Syria's War | Al Jazeera America

News Live Blog

Syria's War

Breaking news coverage of developments in Syria's War and the broader regional conflict, including allegations of the deadly use of chemical weapons and the international community's response

  • Hezbollah said Wednesday that Israel carried out an airstrike targeting one of its positions near the border with Syria earlier this week, vowing to retaliate.

    The attack, which Israel has not acknowledged, is the Jewish state's first reported air attack inside Lebanese territory since the start of the Syrian conflict three years ago.

    The airstrike which occurred Monday night caused material damage but no casualties, according to a statement issued by Hezbollah.

    Israel has fired artillery across the border, and carried out similar airstrikes inside Syria targeting suspected weapons shipments believed to be bound from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon.

    Hezbollah, allied to President Bashar Assad in Syria, has been battling alongside his troops in areas near the border and has lost at least several hundred fighters.

    The reported airstrike near the border was initially met with silence by Lebanese and Hezbollah officials who declined to confirm if or where it had happened. But on Wednesday, Hezbollah said the attack took place near the eastern Lebanese village of Janta. It denied media reports that any artillery or rocket positions had been hit or any casualties resulting from the attack.

    The porous border is frequently used by fighters and smugglers to move people and weapons between Lebanon and Syria. The area is a bastion of Hezbollah support and the group is known to have several outposts and training camps there. Arab media reports said Hezbollah had suffered casualties, though neither the group nor the Lebanese military confirmed an airstrike had actually taken place.

    "We will retaliate for this Israeli aggression, and the resistance will choose the appropriate time and place as well as appropriate means to respond," Hezbollah said.

    The Israeli military declined comment on the Hezbollah claim.

    Israel and Hezbollah fought a monthlong war in 2006 that ended in a stalemate. Israeli officials believe Hezbollah has restocked its arsenal with tens of thousands of rockets and missiles, some of which are capable of striking virtually anywhere in the Jewish state.

    Although Israel has refrained from taking sides in the Syrian civil war, Netanyahu has repeatedly vowed to take action to prevent Hezbollah from obtaining "game changing" weapons from its ally Syria. Past Israeli airstrikes are believed to have targeted Russian-made anti-aircraft missiles and guided missiles from Iran. Israel has never confirmed the airstrikes.

    [The Associated Press]
  • According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, the official number of refugees from Syria has hit 2.5 million.


    See more statistics from UNHCR here
  • Former Gitmo detainee arrested in UK

    A former Guantanamo Bay detainee who is a well-known advocate for the rights of terrorism suspects was arrested on suspicion of Syria-related terrorism offenses, British police said Tuesday.

    West Midlands Police said Moazzam Begg was one of four people arrested in the Birmingham area of central England.

    Police said Begg, 45, is suspected of "attending a terrorist training camp and facilitating terrorism overseas."

    He was arrested along with a 44-year-old woman, her 20-year-old son and a 36-year-old man. Their names were not released.

    Police in Britain do not usually name suspects until they are charged. The force said it was identifying Begg to the media "as a result of the anticipated high public interest."

    The four suspects were being questioned at a Birmingham police station, while counterterrorism officers searched their homes.

    Begg was held by the U.S. government at Bagram detention center in Afghanistan then Guantanamo Bay for nearly three years after being arrested in Pakistan in February 2002 on suspicions that he was a member of Al-Qaeda.

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • Hundreds of Syrian children who have fled to neighbouring Lebanon to escape their country's civil war are increasingly at risk of dying from malnutrition, international aid organizations said in a report on Tuesday.

    The assessment conducted by the United Nations children's fund UNICEF and other agencies found that about 10,000 Syrians under five years old are suffering from acute malnutrition, including around 1,800 who are at risk of dying and require immediate treatment to survive.

    The study was based on a sample of about 9,000 refugees across Lebanon, where more than 935,000 Syrians have registered with the U.N. since Syria's conflict began in 2011 - swelling the existing population of 4 million.

    UNICEF warned that the prevalence of malnutrition in some parts of Lebanon had almost doubled since 2012 and could deteriorate further.

