There has been fresh violence in several Syrian cities, opposition activists say, just hours before the Syrian government was due to announce a final decision on an Eid al-Adha ceasefire proposed by Lakhdar Brahimi, the UN and Arab League envoy. | Al Jazeera

Carla del Ponte, a member of a UN commission investigating rights abuses in Syria, said Thursday she intended to identify top officials behind atrocities in the war-torn country. | Al Arabiya

On Thursday international rights groups urged Syria’s Bashar al-Assad to release peaceful activists, journalists, and aid workers as part of an amnesty decree and to allow UN monitors inside prisons. | Daily Star


International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi said on Wednesday the Syrian government has agreed to a ceasefire during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, a decision Damascus would announce shortly. However, the Syrian government said it will take a final decision on Thursday about a ceasefire during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha. | Al Arabiya

Syrian rebels have acquired portable surface-to-air missiles including U.S.-made Stingers, the Interfax news agency quoted Russia’s senior general as saying on Wednesday. | Daily Star

More than 35,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since the outbreak of Syria’s anti-regime revolt in March 2011, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights told AFP on Wednesday. | Now Lebanon


The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to hold a meeting on Tuesday over the Syrian crisis to discuss three press statements, requested by Russia, on Syria and Libya. | Al Arabiya

President Bashar al-Assad declared amnesty for all crimes committed in Syria “up until today,” with the notable exception of “terrorist crimes,” state television said on Tuesday. The decree applies only to criminals who surrender to the authorities and not those on the run, the report said. It was not immediately clear if the amnesty includes those in prison. | Naharnet

Sanctions imposed on Syria by the European Union, the United States, and others over its nineteen-month conflict are “immoral and illegal” and harming Syrian children, the government wrote in a letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, released on Monday. | Al Arabiya


Syrian troops pounded rebels in northern Syria and Damascus province before dawn on Monday, while fierce fighting broke out in Aleppo and the capital, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. | Al Arabiya

An explosion hit the Old City of Damascus on Sunday on a day when President Bashar al-Assad discussed the civil war in his country with Lakhdar Brahimi, the envoy representing the United Nations and the Arab League. | New York Times

Ahmed Ben Helli, deputy secretary general of the Arab League, said that hopes for a ceasefire in Syria over the upcoming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha are “weak,” as President Bashar al-Assad shows little indication of support for the concept, despite his words in favor of a ceasefire. | Christian Science Monitor


Syrian fighter jets have blasted the rebel-held town of Maaret al-Numan, killing at least 44 people, including 23 children, rescue workers said. Among those who died on Thursday died was a nine-month-old baby. | Al Jazeera

Turkey and Germany on Friday joined an appeal for a ceasefire to stop the bloodshed in Syria during a Muslim holiday next week. | Washington Post

BBC World News and other international broadcasters are being deliberately jammed by forces inside Syrian, according to the corporation's foreign editor. | Guardian


International peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, who is trying to secure a truce in Syria for the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, will arrive in Damascus on Saturday, the Syrian foreign ministry said. | Naharnet

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has urged a ceasefire in Syria and called for internal dialogue to resolve the crisis, but rejects a Turkish proposal to replace President Bashar al-Assad, Kuwait's press reported Thursday. | Al Akhbar

The UN refugee agency says the number of Syrian refugees who have fled their country's civil war to find shelter in Egypt has now topped 150,000--a significant jump from last month's figure of 95,000. | Daily Star


The international envoy to the Syrian conflict called on President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to take the lead in implementing a ceasefire during a major Muslim holiday later this month. Lakhdar Brahimi said rebel representatives have assured him they will also observe the truce if the government takes the first step. | New York Times

Syria's divided rebels have agreed to set up a joint leadership to oversee their battle to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, two insurgent sources said on Tuesday as fighting raged in cities across the country. | Reuters

The number of Syrian refugees housed in camps in southern Turkey has risen to 101, 834, the Turkish Disaster Management Agency (AFAD) said on Wednesday in a written statement posted on its website. | Al Arabiya


Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had surprise talks with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday as the two neighbors find themselves increasingly at odds over the civil war in Syria. | Today’s Zaman

Warplanes unleashed a wave of raids in Syria's north on Tuesday, bidding to dislodge rebels whose seizure of a key highway has prevented reinforcements from reaching the main battleground city of Aleppo. | Daily Star

Assad set December 1 as the date for legislative polls to fill vacant posts, according to SANA. | Daily Star


Turkey’s foreign minister announced on Sunday a ban on all Syrian aircraft entering his country’s airspace, days after the authorities discovered what they said were Russian military munitions on board a passenger plane bound for Damascus. | New York Times

The European Union slapped fresh sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime Monday, agreeing on an assets freeze and travel ban on 28 Syrians and two firms at a meeting of EU foreign ministers. | Daily Star

A report that UN-Arab peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is drafting a resolution for deploying a strong force of 3,000 international peacekeepers in Syria is “FALSE,” his spokesman Ahmad Fawzi has told al-Arabiya. | Al Arabiya

The majority of weapons secretly shipped to Syria at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar go to hardline Islamic rebel groups rather than more secular organizations favored by the West, the New York Times reported Monday. | Al Arabiya


Syria’s transport minister accused Turkey of “air piracy” while Russia is demanding an explanation from Turkish authorities, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Thursday, after Turkish fighter planes forced down a Syrian passenger jet flying from Russia to Damascus, Lebanon’s al-Manar Television reported. | Al Arabiya

UN-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi waded back into the Syrian fray on Thursday, even as rebels and regime troops fought pitched battles for control of key northern towns leaving dozens dead. Brahimi’s arrival in Saudi Arabia for talks with officials in the kingdom comes amid rising tension between Syria and Turkey. | Daily Star

