Syria

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.

Blast in north-eastern Lebanon kills two, wounds three others

At least two Syrians were killed and three other people were wounded on Thursday when an explosion rocked Lebanon's north-eastern town of Arsal on the border with Syria, police and state-media reported.

Tillerson says future of al-Assad is up to the Syrian people

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visited Turkey on Thursday, amid tensions between the nations and joint efforts to defeat Islamic State, and said the future of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad would depend on the Syrian people.

UN asks world for help as Syrian refugee numbers exceed 5 million

The number of Syrians who have fled the war in their country has risen above 5 million, in what is the world's largest refugee crisis, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said Thursday in Geneva.

Turkish prime minister says Syria operation has reached an end

The Turkish military operation in northern Syria, ongoing since August, has reached its conclusion, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Wednesday.

Man gets prison sentence for smuggling 26, mostly Syrians, to Germany

A German court has sentenced a Turkish man to three years and nine months in prison for smuggling at least 26 people

At least five killed in blast in central Syria, monitor says

At least five people were killed Wednesday in an explosion that hit a minibus in a government-controlled area of central Syria, a monitoring group said.

Kurdish-led forces briefly halt fighting around Syria's Euphrates Dam

The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) briefly halted fighting around the Euphrates Dam in Syria after warnings that it might collapse, a Kurdish source and a monitoring group told dpa.

Around 2,500 civilians, rebels to leave besieged area central Syria

Some 2,500 people will leave the last opposition-held neighbourhood in the central Syrian city of Homs on Monday, the second batch of residents and rebels to be evacuated under a Russia-brokered deal.

Rebels fight for control of dam, airbase near IS stronghold in Syria

Clashes intensified Sunday on the western outskirts of al-Raqqa as US-backed rebels were trying to capture control of a strategic dam and military airport from the control of Islamic State extremist militia, according to a watchdog and rebels.

Watchdog: At least 32 killed in airstrikes on rebel areas in Syria

Eight children were among at least 32 people killed in airstrikes on two different rebel-held areas in Syria, a monitoring group reported Saturday.

Syrian army retakes parts of East Damascus as Geneva talks continue

The Syrian army said on Friday that its units had managed to retake all positions in eastern Damascus that had been infiltrated by opposition fighters earlier this week.

French defence minister: Battle for al-Raqqa to start in days

A military offensive aimed at dislodging Islamic State from its Syrian stronghold of al-Raqqa is to begin "in the coming days," French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday.

Turkey calls in Russian envoy over Kurdish enclave in Syria

Turkey's Foreign Ministry has called in the Russian chargé d'affaires, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported Thursday.

US, Kurdish forces land near IS stronghold in Syria, watchdog says

US and allied Kurd-led forces landed near the Islamic State's de facto capital in Syria in a move aimed at tightening the noose around the extremist militia there, a monitoring group said Wednesday.

PM says 120 Bosnian citizens in Syrian-Iraqi war zone

Bosnian Council of Ministers Chairman Denis Zvizdic on Wednesday said claims that thousands of people from his country were fighting for Islamic extremists abroad were incorrect and exaggerated, adding that available intelligence showed their number was just over 100.

33 civilians killed in airstrikes on IS stronghold in Syria

At least 33 civilians have been killed in airstrikes believed to have been mounted by US-led coalition planes near Islamic State's de facto capital in Syria, a monitoring group said Wednesday. 

Syrian opposition groups agree to take part in Geneva peace talks

Syrian opposition groups have agreed to take part in the next round of peace talks in Geneva, the office of UN special envoy Staffan de Mistura confirmed on Tuesday.

Airstrikes, clashes as rebels launch attack in eastern Damascus

Airstrikes and clashes intensified Tuesday as Syrian opposition fighters and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad fight for control of areas in eastern Damascus, according to a monitoring group, rebels and a resident in the city.

Russian forces set up in Kurdish enclave in north Syria: spokesman

Russian forces have established a presence in the Kurdish enclave of Efrin in northern Syria, on the border with Turkey, a spokesman for the main Kurdish militia told dpa on Monday.

Syrian government retakes areas seized by rebels in eastern Damascus

Syrian government forces regained control Monday of areas taken by jihadists the day before in a surprise assault near the centre of the capital Damascus, a monitoring group said.

