Beirut

Le Pen quits meeting with Lebanon's Sunni cleric over headscarf row

France's far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen walked away from a meeting on Tuesday with Lebanon's senior Muslim Sunni cleric after she refused to wear a headscarf.

Airstrikes cut water supplies in Syria's Islamic State stronghold

Airstrikes targeting the Islamic State de-facto capital of al-Raqqa in Syria have cut water supplies in the north-eastern city, activists said Friday.

Christian Syrians denied entry to United States, sent to Lebanon

A Syrian Christian family was sent back to Syria after being denied the right to enter the United States following President Donald Trump's strict new immigration orders imposed over the weekend, security sources told dpa on Monday.

Monitor: New fighting erupts between jihadists and rivals in Syria

Clashes erupted Wednesday between a powerful group linked to al-Qaeda and rival rebels in northern Syria, after a short lull, a monitoring group said.

Jihadist fighters assault rival rebels' bases in northern Syria

A powerful Syrian armed group linked to al-Qaeda launched a series of assaults Tuesday on bases of a rival rebel force in northern Syria, activists and a monitoring group said.

Testy start to Syria talks in Astana though both sides back ceasefire

Syrian government and rebel negotiators exchanged barbs as talks on bolstering a shaky ceasefire got started Monday in the Kazakh capital Astana, although both sides said they were committed to shoring up the truce.

Arrests in Lebanon after suicide attack foiled in Beirut

Lebanese security forces prevented a “massacre” when they foiled a suicide attack in a busy part of Beirut, Lebanese President Michele Aoun said Sunday in comments reported by Lebanon’s official National News Agency NNA.

At least 10 jihadists killed in north Syria airstrike, monitor says

At least 10 jihadist fighters were killed in airstrikes in northern Syria's Idlib province on Wednesday, the latest in a series of strikes targeting al-Qaeda-linked militants, a monitoring group said.

Jihadists killed, captured in east Syria commando raid, monitor says

Some 25 Islamic State fighters were killed in a US-led commando raid deep inside the extremist group's territory in eastern Syria, a monitoring group said Monday.

Iraqi Kurdistan closes group helping Yezidi victims of Islamic State

An organization that has assisted members of the Yezidi religious minority victimized by the Islamic State extremist group said on Wednesday that Iraqi Kurdish security forces had closed its main office in the region.

Raid kills 25 member of al-Qaeda-linked group in north-western Syria

At least 25 members of the al-Qaeda-linked Fatah al-Sham Front are dead after air raids by unidentified planes hit one of its headquarters in north-western Syria, a monitoring group says.

Syria truce in "critical period" amid airstrikes, monitor says

The Russian and Turkish-brokered ceasefire in Syria was "passing through a critical period," with airstrikes on rebel strongholds and government forces massing near a rebel-held area outside Damascus, a monitoring group said on Tuesday.

Kurdish-led fighters make advances against Islamic State in Syria

Kurdish-led fighters have made new advances towards a strategic dam controlled by the Islamic State extremist group in northern Syria, a Kurdish official and a monitoring group said Tuesday.

Evacuations from Aleppo's last opposition enclave halted

The evacuation of civilians and rebel fighters from the last opposition enclave in eastern Aleppo came to a halt Friday, a day after the operation started under a Russian-Turkish agreement.

Regime forces push deeper into eastern Aleppo

After launching heavy strikes, Syrian regime forces managed to take control of a major rebel-held area in eastern Aleppo, a monitoring group said Monday.

Children's hospital hit as Aleppo airstrikes kill 21, activists say

A children's hospital was hit and 21 people killed in intensified airstrikes Wednesday on the divided Syrian city of Aleppo, according to medical workers and a monitoring group.

Two hospitals near Aleppo hit in airstrikes

Airstrikes, believed to be carried out by the Syrian regime or its Russian ally, hit at least two hospitals in rebel-held areas Monday west of Aleppo, a monitoring group reported.

Monitor: Kurdish-led forces advance on Islamic State capital in Syria

Kurdish-led forces have made territorial gains in a campaign they launched last week to retake al-Raqqa, the Islamic State extremist militia's de facto capital in Syria, a monitoring group reported on Friday.

Temporary truce takes effect in Aleppo

A temporary ceasefire, announced by the Syrian regime and allied Russia, went into effect in Aleppo Friday amid reported calm in the divided northern city.