Plans are underway to provide shelter on two Greek islands for 20,000 Syrian refugees, Greece’s public order ministry said on Thursday. | Daily Star


NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Tuesday the military alliance had plans in place to defend Turkey. He gave no further details but a senior U.S. defense official said NATO would likely react if Turkey made a request for assistance. | Reuters

The United States military has secretly sent a task force of more than 150 planners and other specialists to Jordan to help the armed forces there handle a flood of Syrian refugees, prepare for the possibility that Syria will lose control of its chemical weapons and be positioned should the turmoil in Syria expand into a wider conflict. | New York Times

Syrian opposition fighters have taken control of Maarat al-Numan, a strategic town in Idlib province on the highway linking Damascus with the commercial hub of Aleppo, activists say. | Al Jazeera

Syria's main exiled opposition coalition the Syrian National Council will in a "matter of days" set up in a rebel-controlled area inside the country, Jamal al-Ward, a SNC official in charge of relations with the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA), told AFP on Wednesday. | Daily Star


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday urged the Syrian regime to declare an immediate truce to bring an end to the conflict that he said had left 20,000 dead over the last 19 months. | Naharnet

Syria's military has intensified its aerial and ground bombardment of rebel-held areas around the country, particularly in the provinces of Idlib and Homs, activists say. Government fighter jets bombed the town of Maarat al-Numan in Idlib early on Tuesday, forcing many residents to flee their homes. | Al Jazeera

Violence across Syria has killed more than 32,000 people, most of them civilians, since the outbreak of an anti-regime revolt in March last year, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said. | Al Arabiya


The Turkish military has renewed firing at targets inside Syria after a woman and four children from the same family were killed in southeastern Turkey by shelling from across the border. Several Syrian troops were killed as a result of Turkish shelling inside the Syrian border town of Tal al-Abyad, a UK-based Syrian activist group said. | Al Jazeera

Syria has admitted it was responsible for shelling that killed five civilians on Turkish soil and has apologized, Turkey's deputy prime minister said on Thursday. | Now Lebanon

Turkey's deputy prime minister says a bill approved by the Turkish parliament authorizing the use of force in Syria is not a declaration of war but is intended as a deterrent against its neighbor. | Daily Star


Four blasts ripped through a government-controlled district close to a military officers’ club in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo, killing at least 40 people and wounding more than 90, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, quoting medical sources. | Al Jazeera

Syrian state TV launched a fierce campaign against Hamas politburo chief Khaled Meshaal and Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi owing to their support of the revolution against Bashar al-Assad’s regime. | Al Arabiya

A Hezbollah commander and several fighters have been killed inside Syria, a Lebanese security official said Tuesday, a development that could stoke already soaring tensions over the Lebanese militant group’s role in the civil war next door. | NPR


With tens of thousands fleeing Syria every month, the number of refugees worldwide in 2012 is set to be the highest this century, a senior United Nations official said on Monday. | Al Arabiya

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is visiting the city of Aleppo to take a first-hand look at the fighting between government forces and rebels and has ordered 30,000 more troops into the battle. | Daily Star

Violence across Syria has killed at least 31,022 people, most of them civilians, since the outbreak of an anti-regime revolt in March last year, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. | Daily Star


Tehran spends billions of dollars in the form of military and financial support to Damascus, causing a rift in the Iranian regime, a report published by The Times on Monday said, as fighting resumed across the war-torn country, leaving more deaths. | Al Arabiya

The number of Syrians fleeing the conflict in their homeland and seeking refuge in Turkey has climbed close to the 100,000 threshold, Turkish authorities said Monday. | Naharnet

Newly-leaked Syrian intelligence documents disclose shocking claims shedding light on the dreadful fate of two Turkish Air Force pilots. Contrary to what was publically claimed, the documents reveal that the pilots survived the crash, but were later executed by the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. | Al Arabiya


Syrian government forces and rebels are engaged in what has been described as an all-out conflict in Aleppo, the country’s largest city and commercial hub, according to activists. Friday’s clashes are part of an intensified push by the rebels to drive regime troops out of the city after weeks of stalemate. | Al Jazeera

A United Nations Human Rights investigation into war crimes in Syria has been extended by another six months, the rights council voted on Friday, condemning the “increasing number of massacres” in the country. | Al Arabiya

Foreign ministers and senior diplomats from the “Friends of Syria” - a group that includes the United States, France, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey - are due to meet in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Friday. | Al Arabiya


More than 300 people were killed in Syria on Wednesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, in one of the bloodiest days in the eighteen-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. | Al Arabiya

294,000 Syrian refugees have registered or await registration in four neighboring countries and outflow grows by 2,000 to 3,000 refugees per day, according to the UNHCR. | Daily Star

The number of refugees fleeing Syria could reach 700,000 by the end of the year, the UN refugee agency said on Thursday, almost four times its previous forecast. | Daily Star


Two explosions have struck the Damascus general headquarters of Syria’s army, engulfing at least two floors of the building in flames in the latest in a series of major bombings in the capital. | Al Jazeera

A correspondent for Iran’s English-language Press TV was shot dead by a sniper in Syria, and its Damascus bureau chief was wounded, Press TV reported on Wednesday. | Al Akhbar

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s point man for Syria, Fred Hof, is stepping down at a crucial time as world powers seek to end the conflict in the Arab nation. | Naharnet


A huge blast hit the Palestine Branch of Syrian intelligence in Damascus on Tuesday, leaving scores of dead and wounded, including high-ranking officers. The blast was claimed by both the Damascus Revolutionary Council and the so-called Prophet’s Grandchildren Brigades. | Al Arabiya

