John teachers'
    MI5 'quizzes Jihadi John teachers' 17 hours ago

    MI5 officers have reportedly questioned former teachers of Briton Mohammed Emwazi after he was this week unmasked as the Islamic State terrorist known as Jihadi John. More »

  • Unmasking of 'Jihadi John' as a London lad shocks Britain
    Unmasking of 'Jihadi John' as a London lad shocks Britain 17 hours ago

    LONDON (AP) — The unmasking of Islamic State militant "Jihadi John" as a Londoner who had repeatedly been questioned by security services sent shock waves through Britain Friday, with Prime Minister David Cameron stepping in to defend British spy craft. More »

  • U.S. begins vetting Syrian rebels for military training - Pentagon
    U.S. begins vetting Syrian rebels for military training - Pentagon 18 hours ago

    By David Alexander WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military has begun vetting a group of Syrian rebels eligible for training and assistance in the fight against Islamic State militants, a step that paves the way for training to begin in weeks, the Pentagon said on Friday. Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon press secretary, said about 100 moderate Syrian rebels had been vetted to participate in the training and assistance effort, with no derogatory information uncovered to weigh against their involvement. "Our assessment is we could be ready sometime within the next four to six weeks to begin actual training," Kirby told a Pentagon briefing, noting that the vetting was "an important first step." A week ago, the United States and Turkey signed an agreement to use a site in Turkey for the effort. The site is one of four where U.S. and coalition partners may offer training to Syrian rebels to fight against Islamic State militants. More »

  • Slain U.S. journalist's father - identification of 'Jihadi John' … 18 hours ago

    The father of American journalist James Foley, who was taken captive in Syria and later decapitated by Islamic State militants, has said it was "not important" to him that his son's purported killer, "Jihadi John," had been identified. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that "Jihadi John," who was shown in Islamic State videos of the beheadings of several captives, had been identified as Kuwaiti-born British national Mohammed Emwazi, 26. "'Jihadi John' happened to be in that position, but if it was not him it would be somebody else, so in all fairness discovering who he is might be important to some people, but it's certainly not important to me," John Foley told reporters in Arizona, according to video from local television station KSWT. Foley, whose son's beheading was shown in a video released last August, also said he will be happy when Islamic State "is defeated." John Foley and his wife, Diane, speaking on Thursday on the sidelines of a forum in Tucson, Arizona, where they were panelists, criticized how the U.S. government dealt with them while their son was held captive. More »

  • Teacher denies radicalising Canadian teens headed to Syria 19 hours ago

    By Andrew Soong and Jake Bleiberg MONTREAL (Reuters) - A Muslim teacher once jailed by Canada as a security threat denied on Friday he had radicalised Canadian teens believed to have headed to Syria to fight with Islamic State, saying his school had had only brief contact with one of the six students. The students, four men and two women aged 18 and 19, left Montreal in January and February for Turkey and then on to Syria, according to media reports, the latest in a string of young Westerners who have become radicalised and have headed to the Middle East hoping to fight with Islamic State. The teacher, Adil Charkaoui, told a news conference in Montreal that anti-Muslim sentiment in Quebec is to blame for alienating Muslim students, not his classes, where he said only Arabic, the Koran and "basic notions" are taught. He said only one of the departed students took a course at his school, which rented classroom space from two colleges in the Montreal area. More »

  • Syria expels 3 key UN humanitarian staffers 19 hours ago

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The Syrian government has expelled three key U.N. humanitarian staffers, a decision the U.N. says could have "a major impact" on critical aid operations and harm a new effort to secure a six-week truce in the country's largest city. More »

  • First Photo Of 'Jihadi John' As Adult Revealed
    First Photo Of 'Jihadi John' As Adult Revealed 19 hours ago

    The first known photograph has emerged of Mohammed Emwazi - the Islamic State militant known as "Jihadi John" - as an adult. Showing him with a goatee beard and wearing a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball cap, the image is revealed in student records from his time at the University of Westminster. Sky News can also exclusively reveal details of Emwazi's academic achievements during his stint at the university in London's Cavendish campus, between 2006 and 2009. According to the document, he passed all but two of the modules in his Information Systems with Business Management degree, for which he was awarded a lower second honours (2:2). More »

  • Kurdish forces 'capture strategic IS Syria bastion'
    Kurdish forces 'capture strategic IS Syria bastion' 19 hours ago

    Kurdish fighters seized a strategic Islamic State stronghold in Syria Friday in a move that could impede jihadist movements near the border with Iraq, where they also control large swathes of territory. More »

  • Parents of slain journalist: Next 'Jihadi John' is on way
    Parents of slain journalist: Next 'Jihadi John' is on way 20 hours ago

    TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The parents of an American journalist beheaded by the Islamic State group say they are surprised a college-educated, London-raised man is the masked militant known as "Jihadi John" from the video of their son's slaying but also realize stopping him won't end the bloodshed. More »

  • Cameron vows to hunt down 'Jihadi John'
    Cameron vows to hunt down 'Jihadi John' 20 hours ago