Rebel shelling kills 12 civilians in Aleppo, Syrian media reports

At least 12 civilians were killed by rebel shelling in Aleppo on Thursday, Syrian state media reported, as rebels stepped up their operations in the divided northern city to break a government siege.

Lebanon's president-elect names Hezbollah critic as premier

Lebanon's newly-elected President Michel Aoun on Thursday named Saad Hariri, an outspoken critic of the Iranian- backed Lebanese Shiite movement, as prime minister.

Islamic State leader urges Mosul fighters to turn "blood into rivers"

Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi urged his fighters in an audio recording posted online on Thursday not to retreat from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, but also to invade Turkey and attack Saudi Arabia.

Lebanon's president-elect starts consultations to name premier

Lebanon's newly-elected President Michel Aoun began consultations with the country's parliamentary blocs Wednesday ahead of naming a new prime minister.

Syrian rebels launch Aleppo offensive aimed at breaking regime siege

Syrian opposition rebels Friday started a widescale attack on regime forces in Aleppo aimed at breaking the government siege on their enclave of the contested city, both a monitoring group and the opposition said.

Monitor: Regime recaptures rebel-held town in central Syria

Syrian regime troops on Thursday recaptured a key town from rebels in the central province of Hama following a major offensive, a monitoring group reported.

Monitor: Death toll rises to 35 in bombing of Syrian rebel village

The death toll from Wednesday's airstrikes near a school complex in a rebel-held village in north-western Syria has risen to 35, with 11 children among those killed, a monitoring group said.

Syrian leader's wife Asma al-Assad says she rejected asylum offers

Asma al-Assad, the wife of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, told Russian television on Tuesday that she had rejected offers of asylum from her husband's opponents.

Aleppo becoming 'kill box' for children, Doctors Without Borders says

Unrelenting airstrikes on a besieged rebel section of Syria's northern city of Aleppo have turned it into a "kill box" for children, the medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned on Friday. 

Aleppo bombings kill 25 people, rescue group says

Twenty-five people were killed in airstrikes on eastern Aleppo on Wednesday after dozens lost their lives the previous day in what appeared to be Russian and Syrian government airstrikes, rescuers said.

Russia rejects claim it killed about 10,000 people in Syria

Russia rejected a claim by a Syria monitoring group on Friday that its airstrikes have killed about 10,000 people in the Middle Eastern country in the past year.

Jets bomb bakeries in rebel-held Aleppo areas, activists say

Beirut (dpa) - Unidentified jets on Thursday bombarded bakeries in two rebel-held areas in Syria's northern province of Aleppo, activists said.

Two hospitals in Syria's Aleppo hit, aid groups say

Two out of the eight remaining hospitals in besieged eastern Aleppo were put out of action by shelling and airstrikes on Wednesday, the Syrian medical charity running them has said.

UN to investigate Syria aid convoy deaths, other "atrocities"

The United Nations plans to carry out a "vigorous," independent investigation into an attack on an aid convoy in Syria this week that killed 21 people, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday.

Ceasefire was a "big lie," says opposition leader, as aid stalled

A leading opposition figure declared Syria's ceasefire a "big lie" on Monday, since it has failed to deliver humanitarian aid to hundreds of thousands of desperate people in need.

UN frustrated by stalled Syria aid amid fears of truce collapse

A UN humanitarian group on Saturday said it was frustrated by its inability to deliver badly needed aid to the divided Syrian city of Aleppo, amid growing fears of the collapse of a US-Russian truce that went into effect in Syria this week.

Shelling across frontlines on the outskirts of Damascus shakes truce

Rebels and government forces engaged in heavy shelling across frontlines on the outskirts of Damascus, testing Syria's fragile truce, a monitoring group said, confirming at least two fighters were killed.

Israel denies Syrian claim its army shot down two Israeli aircraft

Israel denied a claim by Syria that its military shot down an Israeli jet and a drone on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights on Tuesday.

Syrian opposition wary of US-Russia ceasefire agreement

The Syrian opposition on Saturday reacted with caution to a US-Russian ceasefire agreement aimed at curbing violence in Syria and relaunching a UN-sponsored political process. 

Syrian forces regain more ground from rebels in Aleppo, activists say

Syrian forces on Thursday recaptured a strategic district from rebels in Aleppo, boosting their advance against the opposition in the divided city, activists said.

