Aug 26, 2015

Iran recruits Afghan refugees as fighters to bolster Syria

The fate of two brothers from Kabul, one grievously wounded, the other killed fighting in Syria, spotlights Iran’s covert but active recruitment of Afghan refugees to buttress President Bashar Assad’s steadily depleting forces. Shiite Iran, Assad’s key military and financial patron, denies enlisting Afghan ...

Assad opposes alliance of Syrian rebels against Islamic State

Aug 26, 2015

Assad opposes alliance of Syrian rebels against Islamic State

Syrian President Bashar Assad said Tuesday that he is open to the idea of a coalition against Islamic State but indicated there is little chance of it happening among his enemies, casting further doubt on a Russian plan to forge an alliance against the ...

Islamic State beheads legendary 'Mr. Palmyra' antiquities scholar, 81

Aug 20, 2015

Islamic State beheads legendary 'Mr. Palmyra' antiquities scholar, 81

The 81-year-old antiquities scholar had dedicated his life to exploring and overseeing Syria’s ancient ruins of Palmyra, one of the Middle East’s most spectacular archaeological sites. He even named his daughter after Zenobia, the queen who ruled from the city 1,700 years ago. On ...

Al-Qaida in Syria leaves area where Turkey seeks buffer

Aug 11, 2015

Al-Qaida in Syria leaves area where Turkey seeks buffer

The al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front says it has quit frontline positions against the Islamic State group north of Aleppo and ceded them to other rebels, leaving an area of northern Syria where Turkey wants to set up a buffer zone. A Nusra Front statement dated ...

Iran nuclear deal opens diplomatic channels for Syria

| Aug 8, 2015

Iran nuclear deal opens diplomatic channels for Syria

The nuclear deal with Iran was widely expected to affect other Middle East issues, and that may already be happening with Syria: A series of recent diplomatic maneuvers suggest a growing willingness to at least engage with the Iranian-backed government of Bashar Assad on ...

Syrian Islamists, courting West, say they will protect minorities

Jul 22, 2015

Syrian Islamists, courting West, say they will protect minorities

A conservative Islamist rebel group said on Tuesday it would protect Syria’s minorities, pressing a campaign in Western media to address concerns about one of the most powerful insurgent forces fighting President Bashar al-Assad. Ahrar al-Sham is an ultra orthodox Salafist group and part ...