Developments in Syria

May 3, 2022 | 7:49am
Location: SYRIA
+ Follow Story
Developments in Syria
May 3, 2022

Syrian authorities have freed 60 detainees, including some held in regime prisons for over a decade, in a presidential amnesty which covers terror-related convictions, a war monitor said Monday.

"About 60 detainees have been released since Sunday, from various Syrian regions, some of whom have spent at least 10 years" in regime prisons notorious for killings and torture, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

President Bashar al-Assad has issued several amnesty decrees during the country's 11-year war, which broke out after the regime cracked down on mostly peaceful protesters. — AFP

February 23, 2022

Israel bombarded a Syrian town near the armistice line on the Golan Heights with surface-to-surface missiles early Wednesday, state media reported, without any immediate mention of casualties.

It is the third time this month that Israel has hit targets inside Syria as it keeps up a bombing campaign against pro-Iranian forces supporting the Damascus government in Syria's more than decade-old civil war.

"The Israeli enemy carried out a strike with several ground-to-ground missiles" fired from the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan Heights at around 12:30 am (2230 GMT Tuesday) against the town of Quneitra in the UN-monitored buffer zone, the official SANA news agency said, citing a military source. — AFP

February 17, 2022

Israeli shelling struck a town south of Damascus on Wednesday evening, causing material damage, according to Syrian state media.

This is the second Israeli aerial strike on Syria this month, after the Jewish state targeted anti-aircraft batteries on February 9 in response to a missile fired from Syria.

"The Israeli enemy carried out a strike with several surface-to-surface missiles" from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, targeting the town of Zakiya at around 11:35 pm (21:35 GMT), SANA said, citing a military source. — AFP

February 9, 2022

Israel launches strikes against targets in Syria early Wednesday, hitting anti-aircraft batteries in response to a missile fired from Syria, the military says.

Sirens were sounded in the northern Israeli Arab city of Umm Al-Fahm after the Syrian missile launch but it exploded in mid-air, the Israel Defense Forces tweets.

"In response to the anti-aircraft missile launched from Syria earlier tonight, we just struck surface-to-air missile targets in Syria, including radar & anti-aircraft batteries," the IDF says. — AFP

January 30, 2022

Clashes broke out Saturday between Kurdish forces and Islamic State group fighters near a Syrian prison where dozens of jihadists are still holed up, a war monitor says.

On Saturday, there were "clashes in the vicinity of the prison between the Syrian Democratic Forces and Kurdish security forces on the one hand, and members of IS who are hiding in the area," the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.

The war monitor, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria, says that four IS fighters took a local official and three civilians hostage for hours, holding them in a residential building near the prison. — AFP

January 23, 2022

At least 120 people have been killed in Syria including seven civilians as battles between US-backed Kurdish forces and Islamic State group fighters raged for a fourth day, a war monitor says Sunday.

Fighting began late Thursday with an assault by more than 100 IS insurgents on the Kurdish-run Ghwayran jail in Hasakeh city — which housed the largest number of jihadists in the country — marking the group's most significant operation since its "caliphate" was declared defeated in Syria nearly three years ago.

"At least 77 IS members and 39 Kurdish fighters, including internal security forces, prison guards and counter-terrorism forces have been killed" in violence inside and outside the prison since the start of the attack, the Observatory says. — AFP

December 22, 2021

The conflict in Syria killed 3,746 people in 2021, a monitor said Wednesday, significantly fewer than in 2020, which had already seen the decade-old war's lowest death toll. 

According to figures compiled by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 1,505 of them were civilians and among those 360 were children.

The figure is by far the lowest tally since the start of the war in Syria and confirms a downward trend that saw 6,800 people killed last year and just over 10,000 in 2019. — AFP

November 26, 2021

Visitor numbers to Syria are growing again after a collapse caused by a decade of war, the tourism minister said Wednesday, adding he hoped for a return of European tour operators next year.

"We are expecting 2022 to be better than previous years," Tourism Minister Mohammed Martini told a press conference in Damascus announcing a 10-year plan to revive the sector.

The number of arrivals to Syria so far this year stands at 488,000, in what he said was already an annual increase, although he did not provide last year's figures. — AFP

November 15, 2021

A general and four soldiers were killed Sunday in an attack in eastern Syria, a dangerous region where jihadist groups are active, a war monitor says.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says a bomb exploded close to the vehicle carrying the five troops in Deir Ezzor province.

The attack comes a day after the Islamic State group killed 13 fighters loyal to the Syrian government in an ambush also in Deir Ezzor, in the desert area of Masrib, the Observatory says. — AFP

October 14, 2021

An Israeli airstrike in central Syria killed one Syrian soldier and three pro-Iranian fighters on Wednesday, a Britain-based war monitor says.

The Syrian state news agency SANA had earlier quoted a military source as saying that the attack near the city of Palmyra in Homs province had killed a soldier and wounded three others. 

"At around 23:34 (2034 GMT) the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial aggression... on the area of Palmyra targeting a communication tower and several positions in its vicinity," the source told SANA. — AFP

September 21, 2021

Drone strikes Monday killed two jihadist commanders close to Al-Qaeda in the Idlib region of northwest Syria, a war monitor says.

"US forces conducted a kinetic counter-terrorism strike near Idlib, Syria, today, on a senior al-Qaeda leader," a US Central Command (CENTCOM) spokeswoman, Lieutenant Josie Lynne Lenny, says in a statement.

"Initial indications are that we struck the individual we were aiming for, and there are no indications of civilian casualties as a result of the strike," she says. — AFP

August 20, 2021

Syria's air defence system engaged "hostile targets" over the capital Damascus late Thursday, state news agency SANA reported, with a military source claiming they were Israeli missiles.

"The Israeli enemy launched an aerial attack... targeting positions near Damascus and around the city of Homs," the military source told SANA.

"Our air defence responded to the missiles and shot most of them down," it added. — AFP

July 11, 2021

A mortar shell landed in a gas field in eastern Syria housing coalition forces, a war monitor reports on Sunday.

It fell in the Conoco gas field in Deir Ezzor province, near a base of the US-led coalition battling Islamic State group remnants, says the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

The war monitor says a blast was heard in the area but there were no immediate reports of casualties. — AFP

May 26, 2021

Polling stations open Wednesday across Syria for an election guaranteed to return President Bashar al-Assad for a fourth term in office.

The official news agency SANA declared voting had started as planned at 7:00 am (0400 GMT) and state television showed long queues forming in several parts of the country.

Syrians will be able to cast their ballot in more than 12,000 polling centres. Results are expected to be announced by Friday evening, 48 hours after polling closes. —  AFP

April 29, 2021

Western members of the UN Security Council, led by the United States, France and Britain, on Wednesday rejected the outcome of Syria's May 26 presidential election in advance, a position denounced by Russia as "unacceptable."

"The failure to enact a new constitution is proof positive that the so-called election on May 26 will be a sham," US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said during a monthly session of the Security Council on Syria. 

The regime of President Bashar al-Assad -- projected to win the vote under the current circumstances — "must take steps to enable the participation of refugees, internally displaced persons, and the diaspora in any Syrian elections. Until then, we will not be fooled," she said. —  AFP

March 17, 2021

Syrian air defences shot down several Israeli missile strikes over the capital Damascus on Tuesday, state media reports.

"At 22:35 (2035 GMT) this evening the Israeli enemy carried out an aggression from the direction of the occupied Syrian Golan Heights on some targets in the Damascus area," Syrian state news agency SANA cites a military source as saying.

"Our air defences intercepted the attack and shot down most of" the missiles, it says, adding there were no casualties. —  AFP

February 26, 2021

At least 17 pro-Iran fighters were killed in US strikes in Syria at the Iraq border overnight, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday.

"The strikes destroyed three lorries carrying munitions... There were many casualties. Preliminary indications are that at least 17 fighters were killed, all members of Popular Mobilisation Forces," the director of the SOHR, Rami Abdul Rahman, told AFP, referencing the powerful coalition of pro-Iran Iraqi paramilitaries. —  AFP

February 10, 2021

The UN Security Council on fails to agree on a joint declaration on war-torn Syria, despite calls by the organization's special envoy to the country to jump-start the deadlocked peace process.

Russia, Syria's main ally, repeatedly blocked negotiations on the matter, diplomats say, although Moscow did not respond to a request for comment as to why. — AFP

March 6, 2020

A ceasefire in northern Syria agreed between Russia and Turkey came into force at midnight on Friday in a move to halt intense fighting in Idlib that has sparked a humanitarian disaster and raised fears of their armies clashing.

With just minutes to go before the truce was due to come into force, however, bombings were still continuing, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor. —  AFP

March 6, 2020

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he hopes to see an "immediate and lasting cessation of hostilities" that would help the people of northern Syria, after Russia and Turkey agreed to a ceasefire.

The deal — which goes into effect from midnight on Friday — aims to put a stop to intense fighting in Idlib, the northwestern province of Syria where Ankara is battling Moscow-backed government forces.