Israeli Air Force attacks Syrian-controlled side of Golan Heights

The Israeli Air Force attacked military targets on the Syrian side of Golan Heights overnight into Thursday in response to a projectile from Syria the day before, according to the Israeli army.

At least 24 killed in northern Syria airstrikes, monitor says

At least 24 civilians were killed Wednesday in air raids on a rebel-held area of Aleppo and an Islamic State-held village nearby, a Syrian monitoring group said.

Syrian regime drops chlorine gas in Aleppo, activists say

Syrian regime helicopters dropped on Tuesday barrel bombs containing chlorine gas on al-Sukari neighbourhood in the rebel-held east side of Aleppo, activists said. 

Syrian civilians evacuated from rebel-held Damascus suburb

At least 300 civilians were evacuated from a rebel-held area near the Syrian capital Damascus on Friday under a deal with the government, state media and a monitoring group reported.

Casualties reported in Turkish shooting at Syrian Kurd protesters

A Kurdish child was killed and dozens of people were injured on Friday when Turkish troops fired at Kurdish protesters in the Syrian city of Kobane near the border with Turkey, a monitoring group and Kurdish officials said.

At least 25 killed in central Syria airstrikes, watchdog says

At least 25 civilians, including six children, were killed on Thursday in air bombardments in Syria's central Hama province, where rebels have advanced against regime forces in recent days, a monitoring group reported.

Kurdish spokesman: Turkey, Kurdish-linked fighters "abiding by truce"

Both Turkey and Kurdish-linked fighters are abiding by a truce in northern Syria and the situation is calm today, the spokesman for a powerful Kurdish militia tells dpa.

Syrian government counterattacks after ceding Hama areas to rebels

Syrian government forces launched an offensive Tuesday to retake areas in the central Hama province lost in recent days to a sustained attack by rebel forces, including hardline Islamic factions.

Syrian Kurds accuse Turkish forces of cleansing local population

A spokesman for the Kurdish-led forces in northern Syria says Turkish invading forces are displacing local populations in northern Syria.

Locals, rebels bused out of Damascus suburb after 4-year siege

The first buses carrying local residents and rebel fighters left the Damascus suburb of Daraya on Friday under a deal that will see the area evacuated after a four-year siege by government forces.

Evacuation of rebel-held Damascus suburb to start, watchdog says

Buses entered the Damascus suburb of Daraya on Friday to evacuate civilians and rebels from the rebel-held area, a monitoring group said, after a deal reached between fighters and the government looked set to end a four-year-long siege.

Kurds say Turkish artillery hits their positions in northern Syria

Turkey has shelled positions of the US-backed, Kurdish-led Democratic Forces of Syria, in northern Syria, a senior official says.

Syria slams Turkish incursion as a breach of sovereignty

The Syrian government says the Turkish operation in northern Syria is a "flagrant breach" of the country's sovereignty.

Syrian Kurds: Turkish offensive on Jarablus is "declaration of war"

Syrian Kurds condemn the Turkish incursion into Islamic State-held Jarablus, calling it a "declaration of war." 

Watchdog praises Jordan for steps taken to educate Syrian children

Human Rights Watch (HRW) praised in a statement Monday Jordan's education minister for instructing public schools to allow Syrian refugee children to register in the autumn term.

Syrian Kurds urge al-Assad loyalists to surrender in north-east

Kurdish forces in north-eastern Syria called on fighters loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to lay down their arms and surrender, amid an advance in al-Hassakeh city.

Omran's brother dies in Aleppo hospital, cameraman says

The brother of Omran, the young boy pictured covered in dust in an ambulance after an airstrike in Aleppo, died Saturday from wounds sustained in the same attack, according to the journalist who shot the original picture.

Turkey says al-Assad starting to view Kurds as a "threat"

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said Saturday he believes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is beginning to view as a "threat" Kurdish forces in the north who are backed by the United States and battling Islamic State.

Syrian forces, rebels fight in Aleppo amid push for truce

Syrian government forces and rebels on Friday exchanged retaliatory attacks in Aleppo where the United Nations is pushing for a temporary truce to allow badly needed humanitarian aid into the divided city.

Nearly 18,000 people have died in Syrian prisons since 2011: Amnesty

Nearly 18,000 people have died in Syrian regime prisons from torture or other ill-treatment since 2011, rights group Amnesty International said Thursday.