Prospects for any settlement in the Syrian conflict remain dismal, but not impossible, the new Syria peace envoy said Monday, telling Security Council diplomats that the government of President Assad still clung to the notion that pre-revolution Syria could be resurrected. | New York Times

Children in Syria are subjected to "appalling" torture, imprisonment and abduction, and these atrocities should be better documented, a report by British charity Save the Children says. | BBC


An Iraqi government official says authorities will conduct random searches of Syria-bound Iranian aircraft on suspicion that they might be carrying weapons to the war-torn nation. | AP

The UN-Arab League mediator in the Syria crisis, Lakhdar Brahimi, will address the Security Council on Monday about talks he had with both President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition, amid heavy fighting between Syrian regime forces and the Free Syrian Army across the country. | Al Arabiya

More than 2,000 Syrian soldiers have defected to Jordan since the conflict erupted last year in the neighboring country, the commander of Jordan's border guards said in remarks published Monday. | Daily Star


Some 50 people were killed when a Syrian airstrike hit a fuel station in the northern province of Raqqa on Thursday according to activists in one of the single bloodiest incidents in a day that saw well over 100 Syrians killed across the country. | Daily Star

A Syrian opposition group tolerated by the government said on Friday that it had lost contact with two of its members who were returning from Damascus airport after a trip to China. | Now Lebanon

In a rare interview, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has told an Egyptian magazine that the Arab Spring uprisings only brought chaos, and that the Syrian rebels cannot win. | BBC


The Syrian ambassador to the United Nations has condemned a UN report that said his country's forces are guilty of committing violence against children caught up in the 18-month uprising. Ambassador Bashar Jaafari on Wednesday called the allegations made in the UNICEF report hostile propaganda, and said armed groups were violating the rights of children, not the government. | Al Jazeera

A military helicopter that crashed near the Syrian capital, Damascus, clipped the tail of a passenger plane in mid-air, state television reports. | BBC

Diplomats from over 60 nations and the Arab League met in The Hague on Thursday to toughen and improve coordination of sanctions against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. | Now Lebanon


Human rights group Amnesty International have accused Syrian forces of waging "relentless” and “indiscriminate" attacks against its people. | Al Jazeera

Former Syrian general turned defector, Major-General Adnan Sillu, said that aside from plans to transfer weapons to Hezbollah, Syria had planned to use chemical weapons on the Syrian people, “as a last resort.” | Al Arabiya

Syria's main opposition bloc wants Arab states to work together to affect an international intervention in Syria similar to the joint initiative in Libya, Syrian National Council head Abdulbaset Sieda said in an interview published on Wednesday. | Daily Star


Foreign ministers of the regional "contact group" on Syria agreed at talks in Cairo to hold more consultations in New York later this month, the official MENA news agency reported. | Al Jazeera

The international peace envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi met on Tuesday with Syrians staying at a Turkish refugee camp in his first encounter since taking over the mission from his frustrated predecessor. | Al Akhbar

The Syrian army has tested a chemical weapons delivery system, firing shells at a research center in its northwestern desert region, reported the German magazine Der Spiegel on Monday, citing "witnesses." | Naharnet


The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps said Sunday that members of its elite Quds Force are inside Syria but are not involved directly in military work, the first time a senior official has publicly admitted the involvement of Iranian military personnel in the Syrian conflict. | Washington Post

United Nations human rights investigators said on Monday that they had drawn up a new secret list of Syrians and units suspected of committing war crimes who should face criminal prosecution someday. | Al Arabiya

The foreign ministers of Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Turkey are to hold their first high-level meeting on the Syrian conflict on Monday in Cairo, Egyptian and Iranian state media reported. | Al Akhbar


Syrian regime air strikes targeted rebel-held police stations inside Aleppo city on Friday, ahead of talks between visiting peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and opposition groups in the eighteen-month conflict. | Al Arabiya

Paris will not send weapons to the Syrian opposition, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday as Turkey took measures to stop Syrian refugees and rebels coming and going freely across the border. | Al Arabiya

A United States envoy is rebuking Syria for not cooperating with a UN probe of its nuclear program because of the civil war, saying the regime's "brutal repression" of its people is no excuse for refusing to do so. | Al Akhbar


Peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi arrived in Syria on Thursday on his first official trip aimed at ending nearly eighteen months of violence as rebels advanced in Aleppo where at least eleven people were killed. | Daily Star

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri has called on all Muslims to back the rebels in Syria, saying the overthrow of President Assad would bring them closer to the ultimate goal of defeating Israel, according to an audio recording posted on the Internet on Thursday. | Al Akhbar

The Syrian military is bombing hospitals in its weeks-long campaign to crush a rebellion in Aleppo, forcing doctors to treat patients in unsuitable facilities in what human rights groups say is a war crime. | USA Today


Just a few weeks after admitting his task was "nearly impossible," special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi is due to meet both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and opposition members when he travels to the war-torn country this week. | Al Jazeera

Syrian rebels killed at least eighteen soldiers in the northwestern town of Saraqeb on Wednesday when they set off a car bomb outside a military position and then attacked it, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. | Al Arabiya

Around five hundred refugees crossed into Turkey on Tuesday evening as thousands more were stranded on the Syrian side of the border, Turkish officials told Reuters Television. | Al Arabiya


The top United Nations human rights official warned opposition fighters in Syria on Monday that they would not be immune from prosecution for atrocities, as videos from the Syrian city of Aleppo appeared to show a mass execution by rebel fighters of bound and blindfolded Syrian government soldiers. | New York Times

Syrian Brigadier General Manaf Tlas, previously one of President Bashar al-Assad’s closest aides and currently Syria’s most famous defector, said French intelligence helped him escape after deciding to leave his position in the Republican Guard. | Al Arabiya

Officials from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran will meet in Cairo on Monday to discuss the Syrian crisis, but analysts said the regional powers were unlikely to agree on any tangible steps. | Reuters