Guterres "hopes that this agreement will lead to an immediate and lasting cessation of hostilities that ensures the protection of civilians in northwest Syria, who have already endured enormous suffering," a statement said. — AFP

March 2, 2020

Turkish drone strikes in Syria's Idlib province killed 19 regime soldiers on Sunday, a war monitor reported, as tensions soared between Damascus and Ankara.

The 19 died in strikes on a military convoy in the Jabal al-Zawiya area and a base near Maaret al-Numan city, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The report came hours after Turkey shot down two Syrian warplanes, in an escalating offensive against the Damascus regime in the country's northwestern province of Idlib.

Following weeks of violence in and around Idlib, Turkey confirmed the launch of a full military operation against Russian-backed Syrian forces after 34 Turkish soldiers died last week in an air strike blamed on Damascus.

Tensions have intensified between rebel backer Turkey and the regime's main ally Moscow, but Ankara has insisted it does not want to clash directly with Russian forces.

The Syrian regime has vowed to retake the last opposition enclave in a nine-year civil war.

Ankara has also pressured Europe over the conflict by opening its border for migrants already in Turkey to cross into the continent.

The confrontation between Syrian forces and NATO-member Turkey has prompted worries over a wider conflict and a migrant crisis in Europe similar to that of 2015. — AFP

January 15, 2020

Syrian air defences were activated Tuesday to confront "aggression" directed at a military airport in central Syria, state media said, without specifying the origin of the attack.

"Air defences confronted aggression targeting T4 airport, located in Homs province," north of the capital Damascus, SANA news agency said. — AFP

January 11, 2020

The UN Security Council has voted to renew cross-border aid to Syria but under pressure from Russia it scaled back a program that has been helping millions in the war-ravaged country since 2014.

The assistance is now being prolonged for six months and deliveries will be made from only from two points along Syria's border with Turkey.

After a series of concessions by Western countries since late December, a resolution extending the aid was passed by 11 votes in favor and four abstentions: Russia, China, the United States, and Britain. — AFP

January 10, 2020

A war monitor says an air strike in eastern Syria killed eight fighters of Iraq's Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force overnight.

"Unidentified aircraft targeted vehicles and arms depots in the Albu Kamal area, causing a large explosion. At least eight Iraqi Hashed fighters were killed," the head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Rami Abdel Rahman, says. — AFP

December 28, 2019

Civilians pack a road leading out of a flashpoint town in northwest Syria, where two weeks of heightened regime and Russian bombardment has displaced 235,000 people. 

Pick-up trucks carrying mattresses, clothes and house-hold appliances ferried entire families out of southern Idlib province, most heading towards safer areas further north, says an AFP correspondent on the ground. 

Since mid-December, regime forces and their Russian allies have heightened bombardment on the southern edge of the final major opposition-held pocket of Syria, eight years into the country's devastating war. — AFP

December 17, 2019

The United Nations has no choice but to keep shipping humanitarian aid across Syria's borders and civil war front lines, according to a report by Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, which ran into contrary views from Russia.

Security Council members are debating the renewal of the operation, whose mandate expires January 10. 

"It is in no one's interest to block this resolution," one diplomat says, asking not to be named. — AFP

November 28, 2019

The defense ministry says two Turkish soldiers died when a mortar hit their post on the Syrian border.

"Two of our fellow comrades were martryed by a mortar attack" in Akcakale town, Sanliurfa province, the ministry says in a statement.

It did not specify if the attack came from Syrian territory, but said Turkish forces responded with intense artillery fire. 

Akcakale lies adjacent to areas that were targeted in Turkey's offensive against Kurdish militants in Syria last month. — AFP

November 12, 2019

Three simultaneous bombings have killed at least six civilians in the northeastern Syrian city of Qamishli, the latest attack to target the de-facto capital of the country's embattled Kurdish minority.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the bombings, which came after the Islamic State group said it was responsible for the killing of a priest from the city.

Two car bombs and an explosives-rigged motorcycle blew up in a busy market and near a school and several churches, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says — AFP 

October 26, 2019

Damascus and Moscow deploy extra forces to Syria's border with Turkey, even as Washington partially reversed a drawback to boost its own military presence near key Syrian oil fields.

The United States earlier this month announced a pullout from Kurdish-held areas in northeast Syria, allowing Damascus, Ankara and Moscow to carve up the Kurds' now-defunct autonomous region.

Turkey and its Syrian proxies on October 9 launched a cross-border attack against Kurdish-held areas, grabbing a 120-kilometre-long (70-mile) swathe of Syrian land along the frontier. — AFP

October 24, 2019

Turkey is "heading in the wrong direction" with its incursion into Syria and deal with Russia to jointly patrol a "safe zone" there, US Defense Secretary Mark Esper warns.

"Turkey put us all in a very terrible situation" by sweeping into northern Syria this month to fight Kurdish militia allied with the US in the fight against the Islamic State group, Esper tells a conference in Brussels ahead of a NATO defence ministers' meeting.

The onus was on Turkey's NATO allies to now "work together to strengthen our partnership with them, and get them on the trend back to being the strong reliable ally of the past," he says. — AFP

October 23, 2019

Russia and Turkey have agreed to ensure Kurdish forces withdraw from areas close to Syria's border with Turkey and to launch joint patrols, in a deal hailed as "historic" by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

After marathon talks in Russia's southern city of Sochi, Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announces the deal just hours ahead of a deadline for Turkey to restart its assault on Syrian Kurdish forces.

As the evening deadline passed, Turkey says there was "no need" to relaunch the offensive. — AFP

October 19, 2019

Turkey accuses Kurdish forces of violating an agreement to suspend its Syria offensive if they withdraw from a "safe zone" along the border.

"The Turkish armed forces fully abide by the agreement" reached on Thursday with the United States, the defence ministry says in a statement. "Despite this, terrorists... carried out a total of 14 attacks in the last 36 hours."

The ministry says 12 of the attacks came from the border town of Ras al-Ain in northeastern Syria, one from Tal Abyad and another from Tal Tamr region, adding that various light and heavy weaponry including rockets were used. — AFP

October 19, 2019

US Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell attacks President Donald Trump's decision to pull troops from Syria as "a strategic nightmare" that will help Washington's foes and hurt its allies.

"Withdrawing US forces from Syria is a grave strategic mistake," McConnell, the top Republican in Congress, writes in an op-ed published in The Washington Post.

"It will leave the American people and homeland less safe, embolden our enemies, and weaken important alliances." — AFP

October 18, 2019

A war monitor says a Turkish air strike on a village near the battleground border town of Ras al-Ain in northeastern Syria killed five civilians.

"Five civilians were killed in Turkish air strikes on the village of Bab al-Kheir, east of Ras al-Ain," Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, says. — AFP

October 18, 2019

US President Donald Trump says that he allowed Turkish and Kurdish forces to clash in deadly battle because the two sides were like children who needed to fight each other.

"It was unconventional what I did. I said they're going to have to fight a little while," Trump tells a rally of supporters in Texas.

"Like two kids in a lot, you have got to let them fight and then you pull them apart."

"They fought for a few days and it was pretty vicious." — AFP

October 18, 2019

EU leaders reiterate their call for Turkey to end its assault on Kurdish forces in Syria and withdraw its troops, after Ankara announced it was suspending the offensive.

Turkey has paused the assault for 120 hours and said it will end it if Kurdish-led forces withdraw from a 32-kilometre (20-mile) wide "safe zone" along the border.

But the move was not enough to satisfy European leaders meeting at a summit in Brussels, some of whom have already halted arms sales to Ankara in protest. — AFP

October 17, 2019

US President Donald Trump has dispatched his deputy Mike Pence to Turkey to demand a ceasefire in Syria, as Ankara rebuffed international pressure to curb its deadly offensive against Kurdish forces.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vows on Wednesday that Turkey's operation -- which has been facilitated by the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria -- would continue.

That came as an extraordinary letter emerged in which Trump warned Erdogan: "Don't be a fool". — AFP

October 15, 2019

China calls on Turkey to stop its military action in northern Syria and "return to the correct way of political resolution", with Ankara's operation against Kurdish militants in its seventh day.

"The sovereignty, independence, unification, and territorial integrity of Syria should be respected and upheld," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang says at a regular press briefing.

September 28, 2019

The head of the Arab League exchanges a warm handshake at the United Nations with the foreign minister of Syria, which has been suspended from the body since 2011.

The exchange between Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the secretary general of the Arab League, and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem appeared to be brief and impromptu during the annual UN General Assembly.

In a video posted on Twitter by a journalist for Abu Dhabi newspaper The National, Aboul Gheit walks in a hallway at the UN headquarters and sees Muallem, who turns around. — AFP

September 27, 2019

The United States vows a response as it said it had confirmed another chemical weapons attack by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces, although there were no fatalities.

The Assad regime used chlorine on May 19 in Latakia province during its ferocious offensive to take back the last major rebel stronghold in nearby Idlib, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

"The United States will not allow these attacks to go unchallenged nor will we tolerate those who choose to conceal these atrocities," Pompeo tells reporters in New York, where he was taking part in the UN General Assembly. — AFP

September 14, 2019

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres announces he is setting up an internal investigation into the bombing of hospitals in Syria which had previously flagged their coordinates to avoid air strikes.