Syrian regime regains control in Damascus after fight with jihadists

Syrian regime forces Sunday launched a counter-attack and regained an area near the centre of Damascus hours after jihadists mounted a surprise assault in the adjacent eastern part of the city, a monitoring group reported.

Syrian rebels, residents leave besieged Homs area in ceasefire deal

Residents and fighters began leaving a rebel district in the central Syrian city of Homs, around a week after a ceasefire agreement was reached with the government, state media and a monitoring group reported.

Israel carries out air raids in Syria, anti-aircraft weapons fired

Israel carried out air raids in Syria on Friday, with Syria retaliating using anti-aircraft weapons, in one of the more serious exchanges of fire in the six years of civil war in the country.

Report: US denies deadly Syria mosque bombing

The US military on Thursday said it had killed a number of extremists in an airstrike in Syria, but denied it was responsible for the bombing of a mosque in which activists say at least 42 people were killed.

At least 46 dead in Syria mosque bombing, monitor says

At least 46 people have been killed and more than 100 injured in overnight strikes by unidentified jets on a mosque in northern Syria, a monitoring group said on Friday.

Al-Qaeda-linked group distances itself from deadly Damascus blasts

An al-Qaeda-linked alliance Thursday denied it was behind two bombings that killed at least 43 people and injured more than 100 in the Syrian capital, Damascus.

EU countries register 1.2 million asylum seekers in 2016

EU member states registered just over 1.2 million first-time asylum applications in 2016, which is slightly lower than the number of asylum claims submitted in 2015, the European Union's statistical office said Thursday.

At least 43 killed, over 100 wounded in two Damascus suicide bombings

Two suicide bombings in Damascus targeting a court complex and a restaurant left 43 people dead and 117 wounded Wednesday as Syria's devastating civil war entered its seventh year.

Indonesia checking reports militant killed in Syria

Authorities in Indonesia were on Wednesday checking reports that an Indonesian militant fighting alongside the Islamic State group had died in a suicide bombing.

Syrian rebels say they will not attend this week's Astana talks

Syrian rebels will not attend the Russian-backed talks scheduled to take place Tuesday and Wednesday in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana.

Death toll in Damascus twin bombings rises to 74, monitor says

The death toll in twin blasts that hit a religious site in the Syrian capital has risen to 74 people, a monitoring group reported on Sunday.

46 dead, dozens injured in twin blasts in Damascus, monitor says

At least 30 people are dead after a pair of apparently synchronized blasts in Damascus, a monitoring group reported Saturday.

Turkish artillery targeted Syrian forces and US-backed units

Turkish-backed operations in northern Syria are attacking Syrian government troops outside the flashpoint city of Minbij, with several people reported killed and injured in recent days, local sources told dpa on Friday.

US deploys 400 Marines to Syria, nearly doubling troop presence there

The US military confirmed Thursday that an extra 400 US troops have been deployed to Syria, including Marines who will support a major offensive to recapture al-Raqqa, Islamic State's de-facto capital in the country.

Israel's Netanyahu warns Putin against Iranian influence in Syria

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday against Iranian influence in war-torn Syria.

Monitor: 30 killed in airstrikes on Islamic State-held Syrian areas

At least 30 civilians were killed on Thursday in a series of airstrikes on two areas controlled by the Islamic State extremist militia in Syria, a monitoring group reported.

Report: US Marines equipped with artillery deploy to Syria

US Marines have arrived at an outpost in Syria as the United States weighs a plan to take back the city of Raqqa from Islamic State, a news report said Wednesday.

Russian, Turkish, US military chiefs holding surprise talks on Syria

The chiefs of the Russian, Turkish and US militaries were meeting Tuesday in Turkey for a previously unannounced session about Syria, according to statements from the participants.

US-backed militia hands over posts near Minbij to Syrian forces

A US-backed militia positioned in northern Syria said on Tuesday it has handed areas west of Minbij to Syrian government forces, an official source said. 

Aid group: Syria conflict leaves children in state of 'toxic stress'

Many Syrian children live in a state of “toxic stress” as one in four children still inside the war-torn country is at risk of developing mental health disorders, according to a new study by Save the Children.

US-backed forces claim strategic advances in north-eastern Syria

Strategic advances claimed by US-supported militants have reportedly cut off the road between two Islamic State strongholds in Syria as part of operations to liberate the city of al-Raqqa from the extremist group.