A car bomb killed 27 people and wounded 64 in a northern district of Aleppo, according to state-run media, ahead of peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi’s arrival in Syria to try to broker an elusive peace in the crisis-wracked country. | The Daily Star


Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Western and Gulf Arab powers to reassess their stance on Syria and ensure the security of its current leadership in any power transition process. | Al Akhbar

Activists say Syrian troops have recaptured a town on the border with Jordan used as a transit point by refugees fleeing the country’s civil war. | Daily Star

The Syrian Foreign Ministry denounced Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi’s statements during the Arab League’s foreign ministers meeting in Cairo on Wednesday, and said they were “flagrant interferences” in Syrian affairs. | Now Lebanon


New UN-Arab League Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi said that the death toll in Syria is "staggering" and destruction from its war "catastrophic" in his first comments to the UN General Assembly. Brahimi said he would go to Damascus "in a few days" and that a united international stance on Syria was "indispensable and very urgent." | Al Jazeera

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accused countries supplying weapons to the Syrian conflict of spreading “misery” and called for urgent international help with the country’s humanitarian crisis. | Al Arabiya

China backs a "political transition" in Syria to end worsening bloodshed after eighteen months of unrest, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said while reiteratingg Beijing's opposition to foreign intervention in the crisis. | Al Akhbar


The UN refugee agency says 100,000 refugees fled Syria in August, the highest monthly total since the uprising began. Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for UNHCR said on Tuesday that the rise in people seeking asylum in neighboring countries brings the total of Syrian refugees registered or awaiting registration with her agency to 234,368. | Al Jazeera

Red Cross chief Peter Maurer began a series of meetings in Syria on Tuesday. Maurer's mission will "focus on increased humanitarian needs and to remind the belligerents of their obligation under international law related to the protection of civilians" in particular, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) spokeswoman in Damascus Rabab Rifai said. | Al Akhbar

Syria is calling up former soldiers from the reserves to active army service in growing numbers, a sign of the strain of efforts to crush the seventeen-month-old revolt against President Assad. | Daily Star


The new UN-Arab League envoy on the Syria conflict, Lakhdar Brahimi, wants to visit Damascus in the next three weeks, his spokesman said Wednesday. Brahimi will also have a handover meeting with outgoing mediator Kofi Annan in New York next week, spokesman Ahmad Fawzi told reporters after Brahimi’s first meeting with the UN Security Council. | Al Arabiya

An emergency meeting of foreign ministers of the UN Security Council member-countries is set to discuss the deteriorating situation in Syria. The fifteen-member council, however, is deadlocked over taking strong action after Russia and China blocked three resolutions that criticized Bashar al-Assad and threatened sanctions. | Al Jazeera

The Syrian delegation at a Non-Aligned Movement summit walked out during a speech Thursday by Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi, who described the Syrian government as “oppressive,” Al Jazeera television reported. | Daily Star


The Syrian government's battle to put down the mass uprising that began last year is moving forward, and the situation has become better, President Bashar al-Assad said in a television interview to be broadcast on Wednesday. In brief excerpts aired by the privately owned but pro-government Al Dounia TV channel, Assad disparaged the idea of foreign countries creating buffer zones in Syrian territory. | Al Jazeera

The Free Syrian Army said it has surrounded Tiftinaz military airport in the northern city of Aleppo and claimed the capture of a missile-warehouse in Damascus. | Al Arabiya

Italy hosted international talks in Rome on Wednesday on the future of Syria after President Bashar al-Assad leaves power, the foreign ministry said. The ministry's press office confirmed the talks were taking place but said they were being held behind closed doors with no access for journalists. | Naharnet


The head of Russia's army said Tuesday that Moscow had no intention of ending its military presence in Syria despite the escalating violence and threat of President Bashar al-Assad's fall. “Why are you so worried about Syria?” Chief of Staff General Nikolai Makarov demanded in response to a question about reports that Russia was in the process of evacuating its Syrian naval base and pulling out senior military personnel. | Al Akhbar

Syria’s foreign minister accused the United States of being the “"major player"” encouraging anti-government rebels, but vowed the regime would not deploy chemical weapons in an interview published Tuesday. | Daily Star

Vice President Farouq al-Shara said it would be a “"mistake"” to keep Iran out of international efforts to end the Syrian crisis, al-Watan newspaper reported on Tuesday. “"Some countries’ refusal to engage with Iran on efforts to settle Syria’s crisis on the pretext that Iran is part of the problem is a clear political mistake,"” Shara said. | Naharnet


A Syrian military helicopter caught fire and crashed after it was apparently hit during fighting between government forces and rebels in Damascus, an activist group said. On Monday, state-run media confirmed the crash but gave no details. | Al Jazeera

Some 7,000 Syrian refugees have massed on the border with Turkey, waiting for more camps to be set up to accommodate those fleeing the fighting in Syria, a Turkish diplomat told Agence France Presse on Monday. | Naharnet

The British-based activist group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 32 more dead bodies were found in the streets of Daraya Sunday and that they had been killed by “gunfire and summary executions.” Among them were three women and two children, the group added, bringing the toll for the past week to at least 320. | Daily Star


Syrian forces blitzed areas in and around the northern city of Aleppo on Friday, activists said. France said it backed a partial no-fly zone over Syria, where the regime is intensifying its attacks from the air as it battles to stamp out rebel strongholds in Aleppo and pockets of resistance in the capital Damascus. | Naharnet

More than 200,000 Syrians have poured into neighboring countries during the conflict, already surpassing the projection of 185,000 set out by the U.N. refugee agency for the end of this year, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said. | Daily Star

At least 16 people, half of them women, were killed on Friday when residential buildings were bombarded by regime forces in a town of eastern Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. | Now Lebanon