Guterres says in a statement the board would look at "a series of incidents that have occurred in northwest Syria" since the establishment of the so-called "Idlib de-escalation zone" in September last year by Russia and Turkey.

The committee is not a "criminal investigation" but aimed to "establish the facts for the secretary general," his spokesman Stephane Dujarric says. — AFP

September 4, 2019

A charity says thousands of children risk missing out on their education in northwestern Syria after a months-long regime assault on the jihadist-run bastion that has closed dozens of schools.

A fragile ceasefire has held in the Idlib region since Saturday, following four months of air strikes that have killed hundreds of civilians and caused mass displacement.

"Thousands of children due to start the school year in northwest Syria may not have access to education" after the latest violence, Save the Children says.

Classes are set to start at the end of September, but just over half of the region's 1,193 schools can still operate, it says. — AFP

August 27, 2019

The Kurdish authorities in northeast Syrian say their forces had started to withdraw from outposts along the Turkish border after a US-Turkish deal for a buffer zone there.

They say work had begun Saturday on "the first practical steps -- in the Ras al-Ain area -- in removing some earth mounds and withdrawing a group of (Kurdish) People's Protection Units and heavy weapons".

The so-called "safe zone" agreed by Washington and Ankara earlier this month aims to create a buffer between the Turkish border and Syrian areas controlled by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), a group Ankara sees as "terrorists". — AFP

August 17, 2019

A war monitor says air strikes Friday by Syria's regime and its Russian ally killed 15 civilians, most of them in a camp for the displaced in Idlib province.

Four children where among 13 civilians killed in a Russian air strike on a camp for the displaced near the town of Hass in southern Idlib, says the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Two other children were killed in regime air raids in different parts of the region controlled by Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the monitor says. — AFP

August 15, 2019

A war monitor says syrian regime forces captured a string of insurgent-held villages in northwest Syria, inching closer to a key jihadist-run town in the Idlib region.

Over the past week, pro-Assad fighters have advanced on the southern edges of Idlib province, controlled by Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS).

On Thursday, regime loyalists stood just three kilometres (1.8 miles) away from the key town of Khan Sheikhun, after capturing five villages to its northwest overnight, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. — AFP

July 26, 2019

The UN says more than 400,000 people have been displaced in northwestern Syria over the past three months as the government presses an intensified bombardment of the rebel-held region.

"More than 400,000 people have been displaced since the end of April," says David Swanson of the United Nations humanitarian affairs agency OCHA.

The region under attack is home to some three million people, nearly half of them already displaced from other parts of the country. 

It covers nearly all of Idlib and parts of neighbouring Aleppo, Hama, and Latakia provinces. — AFP

July 24, 2019

Syria's state news agency says an Israeli missile attack targeted Syrian military positions held by the government and its allies early Wednesday.

The missiles were fired into the south of the country close to the Golan Heights, an area occupied and annexed by Israel.

"The Israeli enemy launched an aggression after midnight against the Tall al-Hara area," the SANA news agency says, adding that there were reports of damage to property. — AFP

July 19, 2019

Diplomats say that Russia opposed a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for an end to attacks on health facilities in Syria's Idlib region.

The outcome led to a rare statement following the meeting by the UN's humanitarian chief, Mark Lowcock.

"The carnage must stop," he says. — AFP

July 13, 2019

The head of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement Hassan Nasrallah says he had decreased the number of fighters supporting the Damascus regime in neighbouring war-torn Syria.

"We are present in every area that we used to be. We are still there, but we don't need to be there in large numbers as long as there is no practical need," he sys in an interview broadcast on Hezbollah's Al-Manar television.

The head of the Iran-backed Shiite movement, which has been fighting in Syria since 2013, did no quantify the extent of the reduction. — AFP

July 11, 2019

A  war monitor says a car bomb near a checkpoint manned by Turkey-backed rebels in the northern Syrian city of Afrin killed 13 people including eight civilians.

Turkish troops and their Syrian proxies took control of Afrin from Kurdish forces in March last year after a two-month air and ground offensive.

"The car bomb exploded near the checkpoint at the entrance to the town where vehicles were gathering to be checked," the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says. — AFP

July 6, 2019

A war monitor says the Syrian regime bombardment has killed 14 civilians including seven children in northwestern Syria, in the latest deadly raids on the embattled opposition bastion.

Warplanes and helicopters late Friday carried out air strikes on Mahambel village in Idlib province, killing 13 civilians including the seven children, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says.

A woman was also killed early Saturday in regime rocket fire on the outskirts of the town of Khan Sheikhun in the south of the province, the Britain-based war monitor says. — AFP

June 20, 2019

A Britain-based war monitor says regime bombardment killed 14 civilians including two rescue workers in an ambulance and seven children in embattled northwest Syria.

The children were killed in various areas of the jihadist-run Idlib province, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group says.

A regime air strike targeted an ambulance in the town of Maaret al-Noman, killing two rescue workers inside, in the latest deadly bombardment on the wider region. — AFP

June 15, 2019

A war monitor says at least 35 combattants including 26 pro-regime forces were killed Saturday in clashes and air strikes that erupted at dawn in northwestern Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Syrian regime and Russian air strikes killed nine jihadists and rebel fighters and clashes left 26 pro-regime forces dead in the north of Hama province. — AFP

May 28, 2019

A monitor says at least 18 civilians were killed as Syria's regime intensified its bombardment of Idlib province, the last jihadist stronghold in the country's northwest.

Idlib and parts of the neighbouring provinces of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia are under the control of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadist group led by Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate. — AFP

May 23, 2019

A British-based war monitor says it had no evidence to suggest the Syrian army had carried out a new chemical attack despite Washington's announcement it had suspicions.

"We have no proof at all of the attack," says Rami Abdul Rahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. — AFP 

May 7, 2019

A monitor says clashes between Syrian government forces and jihadists have killed 43 fighters in the country's northwest, where the regime and its Russian ally have stepped up bombardment in the past few days.

Jihadists also fired rockets at a Russian air base in the region but were repelled, with the attack causing no casualties or damage, the Russian defesce ministry says in a statement. — AFP

May 4, 2019

The Syrian government has accused Kurdish leaders of "treason" for organising a conference with allied Arab tribes to plot out the political future of territory under their alliance's control.

The Kurds and their Arab allies control a vast swathe of the north and northeast that makes up around a third of Syrian territory, much of which they captured in the long and costly campaign against the Islamic State group. — AFP

April 30, 2019

The Islamic State group's elusive supremo Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi makes his first purported appearance in five years in a propaganda video released, acknowledging IS's defeat in the Syrian town of Baghouz while threatening "revenge" attacks.

The world's most wanted man was last seen in Mosul in 2014, announcing the birth of IS's much-feared "caliphate" across swathes of Iraq and Syria, and appears to have outlived the proto-state. — AFP

April 24, 2019

A war monitor says 15 people, all but two civilians, were killed in an explosion in the jihadist-held region of Idlib in northwest Syria.

The cause of the blast in the town of Jisr al-Shughur was not immediately clear, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says. — AFP

April 20, 2019

An attack by jihadists linked to Syria's former Al-Qaeda affiliate killed 13 regime fighters on the outskirts of the northern city of Aleppo, a war monitor says.

A faction linked to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham "early Saturday attacked checkpoints and positions of regime forces on the western outskirts of Aleppo city", the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says. — AFP

April 20, 2019

French President Emmanuel Macron has hosted representatives of the Kurdish-led force that defeated Islamic State (IS) extremists in Syria, drawing a sharp rebuke from Turkey's foreign ministry.

Macron assures the Kurdish envoys of French support in their fight against the remaining jihadists, but Ankara accused the French leader of "seeking to confer artificial legitimacy on a faction of terrorist groups". — AFP

April 20, 2019

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has called for progress on a stalled buffer zone deal around jihadist-dominated Idlib region ahead of fresh talks aimed at ending his country's eight-year war. 

Assad met envoy Alexander Lavrentiev from key ally Russia in Damascus to discuss the negotiations due April 25-26 in Kazakhstan.

Iran and Russia are the major supporters of the Syrian regime, and along with rebel backer Turkey have sponsored repeated rounds of talks in the Central Asian nation. — AFP

April 13, 2019

An Israeli air strike in central Syria wounded three combatants early Saturday, the official SANA news agency reports.

A Britain-based war monitor says the strike killed several Iranian fighters and wounded 17 Syrian troops and their allies. — AFP

March 27, 2019

Syria has asked the United Nations Security Council to hold an urgent meeting on the US decision to recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

President Donald Trump signed a proclamation in which the United States recognized Israel's annexation of the strategic plateau, despite UN resolutions that call for Israel's withdrawal from the Golan. — AFP

March 26, 2019

The United States says it was not looking at an international court to try Islamic State extremists and urged countries to repatriate them after Syria's Kurds proposed a tribunal.