UN: Fighting forces 66,000 to flee al-Bab in northern Syria

Around 66,000 people have been displaced by recent fighting in and around the northern Syrian city of al-Bab, the United Nations humanitarian agency said on Sunday.

Report: Turkey finds pilot of crashed Syrian government plane

Turkey has found the pilot of the Syrian government warplane that crashed just inside its territory and he was taken to hospital, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported Sunday, citing the governor of Hatay province on the border.

Turkey: Plane, believed to be Syrian, crashes near border

A plane, thought to belong to the Syrian army, crashed Saturday near the Turkish-Syrian border, Turkish officials said.

Regime forces gain ground from Islamic State in northern Syria

Syrian government forces have gained ground in the northern part of the war-torn country amid an ongoing campaign against the Islamic State extremist militia, a monitoring group and state media reported Saturday.

US confirms boosted military presence in Minbij to 'deter threats'

The US has increased its military presence in the northern Syrian town of Minbij, seemingly in an effort to ward off a threatened Turkish attack on US allies in the area.

Kurdish infighting in northern Iraq stops after casualties

Clashes between two rival Kurdish factions in Iraq's northern region of Sinjar stopped Friday after leaving one fighter dead and seven injured, a local official said, amid concern about the effect on the war on Islamic State. 

Syrian state forces to back Kurds under threat from Turkey

Russia, the main military backer of Syria's government, said Friday that Syrian state forces have been deployed to the northern Syrian city of Manbij to support Kurdish forces.

Clashes erupt between rival Kurdish forces in northern Iraq

Clashes erupted Friday between rival Kurdish forces in northern Iraq, near the Sinjar mountains, local media outlets reported, raising concerns for the battle against Islamic State.

Syrian army wrests control of Palmyra from Islamic State

The Syrian army said that its troops regained control of Palmyra from the Islamic State extremist militia on Thursday, a day after they entered the ancient city.

Syrian forces face IS resistance in push to retake control of Palmyra

Syrian regime forces were facing resistance from Islamic State as they attempted to retake full control of the ancient city of Palmyra a day after entering it, a monitoring group said.

Swiss-French cement giant paid protection money to Syrian extremists

The world's largest maker of building materials, LafargeHolcim, paid protection money to extremists in Syria to keep one of its plants running, the firm admitted Thursday.

Germany arrests Syrian accused of war crimes

German authorities have arrested a Syrian national on war crimes charges over the killings of dozens of civilians in Syria in 2013 as a member of the al-Nusra Front terrorist group, prosecutors said Thursday.

Russia, Syria aircraft accidentally bomb US-backed rebels

Russian and Syria aircraft inadvertently bombed US-backed rebels in northern Syria, the general overseeing US operations said Wednesday.

Syrian forces attacked Aleppo with chlorine gas, UN probe says

Syrian security forces attacked civilians with chlorine gas in Aleppo last year, UN investigators concluded in a report on Wednesday, a day after China and Russia vetoed new sanctions against Syria for its use of chemical weapons.

Russia, China veto Syria sanctions in UN Security Council

Russia and China on Tuesday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for sanctions against the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad for its use of chemical weapons.

Italy restores, returns IS-vandalized busts to Syria

Two ancient Roman busts, which were transported to Italy after being vandalized by the Islamic State extremist group in the Syrian city of Palmyra, have been restored and returned to Damascus, the Italian ministry of culture said Tuesday.

Syrian refugees arrive in Italy with help from Christian groups

A group of 50 Syrian refugees, more than half of them children, landed in Italy early Monday, entering the country on humanitarian visas obtained with the help of a lay Catholic NGO, Protestant organizations and the Italian government.

White Helmets, grateful for Oscar nod, hope for peace in Syria

Members of the Syria Civil Defence group, a neutral team of some 3,000 volunteers providing aid to Syria's rebel-held areas, expressed joy on Monday that a film documenting their work won an Oscar for best short documentary.

Drone strike kills Al-Qaeda deputy leader in Syria, monitor says

Al-Qaeda's second-in-command, who goes by the name of Abu al-Khayr al-Masri, has been killed in a drone strike in north-western Syria, a monitoring group said Monday.