    Annamaria Laurini, the UNICEF representative in Lebanon, called malnutrition "a new, silent threat among refugees in Lebanon" and said it was linked to poor hygiene, unsafe drinking water, diseases, lack of immunization and improper feeding practices of young children.

    "We are dealing with a population that is every day more poor, which means less access to food and adequate nutrition," she said. "That's why we need to be vigilant."

    With a weak government and threadbare national infrastructure even before the Syrian crisis erupted almost three years ago, Lebanon is struggling to support the refugees, which the World Bank estimates will cost around $2.6 billion over three years.

    Western countries have been reluctant to assist by giving money directly to Lebanon's government, which includes ministers from the military and political movement Hezbollah - designated a terrorist organisation by Washington and its allies.

    Malnutrition has also become a growing threat to civilians still living in Syria, where fighting and sieges have prevented residents in eastern provinces and towns near the capital from accessing food for weeks or even months. (ID:nL6N0KO15G)

    There are no official camps for Syrians displaced to Lebanon, so most crowd into the homes of relatives or friends or live in unfinished buildings or informal tented settlements.

    More than 1,000 of the most severe cases of malnutrition were identified among the hundreds of makeshift shelters in the Bekaa valley along the border with Syria, which hosts more than 300,000 refugees, the largest concentration in the country.

    Zeroual Azzeddine, a UNICEF nutritionist, said that despite a developed healthcare system, Lebanon is poorly positioned to deal with a wave of malnutrition because the condition was virtually nonexistent before the crisis in Syria began.

    He said UNICEF was cooperating with the ministry of health and other aid agencies to expand early screening and management of malnutrition. UNICEF has treated 400 cases so far.

    "There is a need to prepare for a crisis," said Azzeddine.

    [Reuters]
  • The leader of Al-Qaeda-linked Syrian militants has given his extremist rivals an ultimatum, according to The Associated Press. 

    From the AP:

    The leader of a powerful al-Qaida-linked group in Syria gave a rival breakaway group a five-day ultimatum to accept arbitration by leading clerics to end infighting or be expelled from the region.

    The ultimatum was issued by Nusra Front leader Abu Mohammed al-Golani in an audio message in which he warned the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant that it would be driven both from Syria and "even from Iraq" if it rejected the results of arbitration.

    The audio message was produced by Nusra Front's media arm al-Manara al-Baydha and was posted on militant websites Tuesday, two days after the killing of Abu Khaled al-Suri who acts as al-Qaida chief Ayman al-Zawahri's representative in Syria. He was believed to be assassinated by two suicide bombers from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

    Heavy clashes between the group and other and other rebel factions in opposition-held northern and eastern Syria have killed hundreds of people since the beginning of the year and undermined the fight to topple President Bashar Assad.

    The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant has angered other factions with its brutal tactics and campaign to Islamize areas under its control in the northeast.

    "We are waiting for your official answer within five days of issuing this statement," al-Golani warned the group, adding that Syrians have been putting up with its aggression for a full year.

    "By God, if you reject God's judgment again, and do not stop your arrogant overlording over the Muslim nation, then (we) will be forced to launch an assault against this aggressive, ignorant ideology and will expel it, even from Iraq," he said.

    Al-Golani suggested the arbitration be conducted by three senior al-Qaida ideologists, including one serving a prison sentence and another standing trial on terrorism charges in Jordan.



  • According to activists, air raids in Syria killed 18 people Monday, Reuters reports.

    From Reuters:

    Air raids on rebel-held towns in central Syria killed 18 people on Monday, activists said, two days after the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution demanding an end to indiscriminate shelling and aerial attacks.

    Syria's almost three-year-old conflict has raged on despite peace talks that began in Geneva last month and the passage of the U.N. resolution, a rare moment of unity between the West and Russia, President Bashar al-Assad's strongest backer.

    Two women and two children were among the dead in government air raids on the town of al-Neshabieh, in the eastern outskirts of Damascus, near a railway marking the frontline between Islamist fighters and Assad's forces backed by Lebanese Hezbollah militants, and in the province of Homs to the north.