Two days after the United States announced the complete defeat of the Islamic State group, the Kurdish force that holds some 9,000 foreign jihadists and their relatives -- 6,500 of them children -- voiced regret at the lack of response to US-led calls on Western nations to bring back their citizens for trial. — AFP

March 23, 2019

Kurdish-led forces pronounce the death of the Islamic State group's nearly five-year-old "caliphate" after flushing out diehard jihadists from their very last bastion in eastern Syria.

"Syrian Democratic Forces declare total elimination of so-called caliphate and 100 percent territorial defeat of ISIS," spokesman Mustefa Bali says. — AFP

March 23, 2019

Syria asks the UN Security Council to uphold resolutions declaring that Israel withdraw from the Golan Heights after President Donald Trump said the United States would recognize Israel's annexation of the territory.

Syrian Ambassador Bashar Jaafari has urged the council to "take practical measures to ensure that the council is fulfilling ... its mandate in the implementation of its resolutions" concerning the Golan, in a letter seen by AFP.

The council is scheduled to discuss the Golan on Wednesday during a meeting on renewing the mandate of the UN peacekeeping force deployed between Israel and Syria in the Golan, known as UNDOF. — AFP

March 22, 2019

The Syrian government has condemned US President Donald Trump's pledge to recognise Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, which it seized from Syria in 1967.

"The American position towards Syria's occupied Golan Heights clearly reflects the United States' contempt for international legitimacy and its flagrant violation of international law," a foreign ministry source says. — AFP

March 19, 2019

A spokesman has urged followers to attack as the Islamic State group defended its last scrap of territory against Kurdish-led forces in eastern Syria.

An IS spokesman, in an audio recording posted on Telegram, has called for action from the group's supporters in areas held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces. — AFP

March 15, 2019

Eight years of war in Syria have left more than 370,000 people dead including 112,000 civilians, a monitor says.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a network of sources across the country, says more than 21,000 children and 13,000 women were among the dead. — AFP

February 22, 2019

A deadly car bombing claimed by the Islamic State group hit US-backed forces in eastern Syria as they tried to negotiate the release of civilians trapped in the jihadists' last sliver of territory, report says.

The Syrian Democratic Forces are working towards evacuating civilians remaining in the holdout, so they can finish off the dying IS "caliphate" either through an assault or a surrender deal. — AFP

February 22, 2019

The White House says the US military will keep around 200 troops in Syria after President Donald Trump's pullout from the war-torn country,

"A small peace-keeping group of about 200 will remain in Syria for a period of time," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders says. — AFP

February 21, 2019

US-backed Syrian forces are negotiating to evacuate civilians from the Islamic State group's last redoubt which now faces "inevitable defeat", the international coalition against the jihadists says.

Hundreds of people including women and children were trucked out of the last patch of IS territory on Wednesday, but the Syrian Democratic Forces says that a large number of civilians remained inside. — AFP

February 21, 2019

President Donald Trump says he is barring a US-born former Islamic State propagandist from returning home, making the highly unusual case that she is not a US citizen.

Trump's refusal to admit 24-year-old Hoda Muthana comes just as he is pressing Europeans to repatriate their own Islamic State fighters and will likely face legal challenges, with US citizenship extremely difficult to lose. AFP

February 20, 2019

The United States says it wanted to ensure foreign jihadists remain off the battlefield as it weighed options on an American detained in Syria who says she wants to return home.

The United States has urged European powers to take back hundreds of their citizens who fought with the Islamic State movement in Syria, but acknowledged the situation was complex in the rare case of an American jihadist. — AFP

February 16, 2019

"Large numbers" of civilians remain inside the last Islamic State group enclave in Syria prompting a fresh delay in a final advance, Kurdish-led forces say.

"There are still civilians inside in large numbers," US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces spokesman Adnan Afrin says on the day President Donald Trump said he expected to announce the end of the jihadists' "caliphate". — AFP

February 15, 2019

Authorities say a Singaporean man who gave financial support to a Syria-based Islamic State militant from Malaysia has been detained under the city-state's tough internal security laws.

The arrest highlights the continued influence of Southeast Asian militants fighting with IS in Iraq and Syria in radicalising people back home, even as the jihadists face defeat in the Middle East. — AFP

February 15, 2019

Defense ministers from the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group meet in Munich to discuss how to reorganise in Syria after the defeat of the last pocket of jihadists and the departure of US troops. — AFP

February 13, 2019

The ferocious battle for the Islamic State group's last bastion in eastern Syria has entered its fifth day, as exhausted families left the ever-shrinking scrap of land where holdout jihadists have been boxed in by Kurdish-led forces.

Hundreds fled day and night from Baghouz, near the enclave where diehard IS fighters are making their last stand, as plumes of grey smoke billowed into the sky over the flat, desolate town. — AFP

February 12, 2019

Syrian fighters backed by artillery fire from a US-led coalition have battled a fierce jihadist counteroffensive as they pushed to retake a last morsel of territory from the Islamic State group in an assault lasting days.

A war monitor says a coalition air strike killed 16 civilians including seven children trying to flee the holdout on Monday, but the US-led alliance was not immediately available for comment. — AFP

February 9, 2019

Kurdish-led forces in eastern Syria has prepared for a push on the last remaining speck of the Islamic State group's "caliphate" where diehard jihadists and their families are holed up.

US President Donald Trump predicted that the once-sprawling proto-state's official defeat could be proclaimed as early as next week but operations have been paused for days on the main front line. — AFP

February 7, 2019

Human Rights Watch says any transfers of suspected foreign jihadists and their relatives out of Syria should be transparent as camps in the northeast fill with families of different nationalities.

With the crumbling of the Islamic State group, France is now considering bringing dozens of accused French jihadists, as well as their wives and children, back home from the detention centres and camps run by US-backed forces fighting IS. — AFP

January 25, 2019

Military operations against the Islamic State group in Syria are wrapping up and the last pockets of the jihadists' self-proclaimed "caliphate" will be flushed out within a month, a top commander says.

Mazloum Kobani, the chief of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces spearheading the battle against IS, says that its "special status" should be preserved in any talks with the Damascus government. — AFP

January 23, 2019

Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan will hold Syria talks in Moscow, with Turkey saying they will focus on Ankara's so-called "security zone" in northern Syria.

The two leaders are on opposite sides of the conflict: Russia provides critical support to the Syrian government, while Turkey has backed rebel groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad's forces. — AFP

January 18, 2019

Officials say the US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group in Syria destroyed a command center in a mosque in the war-torn country.

The strike is another indication that IS has not been "beaten" in Syria, as US President Donald Trump claimed last month when he ordered the withdrawal of US forces from the country. — AFP

January 12, 2019

The U.S. military says it has started pulling equipment, but not troops, out of Syria as a first step in meeting President Donald Trump's demand for a complete military withdrawal.

The announcement fueled concern about how quickly the U.S. will abandon its Kurdish allies, amid contradictory statements recently by administration officials on an exit timetable.  — AP

January 12, 2019

The official SANA news agency reports that Syrian air defences shot down Israeli missiles.

Most of the missiles fired by "Israeli military planes" were intercepted at around 11:00 p.m., the military source says. — AFP

January 5, 2019

A war monitor says jihadists gained ground from rebels in Syria's last major opposition bastion after four days of clashes that have killed more than 100 fighters.

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a jihadist-led alliance, seized more than 20 towns and villages from rival rebels in the northern province of Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says. — AFP

January 3, 2019

US President Donald Trump has offered a rather stark take on the situation in war-wracked Syria, summing it up in two words -- "sand and death" -- while remaining vague about the timing of the withdrawal of US troops.

"So Syria was lost long ago. It was lost long ago. And besides that, I don't want -- we're talking about sand and death. That's what we're talking about," Trump says. — AFP

January 2, 2019

Almost eight years into Syria's devastating war, opponents of the regime are watching in dismay as President Bashar al-Assad's government looks set to secure its comeback at home and abroad.

Holed up in the last major rebel stronghold or unable to return home after fleeing abroad, they are frustrated to have been abandoned by the international community. — AFP

December 14, 2018

A war monitor says Kurdish-dominated forces backed by air strikes by a US-led coalition retook full control of a key jihadist hub in eastern Syria.

The Syrian Democratic Forces has secured Hajin, the largest settlement in what is the last pocket of territory controlled by the Islamic State group, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says. — AFP

December 14, 2018

The UN Security Council has approved a one-year extension of humanitarian aid deliveries across war-scarred Syria.

The move came despite reluctance from Russia, which called to amend the period to six months. — AFP

November 29, 2018

The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria has urged the Security Council to press the Syrian government to provide information to families about the fate of those missing or detained during the seven-year war.

Following a closed-door informal meeting with council members, the commission chairman says it was crucial to push the government to give a full account after it began in May to release death notifications. — AFP

November 10, 2018

A Syrian woman liberated from captivity says Islamic State militants held her and more than two dozen other women and children in different hideouts for nearly three months.

She says they once kept them captive in a moving car for over 12 hours without knowing where they were headed.

Najwa Abu Ammar, from the southern Sweida province, says the militants didn't torture them but fed them sporadically and insulted and beat the children.

As her ordeal was about to end, Najwa Abu Ammar's 8-year-old was shot by IS militants during an operation by the Syrian military to liberate the hostages held since July. Her son Rafaat died in her arms.