Turkish and American officials held their first “operational planning” meeting aimed at bringing about the end of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's embattled regime. The meeting is expected to coordinate military, intelligence, and political responses to the crisis in Syria. | Al-Akhbar

Troops and tanks swept into the restive Sunni town of Daraya near Damascus on Thursday in an assault aimed at crushing opposition to President Bashar Assad. Artillery and helicopters attacked Daraya for 24 hours, killing fifteen people and wounding 150, before soldiers moved in and raided houses, opposition sources said. | Daily Star

Syrian activists claim that a large number of officers defected from the Assad regime and reached Jordan late Wednesday through the help of the Free Syrian Army. Among the officers are one brigadier general and four colonels, the activists told Al Arabiya, without giving an exact number for the “large number” of defectors. | Al Arabiya


The Syrian army has deployed tanks on a ring road surrounding Damascus and shelled southern neighborhoods where rebels operate. This deployment marks the heaviest bombardment of the capital since the army reasserted control last month, residents say. | Al Jazeera

Russia believes Syria has no intention of using its chemical weapons and is able to safeguard them, the Russian newspaper Kommersant reported on Wednesday, citing an unidentified Foreign Ministry official. | Al Akhbar

France is providing the Syrian opposition with “non-lethal” military aid, Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said. | Al Arabiya


U.S. President Barack Obama has warned that U.S. forces could move against Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad if he deploys chemical weapons against rebels trying to overthrow him. In some of his strongest language yet on Syria, Obama told a White House news conference on Monday that Assad faced “enormous consequences” if he crossed a “red line” of moving unconventional weapons in a threatening manner. | Al Jazeera

A Japanese reporter was killed after being caught in a gunfight in Aleppo, where fierce fighting continues to rage, according to Japan's foreign ministry. Two other journalists who were travelling with Yamamoto are reportedly missing. The death of 45-year-old Mika Yamamoto on Monday in the country's largest city takes to four the number of foreign journalists who have lost their lives since the uprising began in March 2011. | Al Jazeera

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned the West not to take unilateral action on Syria, saying that Russia and China agree that violations of international law and the United Nations charter are impermissible. | Al Arabiya


The United Nation’s troubled observer mission to Syria has officially ended after being recalled amid escalating violence as world powers fail to agree on how to end months of bloodshed in the country. The mandate of the U.N. Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) expired at midnight Sunday after a roughly four-month deployment. | Al Arabiya

Turkey cannot handle more than 100,000 Syrian refugees and instead proposes a U.N. buffer zone inside Syria to shelter them, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in remarks published Monday. | Al Arabiya


A report issued by a team of United Nations human rights investigators said that Syrian government forces and allied militias have committed war crimes, including murder and torture, in what they say appears to be state-directed policy. | Al Jazeera

Syrian rebels in the flashpoint northern city of Aleppo have warned they will strike an alliance with al-Qaeda if the West does not supply them with weapons.| Al Akhbar

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) said Thursday that it has killed 35 soldiers from President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Aleppo, and showed a video of weapons it claimed to have seized from the embattled regime in Damascus.| Al Arabiya


The Syrian government has agreed to the candidacy of Algeria's Lakhdar Brahimi as successor to Kofi Annan, who resigned as the United Nations and Arab League mediator in Syria. "No decision has been made yet, by him or by the Secretary-General" Ban Ki-moon, Annan’s spokesman said. | Naharnet

Iran has been accused by the U.S. administration of setting up pro-government militias in Syria. Leon Panetta, US defence secretary, said on Tuesday that Iran is giving the fighters training and weapons. "It is obvious that Iran has been playing a larger role in Syria in many ways," he said at a joint press conference in Washington, DC with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey. | Al Jazeera

A Free Syrian Army officer told al Arabiya that his resistance group was responsible for an attack on government headquarters in Damascus on Wednesday. But according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene, the blast had gone off inside a different parking lot belonging to a military compound near the Dama Rose Hotel, popular with the U.N. observers in Syria. | al Arabiya

The world's largest pan-Islamic bloc was poised Wednesday to suspend conflict-wracked Syria, a move strongly opposed by Iran, a staunch ally of the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. | Daily Star


Syria's former Prime Minister Riad Hijab, who fled to Jordan last week after defecting, said on Tuesday the regime was collapsing and now only controlled a third of the conflict-wracked country. “The Syrian regime only controls 30 percent of Syria's territory, ” Hijab told a news conference in Amman. | Daily Star

A group of Syrian rebels said they have captured the pilot of a warplane that the Free Syrian Army claimed to have shot down on Monday in the far east of the country. | Al Arabiya

Veteran fighters of last year’s civil war in Libya have come to the front line in Syria, helping to train and organize rebels under conditions far more dire than those in the battle against Moammar Qaddafi, a Libyan-Irish fighter told Reuters. | Al Arabiya


Syria's top representative at the UN Human Rights Council said he has defected because he no longer felt able in that position to do anything for the Syrian people on Monday. | Now Lebanon

The opposition Local Coordination Committees (LCC) announced that rebel Free Syrian Army has downed a fighter aircraft in al-Muhsin city in Deir al-Zour. Al Arabiya said activists have also published pictures of the downed MiG. | Al Arabiya

UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos announced Monday that she is to visit Syria and Lebanon amid growing concern for the “deteriorating humanitarian situation”. | Al Arabiya


Britain will give Syrian rebels a further £5 million ($7.82 million) to buy communications equipment and medical supplies to use in their fight against President Bashar al-Assad, the Foreign Office said Friday. | Al Arabiya

Rebels fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces in Aleppo promised a counter-attack on Friday after losing ground earlier and residents fled in cars crammed with belongings during a lull in fighting. | Daily Star

