Dec 4, 2014

In Syria, U.S.-trained rebels await more weapons, training

Syrian rebel commander Abdulaziz says U.S. military training helped his men kill at least 15 Islamic State fighters in a recent battle near Aleppo. Three months earlier, a similar engagement had gone the other way, with two of his men slain. But his group, ...

Dec 2, 2014

Turkey starts vetting fighters for U.S.-backed force for Syria

Turkish authorities have started vetting candidates for a beefed-up Syrian opposition force under a joint initiative with the U.S., according to a Turkish official with knowledge of the process. The program will train as many as 5,000 fighters, another official said. The training will ...

Europeans take center stage in grisly beheading video

Nov 18, 2014

Europeans take center stage in grisly beheading video

The cold-eyed militants that are lined up behind their victims in the latest Islamic State video appear to come from outside the Middle East, including one from France and possibly two from Britain, as the extremist group tries to show a global reach. The ...

Western-backed Syrian rebels shaken on multiple fronts

Nov 17, 2014

Western-backed Syrian rebels shaken on multiple fronts

During a key battle in the rugged mountains of a northern province earlier this month, U.S.-backed Syrian rebels collapsed before an assault by al-Qaida fighters. Some surrendered their weapons. Others outright defected to the militants. A detailed account of the battle in Idlib, from ...

Qatar cuts its help for Islamists carefully

Nov 4, 2014

Qatar cuts its help for Islamists carefully

Qatar has joined the American-led coalition to fight Islamic State, yet the emirate is a haven for anti-Western groups and foreign diplomats have reported seeing cars with Islamic State logos in an affluent bay district. Such ambiguity runs through Qatari policy. When the United ...

Syria truncated, battered — but remains defiant

| Nov 4, 2014

Syria truncated, battered — but remains defiant

Syrian businessmen start from scratch after their shops and factories were destroyed. Families who lost their homes struggle to rent new dwellings and make ends meet. Along highways stretching through government-controlled areas are the bombed ruins of once-rebellious towns, now dotted with checkpoints. Government-controlled ...

Death toll in Syrian jails this year approaching 2,000: monitor

Nov 3, 2014

Death toll in Syrian jails this year approaching 2,000: monitor

Nearly 2,000 people have died in Syrian prisons of torture, starvation and lack of medical treatment so far this year, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Sunday. The Britain-based monitor said it had documented 1,917 deaths in Syrian prisons since the start ...

Assad pursues withering campaign against rebels

Oct 23, 2014

Assad pursues withering campaign against rebels

Syrian President Bashar Assad is taking advantage of the U.S.-led coalition’s war against the Islamic State group to pursue a withering air and ground campaign against more mainstream rebels elsewhere in the country, trying to recapture areas he apparently considers more crucial to the ...