His cousin Qusay, 13, was also shot and bled for five hours before he died. — AP

October 20, 2018

The Islamic State group has released six of 27 Druze hostages it seized during a deadly July attack in Syria's Sweida province in exchange for a prisoner swap and ransom, a monitor says.

"Two women and four children from the province of Sweida were released last night," Rami Abdel Rahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitor group, says. — AFP

September 29, 2018

Syria's transport ministry says the main border crossing with Jordan had reopened to trade for the first time in three years, although there was no immediate confirmation from Amman.

"The Syrian transport ministry announces the opening of the Nasib border crossing, with trucks and transit vehicles beginning to cross the Syrian-Jordanian border," the ministry announced on its Facebook page. 

Government troops retook the Syrian side of the crossing in July under a deal with rebel fighters brokered by Damascus ally Moscow. — AFP

September 14, 2018

Germany is ready to contribute to rebuilding Syria if a political solution was found for fair elections in the country, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas says.

Hours before the minister was due to meet his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Berlin, Maas appeared to answer a request made by Russian President Vladimir Putin in August for Europe to step up in reconstructing Syria. — AFP

September 8, 2018

A war monitoring group and rescue workers say at least four people have been killed in an intensifying government and Russian air campaign against the last rebel bastion in Syria.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights describes the airstrikes as the "most intense" since August when government forces began targeting the southern edge of Idlib province, the rebel's last stronghold in Syria. — AP

September 8, 2018

Clashes between Kurdish forces and regime fighters in the divided northeastern city of Qamishli killed 18 combatants Saturday, the Kurdish forces and a war monitor say.

The rare flare-up in the Kurdish-majority city near the Turkish border saw 11 regime fighters and seven Kurds killed, the Kurdish security forces known as Asayesh say in a statement. — AFP

September 7, 2018

Activists and residents say warplanes have struck areas on the southern edge of the Syrian Idlib province, the rebels' last bastion, killing one and causing loud explosions and large plumes of smoke.

The airstrikes Friday come hours before presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey meet in Tehran to discuss the war in Syria, with all eyes on a possible military offensive to retake bastion of Idlib.

Rami Abdurrahman, the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said a series of airstrikes struck a few villages in southwest Idlib and along the borders with the adjacent Hama province, targeting insurgent posts and killing a fighter. Abdurrahman said suspected Russian warplanes carried out the airstrikes.

Idlib province and surrounding areas are home to more than 3 million people. — AP

September 4, 2018

US President Donald Trump warns Syria against launching an attack on the country's last rebel stronghold with the help of Russia and Iran, saying the offensive could trigger a "human tragedy."

The United Nations and aid groups have warned that a full assault on Idlib could spark a humanitarian catastrophe on a scale not yet seen in Syria's seven-year-old conflict. — AFP

August 29, 2018

Israel renews its threat to attack Iranian military targets in Syria, after the two Muslim allies signed an accord on security cooperation.

"The accord concluded by (Syrian President) Bashar al-Assad and Iran constitutes a test for Israel: Our response will be loud and clear," Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz says. — AFP

August 25, 2018

Human Rights Watch says at least 27 people are being held by the Islamic State group in southern Syria as it deplored the hostage-taking as a "war crime". — AFP

August 17, 2018

Saudi Arabia announces a $100 million contribution to a US-backed campaign to "stabilise" northeastern Syria, once a bastion of the radical Islamic State group. 

The 88 million euro contribution is the biggest single cash injection yet for reconstruction efforts in areas formerly controlled by the jihadists. — AFP

August 17, 2018

Saudi Arabia says that it has contributed $100 million to northeast Syria for "stabilization projects" in areas once held by the Islamic State group and now controlled by U.S.-backed forces. — AP

August 11, 2018

Syrian air defences engaged an "enemy target" near the border with Lebanon west of Damascus overnight, state news agency SANA reports. - AFP

August 7, 2018

Macedonian police say they have arrested seven people on suspicion of terrorism for allegedly participating as fighters in the wars in Syria and Iraq.

The suspects, all Macedonian nationals aged between 23 and 41, were arrested in an overnight operation Monday to Tuesday on international warrants. They will be charged for "participation in a foreign army, police and paramilitary formations."

Under a Macedonian antiterrorism law, it is illegal to participate in any paramilitary group or armed conflicts abroad. If convicted, they face jail sentences of up to 10 years.

According to earlier Macedonian official estimates, about 130 Macedonian nationals have joined the Islamic State group and participated in wars in Syria. At least a dozen have been killed in fighting. — AP

July 25, 2018

A series of suicide bombings and attacks in southern Syria, including a suicide bomber who struck at a busy vegetable market, killed 38 people, state media report, blaming Islamic State militants for the carnage.

The attacks, the worst in recent months, were reminiscent of the horrific violence by the Islamic State group that spread mayhem across the country, already ravaged by the civil war.  — AP

July 5, 2018

A Syria war-monitoring group and an opposition paramedics' organization say the Syrian government and the Russian air force have launched intense airstrikes on rebel-held areas in the southwestern province of Daraa.

The latest wave of attacks comes after a four-day calm had prevailed in the area as rebels negotiated with the Russians about how to end the violence. The airstrikes first resumed on Wednesday afternoon, after the talks collapsed. — AP

June 26, 2018

The Trump administration appears to be walking away from a pledge to enforce an arrangement to stabilize southwestern Syria as the Syrian military presses ahead with an offensive in the rebel-held area despite repeated U.S. warnings.

The offensive violates an agreement among the U.S., Russia and neighboring Jordan, whose monarch met with President Donald Trump on Monday. The nearly year-old agreement is intended to preserve the status quo in Syria's southwest, but recent public and private statements suggest the U.S. commitment is slipping. — AP

May 11, 2018

Syrian state media and a war monitor say opposition fighters and their families have left three southern suburbs of the capital Damascus, bringing the area under government control for the first time in years.

State news agency SANA says opposition fighters who decided to stay in the suburbs of Babila, Beit Sahem and Yalda will hand over the weapons and return to normal life.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a total of 8,400 fighters and civilians left the area since May 3 and the last group left Thursday night.

SANA said police forces are getting ready to enter the area on Friday to guarantee security.

The Observatory said that Russian and Syrian police have already started entering the towns. — AP

May 11, 2018

Israel's U.N. ambassador is calling on the U.N. Security Council and the secretary-general to immediately condemn Iran's missile attack and demand that Tehran remove its military presence from Syria.

Danny Danon said in letters to the council and U.N. chief Antonio Guterres that "the international community must not stand idly by while a tyrannical regime attacks a sovereign nation and continues to threaten the very existence of a member-state of the United Nations."

Danon said "Israel is not interested in escalation, but under no circumstances will we allow Iran to establish a military presence in Syria whose purpose is to attack Israel and to deteriorate an already fragile situation in the region."

The Security Council, which is deeply divided over Syria, is highly unlikely to issue a statement and no council member has asked for a meeting on the missile attacks against Israel and Syria. Secretary-General Guterres urged "an immediate halt to all hostile acts" to avoid "a new conflagration" in the Middle East. — AP

May 10, 2018

The Russian military says Israel fired more than 70 missiles at Iranian facilities in Syria and that Syrian air defenses shot down more than half of them.

Israel says it struck dozens of Iranian targets overnight in response to a rocket barrage on Israeli positions in the Golan Heights. It was the biggest Israeli strike in Syria since the 1973 war.

The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement that 28 Israeli F-15 and F-16 fighter jets launched about 60 air-to-surface missiles during the two-hour raid early Thursday. It says Israel also fired over 10 tactical surface-to-surface missiles.

Russia is a key ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, and has been waging its own air campaign on his behalf since 2015. — AP

May 10, 2018

A Syrian war monitoring group says Israeli attacks on several sites in Syria have killed 23 fighters, including five Syrian soldiers.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says Thursday the overnight attacks struck several military posts for Syrian troops and Iranian-backed militias near the capital, Damascus, in central Syria and in southern Syria.

The head of the Observatory, Rami Abdurrahman, said five Syrian soldiers, including two officers, and 18 militia fighters were killed. Abdurrahman says it is not immediately clear if Iranians were among those killed.

He says the toll is likely to rise because some of the wounded are in critical condition.

The Observatory says the strikes targeted suspected locations of the Lebanese Hezbollah group, as well as areas where Iranian advisers are believed to be based. — AP

May 10, 2018

Syrian President Bashar Assad has accused U.S. President Donald Trump of saying one thing one day and the opposite the next, saying "I don't think in the meantime we can achieve anything with such an administration."

Assad spoke in an interview with the Greek Kathimerini newspaper published Thursday, before Israel carried out airstrikes in Syria in response to what it said was a cross-border rocket attack by Iranian forces.

He appeared to be referring to conflicting messages from the White House on how long it plans to keep American troops in Syria and its plans going forward.

Assad says wise Russian leadership has managed to avoid a full-blown conflict with Washington. He says: "I hope we don't see any direct conflict between these superpowers, because this is where things are going to be out of control for the rest of the world."