More than 2,500 Syrians fled to Turkey overnight amid escalating clashes in Syria, a Turkish official told Agence France Presse on Friday. The latest arrivals brought the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey to some 53,000, said the official from the country's Disaster and Emergency Administration. | Naharnet


President Bashar Assad has appointed Wael al-Halqi as Syria's new premier, state television reported on Thursday. "The president has signed Decree 298, appointing Wael al-Halqi as the new prime minister," the broadcaster reported. Health Minister Halqi was appointed to replace Riad Hijab, whose defection to the opposition was announced on Monday. | Naharnet

The chief of protocol at Syria’s presidential palace has defected from President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) claimed on Thursday. Muhi al-Din Maslamani is in a safe place in Syria, the rebel group told Al Arabiya. | Al Arabiya

The rebel Free Syrian Army withdrew completely from the embattled district of Salaheddin in the northern city of Aleppo on Thursday, a rebel commander said. “We have staged a tactical withdrawal from Salaheddin,” the commander, Wassel Ayub, told AFP by phone. “The district is completely empty of rebel fighters. Regime forces are now advancing into Salaheddin.”| Al Arabiya


The Syrian army has launched a ground assault on the northern city of Aleppo, sparking fierce clashes with opposition fighters in the frontline district of Salaheddine.| Al Jazeera

The UN Security Council will hold a ministerial meeting on the Syria conflict on August 30, diplomatic sources said Tuesday. The meeting has been called by France as president of the Security Council, sources from several countries said. | Now Lebanon

President Bashar Assad could seek to establish an enclave for his Alawite sect as a "plan B" if he cannot keep control of the whole of the war-torn country, King Abdullah of Jordan has said. Any such move could prompt decades of further problems for the region, King Abdullah told U.S. broadcaster CBS. | Daily Star

“Retired” members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and army were among the 48 Iranians taken hostage in Syria by rebels, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was quoted by the ISNA news agency as saying on Wednesday. | Al Arabiya


Some 1,137 Syrians, including a defecting general, have fled to Turkey amid the escalating violence in the strife-torn Syria, the Anatolia news agency reported Tuesday. The latest group brought the number of Syrian refugees in Turkey to nearly 50,000. | Naharnet

A group claiming to represent dissident Syrian diplomats has swung behind the revolt against President Bashar Assad, calling for a power transfer to a body “representing the Syrian people” and urging more diplomats to join its ranks. Syrian Diplomats for a Democratic and Civil State includes six or seven diplomats who have defected and others who are still in their positions. | Daily Star

Fierce fighting rocked the heart of Syria's commercial capital Aleppo early on Tuesday as troops shelled rebel-held districts in the east of the key battleground city, a human rights group said. | Naharnet


Syrian Prime Minister Riyad Hijab has defected to the opposition seeking to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad, a spokesman for Hijab said on Monday, marking one of the highest profile desertions from the Damascus government. | Reuters

Three Syrian intelligence officers have defected from the Damascus regime and sought refuge in neighboring Jordan, a spokesman for the rebel Free Syrian Army said to AFP. Colonel Yaarab al-Sharaa, his brother Mohammed Kanaan al-Sharaa and Colonel Yasser Ali Hajj, who worked in political intelligence in Damascus, have defected and are in Jordan. The government of President Bashar Assad has yet to confirm or deny the report. | Naharnet

Qatar and Saudi Arabia are giving light arms to Syria's rebels, a spokeswoman for the opposition SNC confirmed on Monday, calling for more advanced weapons to confront Bashar al-Assad's regime.| Al Akhbar


The Local Coordination Committees in Syria criticized attempts to form a transitional government in exile headed by Syrian veteran dissident Haytham al-Maleh. | Now Lebanon

Syrian rebel commander Riyadh al-Asaad denied allegations that al-Qaeda militants had infiltrated rebel groups, instead accusing the regime of collaborating with al-Qaeda to distort the image of the rebellion and drag the country into a sectarian war.| Al Akhbar

President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government, U.S. sources familiar with the matter said. | Al Arabiya


President Bashar al-Assad told his troops today that their battle against rebels would determine Syria's fate but his written message gave no clues to his whereabouts two weeks after a bomb attack hit his inner circle. | Reuters

The head of the rebel Free Syrian Army attacked the formation of a new political coalition outside Syria that plans to establish a transitional government, calling its leaders opportunists who seek to divide the opposition and benefit from the rebels’ gains.| Al Arabiya

Rebels in Syria have now set their sights on seizing intelligence branches in the country's commercial capital of Aleppo after taking three police stations there. They also executed a general the rebels said was known for taking part in the bloody repression of the Syrian revolt. | Naharnet


The Syrian chargé d’affaires in London, Khaled al-Ayoubi, has resigned, the British Foreign Office said on Monday. | Al Arabiya

Syrian helicopter gunships and artillery pounded two key areas of Aleppo, extending the army's campaign to control the country's biggest city, but rebel fighters said troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad had been forced to retreat. Heavy gunfire sounded from the Salaheddine district in the southwest of the city on Tuesday, where rebels denied they had been driven out by the army. | Al Jazeera

Government forces in Syria should be held together when President Bashar al-Assad is forced from power, the U.S. defense secretary said late Monday, warning that the mistakes of the Iraq war must not be repeated, as clashes raged between rebel fighters and government forces nationwide. | Al Arabiya

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Barack Obama discussed how they could work together to accelerate a political transition in Syria and empower local allies during a telephone call, Erdogan's office said. | Al Akhbar


Syria's rebels distributed a "national salvation draft" proposal for a political transition in the country, bringing together military and civilian figures for a post-Bashar al-Assad phase. | Al Akhbar