    "Two simultaneous raids hit Neshabieh first. People were pulling the bodies of a women and her two children from one house when the planes came back and hit the crowed, killing another nine," activist Abu Sakr told Reuters from the area.

    He said artillery fire from a battalion based at Damascus airport and the nearby town of Mleiha then hit the town. Fifty people were wounded in the combined bombardment, he said.

    Photos taken by activists, purportedly at a field hospital in the area, showed a girl's body covered in a white shroud, and the decapitated bodies of several men. Reuters could not independently verify the pictures.

    "We barely managed to take the bodies before the artillery hit," said a rescue worker at the field hospital who goes by the name Abu Abdo.


  • According to activists, a Syrian militant linked to Al-Qaeda has been killed in a bombing, The Los Angeles Times reports.

    From the Times:

    A well-known Syrian rebel commander who was close to Al Qaeda’s leadership was killed Sunday in a suicide bombing linked by some to an Al Qaeda breakaway group, opposition activists said.

    The attack in the northern city of Aleppo was the latest apparent incident of infighting among rebel factions ostensibly united in their commitment to ousting the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Intra-rebel battles have raged in recent weeks in northern Syria.

    Killed in the strike was a militant leader known by the pseudonym Abu Khaled al-Suri, co-founder of the Islamist Syrian rebel group Ahrar al Sham, according to various opposition accounts. Also killed in the attack were at least five other fighters from Ahrar al Sham, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a British-based pro-opposition monitoring group.

    The slain leader, acclaimed in Islamic militant circles, was said to have fought against U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and reportedly was an acquaintance of top Al Qaeda leadership, including the late Osama bin Laden and his successor, Ayman Zawahiri.

    Late last year, Zawahiri was reported to have named Suri to mediate a dispute between rival Al Qaeda factions in Syria.


    Read more at The Los Angeles Times
  • Activists: Car bomb kills 9 in Syrian town of Atmeh

    At least nine people were killed in a car bomb attack Sunday near a field hospital in the opposition-held Syrian town of Atmeh, close to the border with Turkey, activists said. The hospital is the only one for miles around, and has been crucial in treating civilians injured in the long-running Syrian conflict.

    The hospital is owned by Ghassan Aboud, a Gulf-based businessman who runs Orient Television, which said at least 10 people were killed.

    Parts of Orient hospital collapsed, and surrounding homes and cars were also affected by the bomb.

    "There are 50 casualties and they are being transported to Bab al-Hawa (crossing), and to another hospital in Atmeh," said witness Abdallah Saleh. The hospital was damaged, he said.

    It was not immediately clear who carried out the attack, but it aroused suspicions of possible involvement by the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) – an armed opposition group disavowed by al-Qaeda.

    Syria is in the throes of civil war, and Atmeh is in territory held by opposition groups fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.

    ISIL had a strong hold in Atmeh and used it as a key point for receiving foreign fighters and hosting them until they were sent elsewhere in the country. The group was kicked out of Atmeh after fighting erupted with other opposition groups in January.

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • Secretary of State John Kerry released the following statement about the United Nations Security Council resolution:

    This could be a hinge-point in the tortured three years of a Syria crisis bereft of hope. This overdue resolution, if fully implemented, will ensure humanitarian aid reaches people in Syria whose very lives depend on it. This is all about saving innocent lives and relieving the burden on Syria's neighboring countries.


    After three years of slaughter and savagery, people rightfully will question whether progress is possible, but this resolution holds the promise of something real. The proof is on paper. By naming the areas in Syria where sieges must be lifted, demanding that hospitals, schools and other places where civilians gather must be demilitarized, insisting that aid must be allowed to cross borders and follow the most direct routes to the suffering, and by underscoring that attacks against civilians, including barrel bombing, must end, the international community hasn't minced words. This is a resolution of concrete steps to answer the worst humanitarian crisis in the world today.


    But these steps are only first steps. Just as shipments of humanitarian aid mean little without access to beleaguered areas, resolutions demanding access mean little without full implementation. The test is whether the words of the Security Council are matched with the life-saving actions the Syrian people so desperately and urgently need.