Both Russia and Iran have provided crucial military support to Assad's forces. — AP

April 30, 2018

Syrian TV is reporting a "new aggression," with missiles targeting military outposts in northern Syria.

The state-run television reported early Monday that the missiles targeted military outposts in the Hama and Aleppo countryside. It did not say who fired the missiles or whether there were any casualties or damage.

The news comes less than two weeks after a similar report of airstrikes on government military installations in the central Homs region and the suburbs of Damascus. But the military later said a false alarm had set off air defense systems.

Earlier this month, seven Iranian military personnel were killed in an airstrike on Syria's T4 air base, also in Homs.

Syria, Iran and Russia blamed Israel for that attack. Israel did not confirm or deny it. — AP

April 30, 2018

Syrian government forces briefly captured four villages east of the Euphrates River in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour on Sunday after rare clashes with U.S.-backed Kurdish-led fighters, before losing the area in a counteroffensive by the Kurdish-led force.

The area close to the border with Iraq has been the site of recent clashes between the two sides who had been focusing on fighting the Islamic State group. The IS had declared its caliphate in parts of Syria and Iraq.

Crossings into the east bank of the Euphrates in eastern Syria by government forces have been rare.

State news agency SANA said the villages were held by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, adding that they are close to the provincial capital, also called Deir el-Zour. The SDF said in a statement later that it regained control of the whole area it earlier lost. — AP

April 24, 2018

A UN official says international efforts to rebuild Syria once the civil war is over should center on agriculture to jumpstart the economy and quickly improve the livelihoods of the people, the Associated Press reports.

The senior official in the Food and Agriculture Organization says that in case of a return to peace the impact of providing funds for farming would yield almost immediate results.

FAO's Deputy Director General Daniel Gustafson says in an interview with The Associated Press ahead of an international Syria donors conference that "if you invest in that, you are going to get a quick return."

April 18, 2018

Russia's U.N. ambassador is rejecting a draft U.N. resolution on Syria proposed by the United States, Britain and France, calling it "untimely" and "unnecessary."

Vassily Nebenzia dismissed the attempt by the three Western allies who attacked alleged Syrian chemical sites to push for Security Council approval of a resolution calling for a political solution to Syria's seven-year conflict, for a new body to assess blame for chemical attacks and for humanitarian access.

Nebenzia said Tuesday there is no need for a new independent body to determine responsibility for chemical attacks because "they attributed the guilt, and they already punished the culprits."

He says Russian envoys were present when Security Council experts discussed the Western draft Monday "just to hear, but we said really this effort now is untimely." — AP

April 18, 2018

Syria's U.N. ambassador says a U.N. security team has visited the Damascus suburb of Douma to decide whether investigators from the international chemical weapons watchdog can visit the site of a suspected chemical weapons attack.

Bashar Ja'afari told the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that the team arrived in Douma about 3 p.m. Damascus time. He said if the team decides "the situation is sound," the fact-finding mission from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons will start work there Wednesday.

Earlier, Syrian state TV had said the OPCW inspectors had reached the site.

Ja'afari says Syria's government has done "all that it can do to facilitate the work of this mission" and it's up to the U.N. security team and the OPCW to give a green light for the investigators to enter Douma.

Ja'afari says the OPCW mission has been working in Damascus, including listening to statements from some witnesses about the alleged incident. — AP

April 17, 2018

Syria's state news agency says inspectors from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons have reached the town of Douma to investigate reports of a suspected April 7 gas attack, the Associated Press reports.

The inspectors entered Douma on Tuesday after arriving in Syria on Saturday.

April 17, 2018

Syrian state-run television says Syria's air defenses have confronted a new "aggression," shooting down missiles over the area of Homs in the country's center.

It did not elaborate or say who carried out the airstrikes early Tuesday.

The Syrian Central Media run by the government said the missiles targeted Shayrat air base in Homs. — AP

April 16, 2018

President Donald Trump informs Congress in writing of his decision to order a US missile strike against Syria.

Under the War Powers Resolution, the president must keep Congress informed of such actions.

Trump's letter to congressional leaders cites the rationale he gave publicly Friday night when he announced that the US and allies Britain and France were firing missiles into Syria in response to an alleged poison gas attack on Syrian rebels near Damascus the previous week.

This satellite image provided by DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company, shows the Barzah Research and Development Center in Syria on Sunday, April 15, 2018, following a U.S.-led allied missile attack. The U.S., France and Britain launched missiles at Syrian military targets early Saturday, April 14, in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus.
Satellite Image ©2018 DigitalGlobe, a Maxar company via AP


He writes that the targets were Syrian military chemical weapons-related facilities.

The president tells lawmakers that he acted to "promote the stability of the region, to deter the use and proliferation of chemical weapons, and to avert a worsening of the region's current humanitarian catastrophe."

April 15, 2018

US President Donald Trump on Saturday declared "Mission Accomplished" for a US-led allied missile attack on Syria's chemical weapons program, but the Pentagon said the pummeling of three chemical-related facilities left enough others intact to enable the Assad government to use banned weapons against civilians if it chooses, the Associated Press reports.

"A perfectly executed strike," Trump tweeted after US, French and British warplanes and ships launched more than 100 missiles nearly unopposed by Syrian air defenses. "Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!"

April 15, 2018

Syrian-Americans express anger at the missile strike on their homeland as they celebrated their country's independence day at a rally in Pennsylvania.

The Morning Call of Allentown reports a crowd of about 50 Syrians chanted in Arabic and sang the Syrian national anthem at the annual event. They also sang the "Star-Spangled Banner."

The rally in Allentown is usually a celebration of Syria's independence. But the Syrian community, which is one of the largest in the U.S., is deeply divided about its feelings about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

April 14, 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May says the need to act quickly and protect what she calls "operational security" led her to decide to join the allied strikes in Syria without a prior vote in Parliament.

She says she'll make a statement in Parliament on Monday explaining her actions. A spirited debate is expected. — AP

April 14, 2018

The Russian military says Syria's Soviet-made air defense systems have shot down all 12 cruise missile aimed at a Syrian air base.

The Russian Defense Ministry said that 12 cruise missiles have been launched at the Dumayr air base east of Damascus. It said that Syria's air defense assets have downed all of them. — AP

April 14, 2018

France's defense minister says its joint military operation with the U.S. and Britain against Syria targeted three sites and that Russia was informed ahead of time.

Defense Minister Florence Parly told reporters Saturday that the French military sent fighter jets from multiple bases in France and used missile-equipped frigates in the Mediterranean in the operation. Rafale fighter jets could be seen on a video posted overnight by the French presidential palace on Twitter. —  AP

April 14, 2018

The spokeswoman for Russia's Foreign Ministry is denouncing the United States for launching airstrikes on Syria. She says the attacks hit a long-troubled country "that for many years has been trying to survive terrorist aggression."

In a statement Saturday on Facebook, Maria Zakharova is also taking Western media reports to task. — AP

April 14, 2018

Congressional leaders are supporting President Donald Trump's decision to launch airstrikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad in retaliation for an apparent chemical attack against civilians — although there are some reservations.

House Speaker Paul Ryan is praising Trump's "decisive action in coordination with our allies," adding, "We are united in our resolve." — AP

April 14, 2018

Defense Secretary Mattis: At this time 'no reports of losses' on part of US, allies in Syria strike.

He says no additional strikes on Syria planned: 'Right now this is a one-time shot.' — AP

April 14, 2018

President Donald Trump announced Friday that the U.S., France and Britain together launched military strikes in Syria to punish President Bashar Assad for his alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians and to deter him from doing it again.

Loud explosions lit up the skies over the Syrian capital, as Trump announced the airstrikes. — AP

April 13, 2018

 President Donald Trump has put off a final decision on possible military strikes against Syria after tweeting earlier that they could happen "very soon or not so soon at all." The White House said Thursday he would consult further with allies.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis warned such an attack carried the risk of spinning out of control, suggesting caution ahead of a decision on how to respond to an attack against civilians last weekend that U.S. officials are increasingly certain involved the use of banned chemical weapons. British officials said up to 75 people were killed. — AP

April 13, 2018

The U.N. Security Council has scheduled another emergency meeting Friday at Russia's request on the threat to international peace from possible air strikes on Syria by the U.S. and its allies.

Russia had requested a briefing by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. But there was no briefing on the U.N. chief's schedule for Friday, which was released Thursday night.

It was not clear who might brief the Security Council.

China and Bolivia backed Russia's call for a briefing by Guterres.

The open meeting is scheduled at 10 a.m. EDT Friday

April 12, 2018

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is stressing the need to prevent the situation in Syria from "spiraling out of control."

The U.N. chief expressed regret Wednesday that the U.N. Security Council has been unable to reach agreement on the issue of chemical weapons in Syria. — AP

April 11, 2018

Rebuffing Russian warnings against US military strikes in Syria, US President Donald Trump said Wednesday that missiles "will be coming" in response to Syria's suspected chemical attack that killed at least 40 people, the Associated Press reports.

"Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria," Trump tweeted. "Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!' You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!"

April 11, 2018

Trump administration officials are consulting with global allies on a likely military response to Syria's suspected poison gas attack near Damascus.