Government forces have succeeded in re-imposing their grip on the capital after a punishing battle, but rebels are still in control of sections of Aleppo, clashing with reinforced army troops for several days. | Daily Star

Syrian National Council chief Abdel Basset Sayda is on a visit to Iraqi Kurdistan in a bid to convince Kurdish leaders to join the opposition, an official from a Syrian Kurdish group said. | Al Akhbar

Another brigadier general has defected from Syria's army to join the ranks of opposition fighters, pushing the total number of rebel generals based in Turkey to 28. | Naharnet


Syrian opposition factions are gathering in Qatar to seek agreement on leadership for a transitional administration that could step in as a stopgap government if rebel forces topple Bashar Assad's regime. | Daily Star

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Syria of letting Turkey's Kurdish rebels operate inside the north of the country and warned that Ankara would not hesitate to strike them. | Daily Star


Syria sent thousands of troops surging towards the city of Aleppo, where government forces are trying to reclaim areas held by rebels, opposition sources say. | Al Jazeera

Saudi Arabia is proposing a United Nations General Assembly resolution which will highlight a Syrian government threat to use chemical weapons,
its U.N. envoy said Wednesday. | Naharnet

Half of the members of the United Nations observer mission in Syria have left the country, two mission members told Agence France Presse. | Naharnet

Abdelatif al-Dabbagh, Syria’s ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, has defected from the Syrian regime, joining his wife, Lamya al-Hariri who also defected from the regime. | Al Arabiya

All of Turkey's border gates with Syria are to be closed starting today, an official from the Turkish Customs and Trade Ministry told Reuters, in response to worsening security conditions. | Al Akhbar


The Free Syrian Army said that the Syrian government has moved chemical weapons to airports on its borders. | Naharnet


Turkey recalled its envoy in Aleppo, Consul Adnan Kececi, after Syrian rebel forces launched an attack on the city, clashing with Syrian loyalist troops. | Naharnet

Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned of a prolonged civil war in Syria should President Assad be removed “unconstitutionally” from power by rebel fighters. | Naharnet

Colonel Abdel Jabbar al-Oqaidi, a Free Syrian Army spokesman, told AFP that Syrian rebels have “liberated” several districts in the city of Aleppo. | Naharnet

Syrian regime forces are fighting battles with armed Syrian rebels at numerous border crossings with Iraq and Turkey. | Al Akhbar

The European Union has beefed up sanctions and tightened arms embargo
against al-Assad’s regime. | Now Lebanon

Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdessi has said that chemical weapons will never be used against the Syrian civilian population. | Al Arabiya

The United States is taking discrete measures to try and weaken the Syrian regime, including
efforts to block arms and oil shipments coming from Iran. | Naharnet


The U.S. State Department has voiced concern over violence in Syria that could spill over in the region. | Al Arabiya

Defected Syrian Ambassador to Iraq Nawaf Fares has said that “Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will use chemical weapons against opposition forces and may have already deployed them.” | Daily Star

1,280 Syrians fled from Syria to Turkey overnight, among them a Syrian brigadier-general and several other military officers. | Al Arabiya


Ban Ki-moon and Kofi Annan head to Russia today in an attempt to pressure China and Russia to back tougher sanctions against the Syrian regime. | Naharnet
The International Red Cross has declared that the Syrian conflict is now a full-scale civil war. | Al Arabiya

Morocco’s Foreign Ministry has expelled the Syrian ambassador and declared him persona non grata. | Al Arabiya
Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood has begun a two-day meeting in the outskirts of Istanbul to focus on raising popular support for the revolution. | Now Lebanon


More than 200 Syrians, mostly civilians, were massacred in a village in the province of Hama. The massacre, perpetrated by regime helicopter gunships, tanks and militiamen, is believed to be the worst single incident of violence in the 16 month-long conflict. | Reuters

Elite Republican Guard General Manaf Tlass, the highest ranking officer to have defected from the Syrian regime, is believed to have some sort of contact with the Syrian opposition, according to French Foreign Minister Mr. Laurent Fabius. Tlass is believed to be in Paris now, but without confirmation from French authorities. | Now Lebanon

China said it will “seriously” study a UN draft resolution on Syria, after Thursday’s massacre in the country. The draft resolution was presented by Britain on Wednesday, and backed by France, Germany and the U.S. | Reuters


The Syrian ambassador to Iraq, Nawaf al-Fares defected, protesting against the 16 month-long crisis in Syria and Bashar al Assad’s military crackdown on the Syrian population. Al-Fares’ defection is the first among senior Syrian diplomats. | Daily Star

Syria’s two main Kurdish opposition blocs, the Kurdish National Council and the Western Kurdistan People’s Council announced the formation of the Supreme Kurdish Council. | Now Lebanon

Western Nations renewed their demand for sanctions against the Syrian regime by proposing a new resolution to the UN’s Security Council. By July 20, the Security Council would have to pass a resolution on the state of the Syrian conflict, after the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS) ends. | Now Lebanon


Russia circulated among U.N. Security Council members early today draft resolution to extend a U.N. mission in Syria for three months so it can shift focus from monitoring a non-existent truce to securing a political solution to the conflict, as violent crackdown left more deaths across the country. | Al Arabiya

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is holding talks with Abdulbaset Sayda, head of the Syrian National Council, to discuss international efforts to find a political solution to the violence. | BBC

Russia has sent a flotilla of 11 warships led by an anti-submarine destroyer to its naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus, the state-run Interfax news agency reported citing Defense sources on Tuesday. | RTT News


U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan said he had a “constructive” meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus. “We discussed the need to end the violence and ways and means of doing so. We agreed an approach which I will share with the armed opposition,” Annan said. | Al Arabiya

Russia said it wanted to host a new meeting of foreign powers concerning the Syria crisis, but stressed that the talks should not decide the fate of President Bashar al-Assad. | Al Arabiya