  • Kerry on UNSC #Syria resolution: These steps are just 1st steps... "Resolutions demanding access mean little without full implementation"
  • Kerry on UNSC #Syria : People rightfully will question whether progress is possible, but this resolution holds the promise of something real.
  • Russia, China vote for UN humanitarian resolution on Syria

    The United Nations Security Council united for the first time on a resolution on Syria's humanitarian crisis Saturday, unanimously demanding that President Bashar al-Assad's government and the opposition provide immediate access everywhere in the country to agencies delivering aid to millions of people in desperate need.

    The fate of the Western- and Arab-backed resolution rested with Russia, Syria's closest ally, and China, another supporter.

    They decided to join the rest of the 15-member council in sending a strong message to the Assad government that food, medicine and other essentials must not be blocked for civilians caught in Syria’s three-year conflict.

    The resolution does not threaten sanctions – Russia insisted that this reference be dropped from the original Western- and Arab-backed text – but it does express the council's intention to take "further steps" if the resolution is not implemented.

    U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the council immediately after the vote that the resolution "should not have been necessary," because "humanitarian assistance is not something to be negotiated – it is something to be allowed by virtue of international law."

    "Half the country's people need urgent assistance," he said. "Host countries need support in caring for more than 2.5 million refugees."

    The U.N. chief said it is "profoundly shocking ... that both sides are besieging civilians as a tactic of war."

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • Photo: On Saturday the Security Council adopted a resolution on aid access in Syria. Info: j.mp/1jXA8AO http://pbs.twimg.com/media/BhGgmZvIEAAlMqP.jpg

  • The three authors of the UN Syrian humanitarian aid resolution addressed the media Saturday afternoon, saying the United Nations Security Council has been united.

    The council wanted a resolution that would bring about real change, but that will only happen if the resolution is fully implemented, according to the co-authors. 

    'There will be consequences' if the resolution is not implemented, they stressed.
  • #Syria rep at @UN B. Jaafari now lashes out at "sadistic" & "immoral" exploitation of country's humanitarian crisis by Western & Arab foes
  • British Foreign Secretary William Hague released the following statement about the UN resolution on Syrian humanitarian aid:

    “I welcome the unanimous adoption by the UN Security Council of resolution 2139. This is a vital step towards ensuring that humanitarian aid reaches millions of Syrians in desperate need of help, including those who have been denied their basic human right to food and medical aid.



    “The adoption of this resolution, on the initiative of the UK and our close partners, sends a clear message that the Assad regime cannot be allowed to starve hundreds of thousands of its own people into submission.




    “Our priority now is the full and immediate implementation of the resolution.




    “I call on the Assad regime to cease the indiscriminate use of aerial bombardment across Syria, including the barbaric use of barrel bombs, and immediately adhere to the obligations set by the Security Council and allow free and unfettered access for all humanitarian agencies.




    “We will not hesitate to return to the Security Council if the Assad regime fails to meet the demands in this resolution.




    “In parallel, the UK will remain at the forefront of the international humanitarian effort.
    We will intensify our support, with our allies, for the Geneva II process, to bring about a political settlement of the conflict in Syria. The international community should show the same sense of unity we have seen at the Security Council today, to support the Geneva II negotiations.

  • If implemented properly @UN Security Council's #Syria humanitarian resolution will go long way in easing suffering of civilians in country
  • Here's the #Syria resolution just adopted by the Security Council. twitdoc.com/2P6P
  • Unanimous action from UN Security Council on Syria important development-unity has been missing which impacted drive for political solution
  • The U.N. Security Council on Saturday unanimously adopted a resolution to boost humanitarian aid access in Syria, where the United Nations says 9.3 million people need help, that threatens to take "further steps" in the case of non-compliance.

    Russia and China, which have shielded Syria's government on the U.N. Security Council during the three-year-long civil war, voted in favor of the resolution. They had previously vetoed three resolutions condemning Syria's government and threatening it with possible sanctions.