Kurdish group denounces members' arrests by rival movement in Syria

The Kurdish National Council in Syria (KNC) on Wednesday condemned a series of arrests carried out by the Asayish security and police forces, which are affiliated to its rival Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

Strikes on north-western Syria kill 25 people, monitor says

Twenty five people including five children, were killed Wednesday in raids that targeted the province of Idilb in north-western Syria, a monitor group said.

Red Cross: Aleppo "one of the most devastating urban conflicts"

The fight for the Syrian city of Aleppo "is beyond doubt one of the most devastating urban conflicts of modern times," the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Monday.

32 Syrian rebels killed in suicide attack at Turkish border

At least 32 Syrian rebels were killed in a suicide attack late Sunday at a border crossing with Turkey, a monitoring group said.

Monitor: Islamic State frees Minbij civilians taken during retreat

Islamic State fighters have released most of the civilians they took with them while retreating from the northern Syrian city of Minbij, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told dpa on Saturday.

Islamic State abducts 2,000 civilians while fleeing Syria border city

Islamic State militants abducted about 2,000 civilians from Minbij shortly after they were forced to retreat from the strategic Syrian city near the Turkish border, Kurdish officials said Friday.

Violence grips Aleppo despite temporary truce, activists say

Shells and airstrikes rained down on opposition-held parts of Aleppo Thursday, despite a temporary ceasefire designed to allow humanitarian aid into the contested Syrian city, activists said.

Food enters eastern Aleppo after month-long blockade, activists say

Syrian rebels on Wednesday managed to bring food into eastern Aleppo for the first time since government forces isolated the opposition enclave last month, a monitoring group said.

Syrian regime regains firing positions over Aleppo lifeline: monitor

Syrian regime forces regained ground Tuesday in Aleppo, threatening to cut off a lifeline that rebels forced through into the city's besieged eastern sector, a monitoring group said.

Syrian regime reinforces Aleppo as rebels vow "new stage" in assault

The Syrian government sent thousands of reinforcements to mount a counterattack Monday in Aleppo after rebels broke through government lines two days earlier, a monitoring group said.

Syrian rebels claim to have broken government siege of eastern Aleppo

A number of Syrian opposition forces say that rebels attacking Aleppo have broken through government lines and linked up with fighters in the city's besieged rebel-held east.

US-backed Syrian forces capture Minbij from Islamic State: watchdog

US-backed Syrian forces have captured the city of Minbij in northern Syria from the Islamic State extremist militia, a monitoring group reported on Saturday.

Syrian group wants to swap bodies of Russians for prisoners

A little-known Syrian opposition group has said it is ready to exchange the bodies of five Russian crew, whose helicopter was downed in north-western Syria this week, for prisoners held in government jails.

Heavy airstrikes target rebel-held Aleppo area, activists say

A series of airstrikes by the Syrian regime and its Russian allies hit the besieged rebel side of Aleppo on Thursday amid fierce ground fighting in the contested northern city, a monitor group and activists said. 

Syrian regime forces recapture areas of south-west Aleppo from rebels

Syrian regime forces backed by Russian airstrikes recaptured Wednesday hills and villages on the outskirts of south-western Aleppo from rebel groups, a monitoring group and state-run media said.

30 killed in shelling as rebels advance in Aleppo, watchdog says

At least 30 civilians were killed in shellfire by Syrian rebel groups advancing in the south-western districts of Aleppo over the last 24 hours, a monitoring group said Tuesday.

Syrian rebels gain ground as Aleppo assault enters second day

Syrian rebels advanced against regime forces on Monday as an offensive aimed at breaking the siege of eastern Aleppo went into its second day, activists and a monitoring group said.

Monitor: Regime forces hit rebel areas in Aleppo despite aid offer

Syrian regime forces on Friday attacked the opposition-held section of the northern city of Aleppo despite an announcement by Damascus and allied Russia of starting a humanitarian operation for people besieged there, a monitoring group and activists said.

Russia announces humanitarian operation in Syria's besieged Aleppo

Russia and the Syrian government are beginning a massive humanitarian operation in the besieged northern city of Aleppo, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said Thursday.

Islamic State claims second church attacker appears in video

Abdel-Malik Nabil Petitjean, the man identified Thursday as the second assailant in this week's attack on a French church the left an octogenarian priest dead, is purported to appear in an Islamic State video calling for more violence. 

Syria's al-Nusra Front splits from al-Qaeda terrorist network

Al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda's branch in Syria, will split from the terrorist network and change its name to Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (Front for the Conquest of Levant), its leader said in a video on Thursday.