Turkey has built 290 kilometres of wall on border with Syria

Turkey has erected 290 kilometres of a planned 511-kilometre wall along its border with Syria, local media reported Sunday, citing the head of the building authority in charge of the project.

Syrian forces close in on city held by Turkish-backed rebels

Syrian government forces on Sunday seized a town from the Islamic State extremist militia near the northern city of al-Bab already under the control of Turkish-backed rebels, Syrian state media and monitors reported.

Monitor: Syrian regime forces killed in fighting near Lebanon border

Dozens of Syrian regime troops were killed and injured in an attack on Sunday by hardline jihadists led by an al-Qaeda-linked group near the Lebanese border, a monitor said.

Syrian government vows retribution for Homs attacks that killed 42

The Syrian government vowed retribution for synchronized attacks on Saturday in Homs City that left 42 security personnel dead and reportedly involved up to six suicide bombers.

Top US general visits Syrian Kurds with focus on al-Raqqa campaign

A top US general visited Syrian Kurdish forces and their allies in northern Syria this week, amid signs the US military was increasing its support for anti-Islamic State forces, despite risks that such a move could anger neighbouring Turkey. 

Coordinated suicide attacks kill over 40 in Syria’s Homs

Forty-two security personnel were killed Saturday in synchronized attacks targeting government security facilities in the Syrian city of Homs, a monitoring group said, with up to six suicide bombers reported to be involved.

Monitor: Death toll in al-Bab car bombing rises to 77

The death toll in a car bombing claimed by the Islamic State extremist militia in the northern Syrian city of al-Bab on Friday has risen to 77 people, a monitoring group reported Saturday.

Iraq launches its first airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria

Iraq launched its first airstrikes against Islamic State targets inside Syria on Friday, retaliation for recent deadly attacks by the extremist militia in Baghdad, the Iraqi army said.

Islamic State claims car bomb that killed 51 in Syria's al-Bab

A car bomb claimed by the Islamic State killed at least 51 people in Syria's northern city of al-Bab on Friday, a day after a Turkish-backed operation seized the area from Islamic State militants, a monitoring group reported.

Syrian rebels claim full control of al-Bab, defeating IS

Syrian rebels backed by Turkey said Thursday they are fully in control of al-Bab, wresting it from Islamic State after a military campaign that began in November and cost hundreds of lives.

UN talks peace with Syrian regime, opposition as fighting escalates

The United Nations launched a new effort at Syrian peace talks in Geneva on Thursday, as heavy fighting between regime and rebel forces dampened hopes for any quick solution to end the war after nearly six years.

Monitor: Israeli jets hit arms depots near Damascus

 Israeli warplanes Wednesday hit arms depots near the Syrian capital Damascus, a monitoring group reported.

German court rules against automatic refugee status for Syrians

Syrians fleeing the multi-sided civil war in their home country do not have an automatic right to refugee status under the Geneva Convention, a German court ruled Tuesday.

French police arrest three over suspected terror plans, source says

French authorities have arrested three men in relation to suspected plans to carry out attacks in the country or travel to Syria, a source close to the investigation told dpa on Tuesday.

Rebels seek to halt advances by extremist militia in southern Syria

Moderate Syrian rebels launched a counter-attack on Islamic State-linked militants after a series of Islamic State advances in south-western Syria, near the Golan Heights, a monitoring group said Tuesday.

Le Pen says al-Assad is better solution for Syria than Islamic State

France's far-right leader and presidential candidate Marine Le Pen said Monday that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad remains the more reassuring solution for France than Islamic State.

Four Russian servicemen in Syria killed in vehicle bombing

Four Russian servicemen were killed and two others injured when a remote-controlled bomb exploded under their vehicle in Syria's western Homs region, Russian state media reported Monday, citing the Defence Ministry.

Monitor: Syrian forces kill 16 firing rockets on Damascus outskirts

Syrian government forces fired at least 10 rockets at the north-eastern Damascus suburb of al-Qaboun on Sunday, killing 16 people in an attack that began a day earlier, a monitoring group said.

Boris Johnson: No crises in Ukraine, Syria with Trump in charge

The crises in Ukraine and Syria wouldn't have happened had Donald Trump been US president at the time, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said on Friday.

No breakthrough between Syrian regime, rebels at talks in Astana

There was no breakthrough in negotiations intended to strengthen a broad ceasefire in war-torn Syria between government and opposition forces on Thursday, the opposition delegation said.