President Donald Trump has canceled a foreign trip to manage the crisis, which is testing his vow a year ago to stop Syrian President Bashar Assad from using chemical weapons against his own people.

Trump has spoken with other world leaders, and other U.S. officials say the U.S., France and Britain have been in extensive consultations about launching a military strike as early as week's end.

The officials say none of the three countries' leaders have made a firm decision. The officials are not authorized to discuss military planning by name.

A joint military operation, possibly with France in the lead, could send a message of international unity.

April 10, 2018

US President Donald Trump says he'll "forcefully" respond to an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria.

Trump made the remark in the Cabinet Room of the White House during a meeting Monday evening with his top military leaders, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford.

Officials are trying to determine whether Syrian President Bashar Assad's government was behind Saturday's suspected chemical weapons attack on rebel-held Douma, east of Damascus.

Trump says the attack "will be met and it will be met forcefully."

Trump said earlier that he would soon make a decision on how to respond, and against whom.

April 5, 2018

The White House says the US military mission to eradicate the Islamic State group in Syria is coming to a "rapid end" but offers no timetable for withdrawal.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he wants to bring troops home to start rebuilding the US.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday that the US and its partners remain committed to eliminating the small Islamic State group presence that continues in Syria.

Sanders says the administration will continue to consult with allies regarding future plans.

Trump discussed Syria in a meeting with his national security team on Tuesday.

April 2, 2018

A rebel faction trapped by government forces outside the Syrian capital agreed to evacuate to northern Syria on Sunday as reports swirled of a larger agreement that would have the government retake full control of the eastern Ghouta region after seven years of revolt.

Fighters from the Faylaq al-Rahman group left Douma on buses sent by the Syrian government to the rebel-held province of Idlib, SANA state news agency reported. Some 1,300 fighters, activists, and civilians signed up to leave the town, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.

It was the first organized evacuation of fighters from Douma, one of the earliest centers of the anti-government demonstrations that swept through the country in 2011. Security forces responded by putting the town and other suburbs around Damascus under siege, bombing hospitals and residential areas, and blocking the entry of food and medical relief.

Douma is a stronghold of the powerful Army of Islam rebel group. The town is one of the last around the capital to hold out against the government. — AP

March 30, 2018

The U.S. military says two coalition personnel have been killed and five were wounded by an improvised explosive device in Syria.

A U.S. military statement says the incident occurred on Thursday night and that the wounded personnel were being evacuated for further medical treatment.

Friday’s statement did not say where the explosion occurred and did not state the casualties are Americans.

A Syrian official had told The Associated Press earlier that a roadside bomb exploded in the mixed Arab-Kurdish town of Manbij. Mohammed Abu Adel, the head of the Manbij Military Council, an Arab-Kurdish US.-backed group in the town, says the bomb went off hundreds of meters away from a security headquarters that houses the council just before midnight on Thursday.

The coalition statement said details pertaining to the incident are being withheld pending further investigation. — AP

March 30, 2018

A Syrian official says a roadside bomb has gone off in a tense, mixed Arab-Kurdish town not far from the border with Turkey.

Mohammed Abu Adel, the head of the Manbij Military Council, an Arab-Kurdish US.-backed group in the town, says the bomb went off hundreds of meters away from a security headquarters that houses the council just before midnight on Thursday.

A U.S. military official said on Friday an incident involving coalition forces was reported in Manbij but said no more information was available.

Col. Ryan Dillon said the coalition was still gathering information about the incident.

Manbij is under threat of a Turkish military operation. Ankara says Syrian Kurdish militiamen it views as “terrorists” and an extension of Kurdish insurgents inside Turkey is in control of the town. — AP

March 22, 2018

Syrian rebels and their families are expected to leave a besieged town in the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus, in an evacuation deal that will see the town handed over to the government following years of bombardment.

Monther Fares, a spokesman for the rebel faction Ahrar al-Sham, says his group's fighters are preparing to leave. He says fighters are waiting for buses to arrive to take them and their families to other rebel-held areas in north Syria.

The government-controlled Military Media Center says 1,500 rebels and 6,000 civilians will leave Harasta on Thursday.

The deal is modeled after others that have had rebels surrender swaths of territory around the capital and other major cities to the government. The U.N. and human rights groups have condemned such arrangements as "forced displacement." —AP

March 21, 2018

The Israeli military confirmed Wednesday it carried out the 2007 airstrike in Syria that destroyed what was believed to be a nuclear reactor, lifting the veil of secrecy over one of its most daring and mysterious operations in recent memory.

Although Israel was widely believed to have been behind the Sept. 6, 2007, airstrike, it has never before commented publicly on it.

In a lengthy release, the military revealed that eight F-15 fighter jets carried out the top-secret airstrikes against the facility in the Deir el-Zour region, 450 kilometers (about 300 miles) northwest of Damascus, destroying a site that had been in development for years and was scheduled to go into operation at the end of that year. — AP

This photo released by the Israel Defense Forces shows what was believed to be a nuclear reactor site that was destroyed by Israel, in the Deir el-Zour region, 450 kilometers (about 300 miles) northwest of Damascus, Syria. The Israeli military confirmed Wednesday that it carried out the 2007 airstrike in Syria that destroyed what was believed to be a nuclear reactor, lifting the veil of secrecy over one of its most daring and mysterious operations in recent memory.
IDF via AP


Eight Security Council nations say it's "imperative" that the U.N. body "immediately pursue decisive action" to achieve a cease-fire in Syria if U.N. member states, especially Russia and its ally Syria, don't implement a resolution demanding a cessation of hostilities.

A letter sent to all 15 council members on Monday expresses "profound concern" about the lack of implementation of the Feb. 24 resolution demanding a cease-fire throughout Syria without delay to deliver humanitarian aid and evacuate the critically ill and wounded.

It singles out Russia and Syria as key to implementation.

The letter was signed by France, Kuwait, Peru, Poland, Sweden, the United Kingdom, the United States and the Netherlands.

It says that implementing the resolution "could immediately save hundreds, if not thousands, of children, women and men who have suffered acutely during the past eight years of the brutal conflict in Syria."


12:10 a.m.

The U.N. human rights chief says the Syrian government's five-year siege of the Damascus suburbs of eastern Ghouta has involved "pervasive war crimes," use of chemical weapons and starvation as a weapon of war.

High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein told an informal meeting of the U.N. Security Council late Monday that never before have military offensives against terrorism been used more often "to justify the unconscionable use of force against civilians than in the last few months in Syria."

Russia earlier blocked his planned address to a formal meeting of the council.

Zeid said "unlawful methods of warfare have been used by all parties" in Syria. But he singled out the Syrian government's claim that it makes every effort to protect civilians and dismissed it.

In his words, "When you are capable of torturing and indiscriminately killing your own people, you have long forfeited your own credibility."


11 p.m.

Western nations on the U.N. Security Council and their supporters have quickly organized an informal briefing by the U.N. human rights chief on Syria after a Russian-led protest blocked him from addressing a formal council meeting.

France's U.N. Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters after a procedural vote that Russia called for prevented High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein from addressing an open meeting in the council that he would deliver the same address at the informal meeting late Monday afternoon.

Delattre criticized Russia for refusing any discussion of human rights in the Security Council when rights violations in Syria "are at their very peak."

Russian deputy ambassador Gennady Kuzmin had argued that human rights have nothing to do with the council's mandate of ensuring international peace and security.

But Sweden's U.N. Ambassador Olof Skoog insisted that "human rights and peace and security are intimately linked."

And Britain's deputy U.N. ambassador Jonathan Allen said Russia "doesn't want the truth of ... the appalling human rights abuses taking place." But he said: "We mustn't let them silence us.


10:10 p.m.

The U.N. human rights chief has been blocked from speaking to the Security Council about the situation in Syria after Russia, backed by China and others, protested that the U.N. body charged with ensuring international peace and security should not be discussing human rights.

At the start of Monday afternoon's council meeting that was to be addressed by High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, Russia demanded a procedural vote on whether the meeting should be held.

Under council rules, nine "yes" votes are required.

After the issue was put to a vote, the result was 8 countries in favor, 4 against and 3 abstentions. So the meeting was canceled.

It was a very rare defeat on a procedural issue at an open council meeting.

But it reflected deep divisions at the Security Council over seven years of Syrian conflict that has involved President Bashar Assad's key ally Russia and Western nations including the U.S. and other supporters of the Syrian opposition.


10 p.m.

Turkey's president has vowed to expand military operations across northern Syria and even into neighboring Iraq after his forces drove Kurdish fighters from the northern Syrian town of Afrin.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that the two-month-long Afrin campaign was the "most important phase" of the military operation launched on Jan. 20, which is aimed at driving Syrian Kurdish forces out of areas along the border.

Turkey views the Syrian Kurdish militiamen as terrorists because of their links to Kurdish insurgents fighting inside Turkey.

Erdogan said Turkish troops and allied Syrian forces would now press eastward, toward the town of Manbij and areas east of the Euphrates River, including Ayn al-Arab, the Arabic name for the Kurdish town of Kobani. Those areas are controlled by U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces, and U.S. troops are stationed there.


