Tag Archives: Syrian

U.S.-backed Syrian forces close to seizing town from Islamic State: spokeswoman

U.S.-backed Syrian forces close to seizing town from Islamic State: spokeswomanThe U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces will soon seize the town of Hajin from Islamic State (IS) in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border, a spokeswoman said on Friday. Hajin is the last big town Islamic State holds in its remaining enclave east of the Euphrates River. The SDF, spearheaded by the Kurdish YPG militia, has battled to eliminate the jihadists there for several months.



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Syrian Kurdish-led fighters take Hajin, last town held by IS

Syrian Kurdish-led fighters take Hajin, last town held by ISBEIRUT (AP) — U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led fighters captured the last town held by the Islamic State group on Friday, after three months of ferocious battles in the militants' single remaining enclave in eastern Syria, activists and Kurdish officials said.



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British Teenager Charged Over Assault of 15-Year-Old Syrian Refugee

British Teenager Charged Over Assault of 15-Year-Old Syrian RefugeeA video of the incident, which took place on October 25, has circulated widely on social media



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Leading Syrian activist who opposed regime and Islamists killed in Idlib

Leading Syrian activist who opposed regime and Islamists killed in IdlibGunmen in Syria's rebel-held northwestern province shot and killed on Friday a prominent anti-government journalist who was also a sharp critic of Islamist militants. Raed Fares' US-funded Radio Fresh station provides news of the conflict to Syria's northern provinces and is a source for international news outlets which have largely stayed away from the opposition-held areas amid rising lawlessness. Fares' killing was a blow to the few independent voices that have continued to promote nonviolence and democratic change in the war-torn country. In a June op-ed in The Washington Post, Fares lamented that the US had cut funds to Syria's opposition areas, including the radio station he founded in 2013 in his hometown of Kafranbel in rebel-held Idlib province. He said such a move would only feed extremism. "As a journalist and activist, I felt I had a duty to counter the fundamentalist narratives that are spreading among people who have no other source for hope in our war-torn homeland," Fares wrote in the Post on June 28. His station provided training and jobs for hundreds of young activists and citizen journalists. "If it weren't for us and other independent voices, terrorists would be the only source of information about Syria locally and internationally. For that reason, the terrorist groups (and the regime) see us as a direct threat." Fares and friend Hammoud al-Juneid died after three gunmen opened fire on their vehicle in Kafranbel Credit:  Kafranbl News Fares survived an earlier assassination attempt in 2014 when he was shot in the chest by armed men. He was abducted by militants affiliated with an al-Qaida group and tortured. He criticized the militants' harassment of its critics. His radio station was raided by militants and bombed by government warplanes. Fares and friend Hammoud al-Juneid died of their wounds after three gunmen opened fire on their vehicle in Kafranbel. A third, Ali Dandouch, sitting in the backseat, ducked the bullets and survived, he later told The Associated Press. Dandouch said the gunmen fired at them from a moving vehicle. Social media sites were rife with the news of Fares' killing. "My last friend & hope 4 a better Syria has been killed (today) after being let down by" everyone, Zaina Erhaim, a UK-based Syrian journalist who left the country in 2016, wrote on Twitter. Fares gained fame during the Syrian uprising because of continued support for opposition protests even when the conflict took a violent turn. Mourners attend the funeral of Fares and Jneid Credit: AFP His town gained attention during weekly anti-government protests because of the humorous English-language banners he created for each rally. "Do not send money. Gold is not edible," one banner read, urging the world to free a besieged area instead of sending assistance. He organized protests to express support for the victims of the 2013 Boston bombings, which he called "a sorrowful scene of what happens in Syria every day. Do accept our condolences." Fares was also a vocal critic of Islamic militants, supporting rallies against them, and accusing them of silencing dissent. The Observatory reported that more than 390 people have been shot and killed since April in the rebel-held north amid a wave of assassination and lawlessness. #Syria#Kafranbel demonstration against #Assad#TheRevolutionContinues 2016\03\25 pic.twitter.com/MMd4yUlDg3— Kafranbel English (@kafrev) March 25, 2016 In his op-ed in the Post, Fares said he had seen militants regrouping in the absence of support for the less radical opposition. "Syria's democratic future relies on our success," he wrote. Mohammed Katoub, a doctor who supports health facilities in rebel-held areas, said public figures and civil society activists are increasingly under threat in northwestern Syria by militant groups. He said at least 13 doctors have disappeared since 2018. "I think the targeted people are all public figures and community leaders who believe in the same values of humanity, dignity, justice and liberty," Katoub said. "You can't know (Fares) without loving him, his smile, his optimism, his hopes for Syria, (his) way of thinking and creativity." 



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German police say Cologne hostage-taker was Syrian man

German police say Cologne hostage-taker was Syrian manA man who took a woman hostage in Cologne on Monday was a 55-year-old Syrian who was granted asylum in Germany, police said, adding he was in a coma after being shot several times. This could have caused a “huge” explosion, Senior Cologne police official Klaus-Stephan Becker told a news conference. Witness statements suggested the man, who arrived in Germany in March 2015, had links to Islamic State, though no evidence to support that had been found, Becker said.



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Wounded Syrian soldiers learn to live with war disabilities

Wounded Syrian soldiers learn to live with war disabilitiesMany Syrian government soldiers, after years of intense fighting, now face a new reality of learning to live without one or more of their limbs or with other serious disabilities. One hospital manufactures 60 prosthetic limbs a day, reflecting the high demand in a nation wracked by a bloody civil war.



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Syrian president says Russia-Turkey Idlib deal 'temporary'

Syrian president says Russia-Turkey Idlib deal 'temporary'BEIRUT (AP) — Syrian President Bashar Assad said Sunday that the Russian-Turkish deal to avert a military offensive in the northwestern province of Idlib is a "temporary one" that prevented bloodshed but that his government's goal is to restore control over all of Syria.



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Syrian official says S-300 defenses will give Israel pause

Syrian official says S-300 defenses will give Israel pauseBEIRUT (AP) — Israel should think carefully before attacking Syria again once it obtains the sophisticated S-300 defense system from Russia, a Damascus official said.



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Putin sees chance circumstances behind downing of Russian plane off Syrian coast

Putin sees chance circumstances behind downing of Russian plane off Syrian coastThe ministry said that while Syrian anti-aircraft had mistakenly shot down the plane of a close ally, Israeli jets flying nearby had put the Russian jet in the path of danger, and it threatened to retaliate over what it called a hostile act. “As for retaliatory measures, they will be aimed first and foremost at further ensuring the safety of our military personnel and facilities in Syria.



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Polls open in Syrian local elections: state media

Polls open in Syrian local elections: state mediaVoting began across government-controlled parts of Syria on Sunday for the war-ravaged country’s first local elections since 2011, state news agency SANA said. “Voting centres opened for citizens to cast their ballots to elect their representatives in the local administrative councils,” SANA reported. Syrian state television broadcast footage of voters around Damascus and in the coastal government bastions of Tartus and Latakia dropping their ballots into plastic boxes as election officials looked on.



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