Sweden sentences Syrian man to life over killing of Syrian soldiers

A Swedish court on Thursday sentenced a Syrian man to life imprisonment over his involvement in the 2012 killing of seven captive Syrian government soldiers.

Turkish attacks on Syrian town kill 24 civilians, monitor says

Turkish attacks on the town of al-Bab held by the Islamic State extremist militia in northern Syria have killed at least 24 civilians over the past 24 hours, a monitoring group said Thursday.

Kazakhstan: Syria truce talks postponed to Thursday

International talks intended to strengthen a countrywide ceasefire in war-torn Syria have been postponed by a day, the host state Kazakhstan said Wednesday.

Rival jihadist fighting kills 70 militants in Syria, watchdog says

Fighting between two anti-regime militant factions in north-western Syria has killed nearly 70 fighters from both sides in the last 24 hours, a monitoring group said.

Turkish forces control most of al-Bab in Syria, prime minister says

Turkish forces and allied Syrian rebel forces control of most of al-Bab, a town in northern Syria previously held by Islamic State, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Tuesday.

Syrian opposition says Russia is not serious about ceasefire

The Syrian opposition on Monday accused Russia of not being serious about a ceasefire in the war-torn country and threatened not to attend an upcoming meeting in the Kazah capital Astana.

Syrian army advances in attempt to retake Palmyra from Islamic State

The Syrian state army has advanced to within 20 kilometres of Palmyra in an attempt to retake the ancient oasis city from the UN-designated terrorist group Islamic State, the Russian Defence Ministry said Monday.

Kazakhstan invites Syria government, rebels to talks next week

Syrian government and rebel delegations were invited along with the United Nation's special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, to meetings in Astana on February 15-16, Kazakhstan's Foreign Ministry said Saturday.

Syrian regime forces advance on Islamic State stronghold

Syrian regime forces and the allied Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah drew closer late Friday to al-Bab city, the last remaining significant stronghold of the Islamic State movement in northern Syria, a monitoring group said.

Syrian prison killings report 'extremely consistent' with UN findings

Amnesty International's report about thousands of killings of Syrian prisoners matches evidence collected by UN human rights investigators, a UN spokesman said Friday in Geneva.

Kremlin: Turkey gave coordinates for bombing that killed Turks

A Russian airstrike targeting Islamic State militants that killed three Turkish soldiers in northern Syria was based on coordinates provided by Turkey, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday.

Leading Syrian jihadist opposes peace talks, vows fighting

A chief of a hardline jihadist alliance, including the al-Qaeda-linked Fatah al-Sham Front, on Friday baulked at talks aimed at ending Syria's conflict of almost six years and vowed to continue fighting.

Russian strike accidentally kills three Turkish soldiers in Syria

A Russian jet conducting anti-Islamic State airstrikes accidentally hit a building housing Turkish soldiers in northern Syria on Thursday, killing three troops and injuring 11, though both sides appeared to be trying to head off tensions.

Syrian rebels, regime vie for seizing Islamic State stronghold

Syrian rebels, backed by Turkey, and government forces were vying Wednesday to gain control of the Islamic State stronghold of al-Bab in the northern part of the war-torn country, a monitoring group said.

Syria denies Amnesty report on prison mass hangings

Syria Wednesday dismissed as "baseless" a report by Amnesty International, accusing the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of hanging up to 13,000 people in a prison near the capital Damascus over the past five years.

Death toll in Idlib airstrikes rises to 26, monitoring group says

At least 26 people were killed in a series of airstrikes that targeted a headquarters of the al-Qaeda-linked Fatah al-Sham group in Syria's north-western city of Idlib, activists and a monitoring group said.

Amnesty: Syrian government jail secretly hanged up to 13,000 people

A military jail authorized at the highest levels of the Syrian government has overseen a "monstrous campaign" of secret atrocities, including the hanging of up to 13,000 people in five years, Amnesty International said on Tuesday.

Syria ceasefire enforcers Russia, Turkey map out terrorist-held areas

Russia, Turkey and Iran - the enforcers of a broad ceasefire in war-torn Syria - have mapped out the areas they believe are controlled by the moderate opposition forces included in the truce and the terrorist groups that aren't, a Russian general said Monday.