    By Michael Holden and Ahmed Aboulenein LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister David Cameron vowed on Friday to use all means at his disposal to hunt down militants such as "Jihadi John" after the killer was identified as a Kuwaiti-born computer programming graduate from London. The black-clad militant brandishing a knife and speaking with an English accent was shown in videos released by Islamic State (IS) apparently decapitating hostages including Americans, Britons and Syrians. "When there are people anywhere in the world who commit appalling and heinous crimes against British citizens, we will do everything we can with the police, with the security services, with all that we have at our disposal to find these people and put them out of action," Cameron said. Cameron refused to comment on the identification of "Jihadi John" as 26-year-old British militant Mohammed Emwazi, but said that people should get behind the security services, which he praised as impressive and dedicated to defending Britain. More »

  • Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl: 1975 - 1996
    Once Upon a Time in Punchbowl: 1975 - 1996 20 hours ago

    The untold story of how the Lebanese community overcame the odds and found their place in multicultural Australia. More »

  • Kurdish forces capture part of IS Syria stronghold: monitor
    Kurdish forces capture part of IS Syria stronghold: monitor 20 hours ago

    Kurdish fighters gained an important victory against the Islamic State group Friday by seizing a key stronghold in Syria's northeastern Hasakeh province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. More »

  • Islamic State: Amid hostage crisis, Assyrians and Kurds join forces 20 hours ago

    Syrian Assyrian Christians and Kurds have joined forces in a bid to regain territory from the Islamic State group, which seized dozens of Assyrian villages and scores of hostages in northern Syria this week. The relocation of the hostages into the IS heartland and their group's slaughter of religious minorities in Libya and Iraq have sparked fears of genocidal massacres. “The Islamic State is waging a campaign of genocide against the Assyrian people. We are watching a living history of thousands of years disappear and doing nothing to stop it,” says Mardean Isaac, an Assyrian writer working with A Demand for Action, a Britain-based group lobbying for the protection of religious minorities in Iraq and Syria. More »

  • Syria domestic, exiled opposition agree crisis roadmap
    Syria domestic, exiled opposition agree crisis roadmap 20 hours ago

    Syria's main domestic and exiled opposition groups said Friday they had agreed a joint draft roadmap for the first time, calling for a transitional governing body and an end to the brutal conflict. More »

  • Unesco: Isis museum destruction in Iraq is 'major security issue'
    Unesco: Isis museum destruction in Iraq is 'major security issue' 22 hours ago

    The destruction of priceless artefacts by Islamist militants in northern Iraq is not just a cultural "tragedy", but a major security issue, Unesco said on 27 February. The attack on the collection of sculptures and statues by men armed with sledgehammers and drills was a deliberate attempt to destabilise the country and provoke sectarianism, the director-general of the United Nations' cultural body told a news conference. "This tragedy is far from being simply a cultural issue, it is a major security issue. Video footage released by Islamic State showed men destroying the Assyrian era exhibits which came from an antiquities museum in Mosul, the northern city which was overrun by Islamic State last June. More »

  • Syria expels three United Nations aid workers 22 hours ago

    The Syrian government has expelled three United Nations aid workers, in a move that will harm attempts to deliver relief around the wartorn country, U.N. agencies said on Friday. Damascus denies it blocks aid. Syrian officials could not immediately be reached to comment on the cases. The expulsions come at a sensitive time, with U.N. mediator Staffan de Mistura arriving on Saturday to discuss his proposal for the Syrian government to suspend its bombardment of the northern city of Aleppo for six weeks. More »

  • Assad 'can't help fight against IS'
    Assad 'can't help fight against IS' 23 hours ago

    Syrian dictator Bashar Assad cannot be a partner in the fight against the extremism of Islamic State (IS), Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and his French counterpart Laurent Fabius have said in a joint article. More »

  • Islamic State under pressure as Kurds seize Syrian town
    Islamic State under pressure as Kurds seize Syrian town Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    By Mariam Karouny BEIRUT (Reuters) - Kurdish forces dealt a blow to Islamic State by capturing an important town on Friday in the latest stage of a powerful offensive in northeast Syria, a Kurdish militia spokesman said. Islamic State has been forced into retreat across parts of the strategic region, a land bridge between territory it controls in Syria and Iraq, even as its fighters have mounted new raids this week on Assyrian Christian villages, abducting more than 200 people. The capture of Tel Hamis was announced by the Kurdish YPG militia and confirmed by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the country's civil war. "The flag is flying over Tel Hamis. More »

  • Obama, European Council's Tusk to meet March 9 - White House
    Obama, European Council's Tusk to meet March 9 - White House Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama and European Council President Donald Tusk will meet at the White House on March 9 to discuss the Ukraine crisis and the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, the White House said on Friday. Obama and Tusk also are expected to discuss the global economy, talks toward a U.S.-European trade deal, energy security and climate change, the White House said in a statement. (Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Susan Heavey) More »

  • France, Britain dismiss calls to renew relations with Syria's Assad
    France, Britain dismiss calls to renew relations with Syria's Assad Fri, Feb 27, 2015

    France and Britain dismissed on Friday any suggestion of restoring relations with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying this would likely end all hope of a political transition and push moderates into the arms of radical Islamist groups. With the rise of Islamic State insurgents, some European |Union member states are critical of the position in Paris and London and say it might be time to re-establish communication with Damascus given that a four-year-old revolt has failed to overthrow Assad, diplomats say. In a column published in Arabic daily Al-Hayat and France's Le Monde, the French and British foreign ministers hit back at those who sought a rapprochement with Assad by saying he was using the fear of Islamic State, which has seized wide areas of northern and eastern Syria, to win back international support. "Some seem sensitive to this argument," Laurent Fabius and Philip Hammond wrote. More »