8:30 p.m.

The U.N.'s humanitarian coordinator in Syria is appealing for help to provide aid to tens of thousands of civilians affected by the fighting outside the Syrian capital and in the northern town of Afrin.

Ali al-Za'tari says the civilians are in "desperate need," and are "tired, hungry, traumatized and afraid."

Government forces are close to capturing the eastern Ghouta region outside Damascus, where they have waged a fierce monthlong air and ground campaign. Turkish troops and allied Syrian forces seized Afrin from Kurdish fighters on Sunday after a two-month offensive. The fighting in both places has killed hundreds of civilians and displaced tens of thousands.

Al-Za'tari says the U.N., the Syrian Arab Red Crescent and other partners are "fully mobilized to deliver aid on the spot," but require permissions and security guarantees.

The Syrian government has regularly blocked the delivery of aid to opposition-held areas.


8 p.m.

Syria has condemned Turkey's capture of the northern Syrian town of Afrin from Kurdish forces.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry, in messages sent to the U.N. Security Council and secretary general on Monday, called on Turkey to withdraw its forces immediately from Syrian territories.

Turkish troops and allied Syrian opposition forces seized Afrin from a Kurdish militia on Sunday after a nearly two-month military campaign.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry said the move was "illegal" and called it an invasion.

Turkey views the Kurdish forces as terrorists because of their links to Kurdish insurgents inside Turkey. Ankara denies it is invading or occupying Syrian land, saying it is only removing militants from areas along the border.


6:30 p.m.

Syrian President Bashar Assad's office has released videos showing the president driving himself to visit his forces at the battle for eastern Ghouta, just outside the capital, Damascus.

The videos, released late Sunday and early Monday, show the president calm and assured. Other drivers on the road give no indication of knowing who is behind the wheel of the Honda sedan.

Assad's forces in eastern Ghouta appear close to clinching one of their most significant victories against rebels in seven years of civil war.

As he drove, he narrated his route to the camera and gave his thoughts on the battle. He said the images of civilians crossing over by the thousands to government authorities in eastern Ghouta showed that his government was still popular with his people and still possessed the "legitimacy" to rule.

Eastern Ghouta has been under a crippling siege and heavy bombardment for weeks, with civilians packing into underground shelters. Some 1,500 civilians have been killed in the last month.


6:15 p.m.

The U.S. State Department says it is "deeply concerned" over the humanitarian situation following Turkey's capture of the town of Afrin in northern Syria from Kurdish forces.

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement Monday that the offensive forced the majority of the predominantly Kurdish population of Afrin to evacuate from the town.

She said the U.S. calls on all parties to the conflict to allow humanitarian groups to access the displaced and develop a program for their safe and voluntary return.

Nauert said the fighting in Afrin has distracted from the fight against Islamic State militants, allowing the extremists to begin to reconstitute in some areas.

She said the U.S. is committed to its NATO ally Turkey and its security concerns, and is also committed to the fight against IS with its partners, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

Nauert said U.S. officials have expressed their concern to Turkish officials about the situation in Afrin.


4:15 p.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says that after victory in Syria's Afrin region, his country will expand its military operations into other Kurdish-held areas in Syria as well as to Iraq's Sinjar region.

Speaking at a ceremony for judicial appointments in Ankara, Erdogan said troops would target the Syrian city of Manbij, as well as Ayn al-Arab, also known as Kobani, and other towns along the border to the east of the Euphrates River. Those areas are controlled by U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces and U.S. troops are stationed there.

Erdogan said Turkish troops could also cross into Iraq to drive out Kurdish militants from the region of Sinjar, if the Iraqi government is reluctant to oust militants from the area. Turkey says the region is becoming a headquarters for outlawed Kurdish rebels who have been fighting an insurgency in Turkey's southeast since 1984.

Erdogan said "one night, we could suddenly enter Sinjar."

He insisted Turkey had no intention of "invading" Syria, saying it was merely clearing the border area of terrorists.


2:05 p.m.

Syria's Kurdish militia says a British woman who had joined their ranks to fight in the northern town of Afrin has been killed in a Turkish airstrike.

Nisrin Abdullah, spokeswoman of the Kurdish female militia known as YPJ, said on Monday that Anna Campbell was killed last Thursday.

She is the first foreign national to die in the battle for Afrin. She is also the first British female fighter and the eighth Briton to die fighting alongside the Kurdish militia in Syria. The Press Association says Campbell was 26 years old from Lewes, East Sussex.

Macer Gifford, a Briton who travelled with Campbell, said they arrived last May to eastern Syria, where they joined the U.S-backed Kurdish militia to fight against Islamic State militants. Gifford returned home after the fall of the city of Raqqa last summer.

Gifford told The Associated Press via Twitter that Campbell, an animal rights activist, "was a lovely girl. Very opinionated and determined."

He also says: "She loved the YPJ and the last I saw of her was her leaving to join them."


1:50 p.m.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag says Turkey does not aim to invade the Syrian town of Afrin and will hand it over to "its real owners."

Bozdag made the comments on Monday, a day after Turkish troops and Ankara-allied Syrian opposition forces captured Afrin.

The town was taken nearly two month after Turkey launched its offensive to clear Afrin and surrounding districts of a Syrian Kurdish militia that Ankara considers to be a "terrorist" group, allied with Turkey's outlawed Kurdish rebels.

Bozdag says" ''We are not invaders. The aim of our offensive is to clear the region of terror."

He says the Syrian Kurdish forces retreated from Afrin because "they were afraid ... you see this very clearly when you look at ammunition and weapons that they left behind."

He says the Kurdish fighters had left booby traps and other explosives inside Afrin.


1:35 p.m.

The European Union has slapped sanctions on a senior Syrian military officer and three scientists accused of links to the development and use of chemical weapons against civilians.

EU headquarters said on Monday that the four work at the Scientific Studies and Research Center, a Syrian government agency the EU says produces chemical weapons and missiles to deliver them.

The center has been under EU sanctions since Dec. 2011.

The move brings to 261 the number of people targeted by an EU travel ban and asset freeze over the crackdown on Syrian civilians and support for the government of President Bashar Assad or associating with certain government officials.

A further 67 entities — often companies, agencies and organizations — have had their assets frozen.


12:40 p.m.

A senior Syrian Kurdish official says Turkey's offensive on the Syrian town of Afrin is an "occupation" that endangers the rest of northern Syria.

Aldar Khalil, a leading Kurdish official, on Monday condemned Turkey for the assault and for raising the Turkey's flag in a Syrian town.

He says Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is seeking to spread his influence in Syria as a way of restoring the Ottoman empire's former influence.

He says: "The whole of northern Syria is in danger."

Turkish troops and Syrian opposition fighters allied with Ankara captured Afrin on Sunday, nearly two months after Turkey began its offensive on the enclave.

Erdogan, who first launched military operations in Syria in 2016, has repeatedly said Turkey will not allow a "terror corridor" along its border and has vowed to push eastward in Syria after Afrin, to prevent the Kurdish militia from linking up territories it controls in eastern and western Syria.


9:50 a.m.

The European Union's top diplomat is criticizing Turkey over its military offensive in a northern Syrian town and is calling on Ankara to ensure that fighting eases in the conflict-torn country.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says: "I am worried about this."

Mogherini told reporters in Brussels on Monday that international efforts in Syria are supposed to be "aiming at de-escalating the military activities and not escalating them."

She urged Turkey, Russia and Iran to guarantee that conflict "de-escalation zones" are established as promised, to "guarantee that that is what happens on the ground."

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Sunday the capture of the town of Afrin, previously controlled by the Kurdish militia known as the People's Defense Units, or YPG.


9:40 a.m.

Turkey's state-run news agency says a booby trap bomb reportedly left by Syrian Kurdish fighters in the northern Syrian town of Afrin has killed 11 people — seven civilians and four Turkish-backed fighters.

Anadolu Agency says the explosion occurred late on Sunday in a four-story building that Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces were clearing for explosives.

Turkish troops and Syrian opposition fighters allied with Ankara marched into Afrin on Sunday, nearly two months after Turkey began its offensive on the enclave to drive out a Syrian Kurdish militia. Ankara considers the militia an extension of its own insurgency.

Kurdish officials and a war monitor say some pockets of resistance remain in the town of Afrin but the Kurdish militia, known as YPG, has largely withdrawn.


9:20 a.m.

A Syria war monitoring group says Turkish-allied militiamen are looting the northern Syrian town of Afrin after the Turkish military and allied Syrian fighters seized control of it.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Monday the looting began on Sunday, after the Turkish and allied Syrian forces marched into the town center and raised their flags there — nearly two months after the offensive on the Kurdish enclave started.

The troops faced little resistance from the Kurdish militia, which withdrew, vowing a "new phase" of guerrilla tactics against Turkish troops and their allied fighters.

The Observatory, which monitors Syria's war through a network of activists on the ground, described extensive looting of shops, homes and cars in Afrin.

It's unclear what Turkey plans after the capture of Afrin. — AP

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with