Syria, Russia make extensive use of cluster munitions, HRW says

Syrian government forces and their Russian allies have extensively used widely banned cluster munitions in their attacks on opposition-held areas, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Thursday.

Second-largest aid convoy enters besieged rebel enclave in Syria

A 48-truck convoy, the second-largest during Syria's five-year conflict, has entered a besieged rebel-held area near the central city of Homs, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said Tuesday.

Islamic State ignores ultimatum, fights Kurds in Syrian town Minbij

Islamic State fighters were locked in battle with US-backed Syrian forces in Minbij on Saturday, disregarding an ultimatum from the advancing Kurdish-led forces to leave the northern Syrian town.

955 civilians killed in Aleppo fight in three months, monitor says

At least 955 civilians, including 219 children, have been killed in fighting in Syria's northern city of Aleppo over the past three months, a monitoring group reported Friday.

US volunteer killed in fighting against Islamic State in Syria

Levi Jonathan Shirley, a former US marine who went to Syria to fight against Islamic State, was killed last week in a battle against the extremist militia, local Kurds and a monitoring group reported on Friday.

Israeli plane attacks Syria-controlled side of Golan, monitor says

An Israeli warplane on Wednesday fired a rocket into the Syrian-controlled side of the Golan Heights, a monitoring group reported.

56 civilians killed in US-led airstrikes in Syria, monitor group says

At least 56 civilians were killed Tuesday in new  airstrikes by a US-led coalition near the Islamic State-held northern Syrian city of Minbij, a monitoring group said.

Reports: Syrian regime areas celebrate attempted coup in Turkey

Celebratory gunfire and fireworks filled the skies in Syrian areas under the control of president Bashar al-Assad as news circulated that the Turkish military was attempting to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, eyewitnesses in Damascus tell dpa.

28 killed in airstrikes on rebel-held areas in Syria, monitor says

At least 28 civilians were killed on Wednesday in airstrikes by unidentified warplanes on two rebel-held towns in Syria, according to a monitoring group.

Syrian troops killed in tunnel blast as Aleppo rebels strike back

Nineteen Syrian government soldiers and security officers were killed on Monday when rebels detonated explosives in a tunnel under their positions in the northern city of Aleppo, a monitoring group said.

Watchdog: Islamic State puts its own currency into circulation

The Islamic State extremist group has started using a currency of its own for oil trading in eastern Syria, a monitoring group said Saturday.

Monitor: At least 43 civilians killed in Aleppo's retaliatory hits

At least 43 civilians have been killed in tit-for-tat attacks by rebels and Syrian regime forces in the northern city of Aleppo, a monitoring group reported on Saturday.

Syrian rebels shell regime areas in retaliation for Aleppo offensive

Syrian opposition rebels heavily shelled regime areas in the northern city of Aleppo late Friday, killing at least 25 civilians, including four children, after Syrian forces intensified shelling and airstrikes on rebel-held areas in the city, a monitoring group said.

Syrian forces cut off key rebel road in Aleppo

Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad have cut off the only supply road to rebel-held areas in the northern city of Aleppo, state media and monitors reported on Thursday.

Syrian forces advance in Aleppo despite truce, monitors say

Forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad regained area from rebels in northern Aleppo province and were coming close to a strategic road Thursday just a day after the announcement of a unilateral ceasefire, a monitoring group reported. 

Rebels report violations after Syrian government declares truce

Syrian opposition forces said there were almost immediate violations of a unilateral three-day truce declared on Wednesday by President Bashar al-Assad's government.

Syrian government declares 72-hour unilateral truce for Eid al-Fitr

The Syrian government has declared a unilateral three-day ceasefire, set to last until the end of Friday, state-run news agency SANA reported.

Monitor: Regime bombardment kills 20 in rebel-held area near Damascus

At least 20 civilians were killed on Saturday by Syrian government airstrikes and shelling on a rebel-held area near Damascus, where the pilot of a crashed regime warplane was killed the day before, a monitoring group said.

Al-Assad: West negotiates with Syria as it publicly condemns regime

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has called the West two-faced in its relations with Syria, accusing the US and European nations of negotiating behind closed doors while publicly attacking the actions of his government.

Al-Assad: West deals with us under the table

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said in an interview broadcast on Friday that the West secretly deals with his government while attacking it in public.