    [Reuters]
  • Adopting this resolution is the easy part. Now must remain focused on implementation. No more broken promises, delays or false concessions.
  • Today’s unanimous #UNSC importantly demands that barrel bombing & forced starvation end & commits to acting in the face of non-compliance.
  • The United Nations has released Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's remarks to the Security Council on the adoption of the Syrian humanitarian resolution: 

    I very much welcome the adoption of this resolution.

    We are all keenly aware of the profound and prolonged desperation of the Syrian people.

    If this resolution is implemented quickly and in good faith, at least some of the suffering can be eased.

    It builds on the presidential statement adopted last year, and strengthens the Council’s engagement in protecting civilians and ensuring the delivery of relief. 

    The humanitarian situation in Syria continues to deteriorate.  Half the country’s people need urgent assistance.  Host countries need support in caring for more than 2.5 million refugees. 

    Civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict.  They are the daily victims of brutal violence and indiscriminate attacks, including the use of heavy weapons, aerial bombings, mortars and car bombs in population areas. 

    There are continued reports of massacres and atrocities throughout the country.

    Women and girls have been subjected to sexual and gender-based violence.

    Syrian Government and allied militias have been responsible for countless killings, disappearances, the horrendous use of barrel bombs and torture on a massive scale.

    Opposition groups have carried out summary executions, the recruitment of children for combat and the use of terror tactics in civilian areas.

    Attacks against civilian infrastructure, including schools and hospitals, continue unabated.

    These heinous acts are unacceptable and must stop immediately. All combatting parties in Syria must abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law. 

    I commend UN humanitarian personnel, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and our other partners for their bravery and commitment.

    Despite the dangerous circumstances, UN humanitarian agencies and our partners are reaching millions of people.  But too many millions are beyond our reach.  And funding continues to fall short; I urge the international community to step up its contributions. 

    Ladies and Gentlemen,

    This resolution should not have been necessary.  Humanitarian assistance is not something to be negotiated; it is something to be allowed by virtue of international law.

    Profoundly shocking to me is that both sides are besieging civilians as a tactic of war.

    Some 200,000 people are under siege in government-controlled areas – and 45,000 in opposition-controlled areas.

    More broadly, this resolution highlights again the urgent need to end the conflict.

    While the political process continues, we will continue to do all we can to provide relief and protection to people in need on the ground.

    Thank you.


  • #Syria : #UNSC adopts resolution UNANIMOUSLY. Strong message to stop atrocities against civilians & allow access! Implementation now crucial.
  • BREAKING: UN Security Council unanimously votes 15-0 in favour of Syrian humanitarian resolution.
  • BREAKING: Russia says it will support Syria humanitarian UN resolution.
  • UK Ambassador to UN says he hopes there will be unanimous support for Syria humanitarian resolution.
  • Syrian refugee children forced to work to support families in Lebanon

    Mahmoud used to be a mechanic in the Syrian town of Qusair. Today he’s using those skills to fix a truck that belongs to a friend of his landlord’s. Helping him are his 12- and 15-year-old nephews. It’s a Tuesday afternoon and they’re not in school, because there is no school they can attend.

    Thirty-year-old Mahmoud (whose name has been changed to protect his identity) finds work wherever he can. So do his children and his nephews. They’re all Syrian refugees who arrived in Lebanon six months ago with not much more than the clothes they were wearing. Mahmoud’s family and his brother’s family live amid a few scrawny cherry and apricot trees on a windswept patch of a farmer’s field near the Bekaa Valley city of Baalbak, across the border and about 35 miles from Qusair. The stark camp looks like a scene out of John Steinbeck’s Depression-era tale “The Grapes of Wrath,” with a mangy dog guarding the plot’s perimeter, marked by a rusting barbed-wire fence.

    Mahmoud’s daughter, Hamra, doesn’t attend school either. She stands near her mother and looks on as her cousins work on the truck. She wants to show visitors that she has contributed to the family’s survival as well. Holding up her hands, she demonstrates how she weaved dried tobacco into bunches last fall. She was working with her family — her mother, cousins and 7-year-old sister were all employed by tobacco farmers in the area.

    “I used to sew the leaves like this,” she says proudly, weaving her hands together. “I worked for three days.”

    Hamra is 5 years old. Her family was given the equivalent of $2 for every three hours she worked.

    “Yes,” says her mother, a 24-year-old who calls herself Um Omar. “They taught her how to sew, and she worked with us. I know it’s very difficult, but what can we do?”

    “We need to eat,” says Mahmoud, who is embarrassed but honest when asked why his 5-year-old daughter is working. “In Syria she would be in school. But here, what can we do?”

    Read more at Al Jazeera America
  • Big battle underway in #Yabroud : rebels incl. radical Islamist factions vs. pro #Syria regime forces incl. #Hezbollah & national def. #Homs
  • Reports of fresh aerial bombardment today in and around #Yabroud , town north of #Damascus & near #Lebanon border #Syria #Hezbollah
  • Syria has submitted a new 100-day plan for the removal of its chemical weapons, according to Reuters. 

    From Reuters:

    Syria has submitted a new 100-day plan for the removal of its chemical weapons after failing to meet a February 5 deadline, but the international mission overseeing the operation believes it can be done in a shorter time frame, diplomats said on Friday.

    The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons executive committee met on Friday in The Hague to discuss the joint OPCW and U.N. mission amid growing international frustration at Syria falling behind on its commitments.

    Syria failed to meet an OPCW deadline of February 5 to move all of its declared chemical substances and precursors out of the country. The final deadline under the OPCW plan is for all of Syria's declared chemical materials to be destroyed by June 30.

    "The Syrian 100 day plan for removal of the chemicals, on which we have been briefed, is not adequate," Philip Hall, head of the British Foreign Office Counter Proliferation Department, told the OPCW, according to a copy of statement.

    "We now urge the Syrian authorities to accept the proposals submitted by the Operational Planning Group that provide for removal in a much shorter time frame, without compromising on security," he said.

    A senior U.N. diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the international mission believes the operation can be carried out before the end of March, adding that Syria's proposed end-May deadline would not leave enough time for the chemicals to be destroyed before the end of June.

    The OPCW declined to comment on Syria's proposal.


  • Iran has boosted its military support in Syria, according to Reuters. 

    From Reuters: 

    As Syria's war nears the start of its fourth year, Iranhas stepped up support on the ground for President Bashar al-Assad, providing elite teams to gather intelligence and train troops, sources with knowledge of military movements say.

    This further backing from Tehran, along with deliveries of munitions and equipment from Moscow, is helping to keep Assad in power at a time when neither his own forces nor opposition fighters have a decisive edge on the battlefield.

    Assad's forces have failed to capitalize fully on advances they made last summer with the help of Iran, his major backer in the region, and the Hezbollah fighters that Tehran backs and which have provided important battlefield support for Assad.

    But the Syrian leader has drawn comfort from the withdrawal of the threat of U.S. bombing raids following a deal under which he has agreed to give up his chemical weapons.

    Shi'te Iran has already spent billions of dollars propping up Assad in what has turned into a sectarian proxy war with Sunni Arab states. And while the presence of Iranian military personnel in Syria is not new, military experts believe Tehran has in recent months sent in more specialists to enable Assad to outlast his enemies at home and abroad.

    Analysts believe this renewed support means Assad felt no need to make concessions at currently deadlocked peace talks in Geneva.


  • @UNRWA confirms 5 refugee kids, UN staffer, 12 others killed by explosion at UN school in S Syria y'day. Last week, 40 injured in same town
  • An official with the Syrian Arab Red Crescent says aid workers have evacuated more people, mostly Christians, from the besieged central city of Homs.

    Khaled Erksoussi, head of operations for the Red Crescent, said Thursday that 11 people left the day before from rebel-held districts in Old Homs that have been under government blockade for more than a year. Government and rebel fighters are battling for control of Homs, Syria's third largest city.

    Erksoussi said in a telephone interview from Damascus that the 11 walked to the government-approved exit from the city. They were met by a Red Crescent team who gave them a medical checkup, then offered food and transportation to safety.

    More than 1,000 people have been evacuated from Homs since a humanitarian truce went into effect on Feb.7.

    [The Associated Press]
  • According to The Associated Press, the United States has considered drone strikes extremists in Syria.

    From the AP:

    For the United States, Syria's civil war is threatening to start hitting closer to home.

    Peace talks between the Syrian government and opposition are faltering. President Bashar Assad's military is on the offensive and the rebels are in disarray. Most distressing to the Obama administration, U.S. officials say al-Qaida-linked militants are squeezing moderates out of the insurgency and carving out havens for potential terrorist plots against the United States.

    The accelerating U.S. national security threat is leading the administration to take a fresh look at previously shelved ideas, including more robust assistance to Western-backed rebels.

    They are also are looking at newer, more far-reaching options, including drone strikes on extremists and more forceful action against Assad, whom President Barack Obama told to leave power 30 months ago.

    Obama's top aides plan to meet at the White House before week's end to examine options, according to administration officials. They weren't authorized to talk publicly on the matter and spoke only on condition of anonymity.

    "We have to examine what the alternatives some might be proposing are and whether they're in our national security interest," White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday. He expressed concern about stepped-up intervention leading to "unintended consequences."


  • President Rouhani said that #Iran supports restoration of security & stability to Syria as well as holding free elections in that country
  • Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday the U.N. resolution on humanitarian aid access in Syria could be agreed in "the coming days" if Security Council members do not seek to "politicize" the issue, Interfax reported.

    Moscow initially opposed a Western-Arab draft resolution on aid to Syria but then proposed its own text, saying it was ready for negotiations

    [Reuters]
  • According to Interfax, Russia's Lavrov says a United Nations resolution on aid access in Syria can be agreed 'in coming days' if security council members do not 'politicize' the issue, Reuters reports.
  • Carney on Syrian CW: “The regime is still committed to ridding itself of those supplies and Russia is on the hook…”
  • When asked point blank what the United States' goal is in Syria — whether it is to end the civil war or to unseat Assad — Carney said Syria's future cannot include Assad.

    There's no possibility in our view that a transitional government could include Assad, Carney said, saying that view is the view of the Syrian people.
  • White House spokesman Jay Carney hedged Tuesday when asked what can be done to pressure the Assad regime, short of a military solution.

    He said the United States is continuing to support the moderate opposition and work with its various partners.
  • When asked what the 'plan B' is following last week's talks in Geneva, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said we should push ahead, and Ban 'remains convinced' that the Geneva 2 process is the way to go.

    This is a process, not a single event, the spokesperson stressed during his briefing, adding that the UN is 'sticking with that process'

    The spokesperson also hedged on when international mediator Brahimi would travel to New York to brief Ban on the Geneva 2 process, saying he hasn't heard any specific dates.
  • #Iran president Rouhani: Syrian crisis can be solved through campaign against terrorism, respecting peopleˈs votes. #Syria
  • The New York Times is reporting that waves of civilians are fleeing Syria after the latest round of bombings.

    From the Times:

    Hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians have fled rebel-held parts of the city of Aleppo in recent weeks under heavy aerial bombardment by the Syrian government, emptying whole neighborhoods and creating what aid workers say is one of the largest refugee flows of the entire civil war.

    The displaced, as many as 500,000 to date, the United Nations says, have flooded the countryside, swelling populations in war-battered communities that are already short on space and food and pushing a new wave of refugees into Turkey, where in interviews many have described a harrowing journey that left them in desperate condition, broke, hungry and, in many cases, sick or wounded.

    Much of the human tide flowing out of northern Syria has crashed on this once-quiet border town, where Syrians now nearly outnumber the original 90,000 Turkish inhabitants.Attacks on Aleppo have accelerated in recent weeks, as international talks aimed at ending the war have stalled and as the Obama administration has begun reviewing its Syria policy to find new ways to pressure the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

    Read more at The New York Times

  • BREAKING: Netanyahu: I want to tell the world today that Iran hasn't changed its aggressive behavior and its vicious nature
Powered by ScribbleLive Content Marketing Software Platform

Find Al Jazeera America on your TV

Get email updates from Al Jazeera America

Sign up for our weekly newsletter