Russia has sent a naval flotilla of six warships led by an anti-submarine destroyer to its naval base at the Syrian port of Tartus, the Interfax news agency reported. | Naharnet


U.N.-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan said he had a “constructive” meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus. “We discussed the need to end the violence and ways and means of doing so. We agreed an approach which I will share with the armed opposition,” Annan said. | Al Arabiya

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad accused the United States of assisting "gangs" to destabilize his country. “The United States is part of the conflict. They offer the umbrella and political support to those gangs to... destabilize Syria", Assad told German public broadcaster ARD in an interview that aired on Sunday. | Al Jazeera

Russia will not deliver fighter planes or other new arms to Syria while the situation there remains unresolved, the country's service for military co-operation said, according to a Russian news agency. | Reuters


Syrian opposition groups have agreed on a general plan for the way forward in the country at a meeting in Cairo that exposed their deep divisions. | BBC

The U.N. Chief Military Observer in Syria, Major-General Robert Mood, has said the Syrian government had indicated a clear commitment to a peace plan aimed at ending the violence there, and reiterated the commitment of the United Nations to helping the people of the country. | RTT News

The WikiLeaks website said it had begun publishing more than 2 million emails from Syrian government officials that would embarrass not only Damascus, which is trying to crush a 16-month rebellion, but also its opponents. | Reuters


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad expressed regret that Syrian forces shot down a Turkish jet last month and said he would not allow the tensions between the two countries to turn into open combat, according to an interview with a Turkish newspaper. | Al Jazeera

Turkey's state TV is reporting that a Syrian general and 85 soldiers have defected and are seeking refuge in Turkey. | NPR

Human Rights Watch released a report Tuesday saying Syria is running 27 torture centers across the country. It included tens of thousands of cases in which people had been detained by the Department of Military Intelligence, the Political Security Directorate, the General Intelligence Directorate, and the Air Force Intelligence Directorate. | Human Rights Watch


International powers have agreed that a transitional government should be set up in Syria to end the bloodshed there but left open the question of what part President Bashar al-Assad might play in the process. | Al Jazeera

A meeting for the Syrian opposition groups kicked off in Cairo today mainly to discuss a new international plan for a transitional Syrian government. They are also expected to hold talks on Tuesday with Arab ministers in a bid to agree on a shared platform.| Al Arabiya

Syria-based rebel fighters from the Free Syrian Army and activists said they would boycott the opposition meeting in Cairo, denouncing it as a "conspiracy" that served the policy goals of Damascus allies Moscow and Tehran. | Naharnet


Kofi Annan, the special Syria representative from the United Nations and the Arab League whose paralyzed peace plan is in danger of collapse, announced in a statement on Wednesday that he was convening an “action group” meeting of influential countries here on Saturday in an effort to revive the plan. Saudi Arabia and Iran will not be included in the meeting. | New York Times

The former chief of the main opposition Syrian National Council, Burhan Ghalioun visited Beirut during the past two days “on a secret visit”. Ghalioun held talks with a number of Lebanese officials away from the media spotlight. He also told Agence France Presse that he visited Syria for a few hours on Tuesday to "boost the morale" of rebels. He entered the country secretly and had "discussions with revolutionaries." | Naharnet

Turkey deployed anti-aircraft guns, rocket launchers and other weapons along its border with Syria on Thursday, a military buildup that came as world powers showed new urgency to resolve the crisis before it ignites the region. | Daily Star


Two blasts occurred in a parking lot outside the Palace of Justice, which houses the ministry, Syrian state TV said. The Local Coordination Committees of Syria confirmed the blast and said it occurred in the Marja neighbourhood of central Damascus. At least three people were injured and 20 cars were damaged, state TV said. | CNN

Russia said it backed a political transition in Syria but rejected Western pressure to call for the exit of President Bashar Assad. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow was opposed to any solution imposed from abroad. He also said it was a mistake to exclude Syria's ally Iran from Saturday's meeting of world and regional powers. | Naharnet

Syrian opposition groups will reject a political transition plan proposed by peace envoy Kofi Annan unless it explicitly requires President Bashar al-Assad to quit before a unity government is formed, a senior opposition official said. | Reuters


The Turkish government has instructed its army to intercept any potential security risk posed by Syrian security forces along its land and sea border, in response to the downing of a Turkish jet by Syria in international airspace. | Hurriyet Daily News

Human Rights Watch urged Syrian authorities to end the "indiscriminate" shootings of civilians fleeing to Jordan and other neighbouring countries. "Syrian soldiers on the border with Jordan appear to be shooting indiscriminately at anyone – including civilian women and children - trying to flee from Syria," the U.S.-based HRW said in a statement. | Now Lebanon

Hezbollah fighters are on the ground in Syria, stated Riad al-Asaad, the commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army, who also told The Daily Star that the option of establishing a buffer zone on the Syrian borders is off the table. | Daily Star


The head of the NATO military alliance called the downing of a Turkish jet by Syrian forces unacceptable following a briefing by in discussions held under Article 4 of NATO's founding treaty, which allows a NATO member to request consultations if its security has been threatened. NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the alliance condemns Syria’s actions "in the strongest terms," and expressed solidarity with Turkey, but made no mention of retaliatory action. | Al Jazeera

The United Nations is considering cutting the size of its unarmed observer force in Syria, where the escalating conflict has cast doubt on the viability of a U.N.-backed peace plan and the monitoring team meant to help implement it, U.N. envoys say. | Daily Star

United Nations Envoy Kofi Annan has proposed inviting Iran to a multinational meeting to discuss a political transition in Syria this week, but is leaving it up to the United States and Russia to decide whether Iran can participate, U.S. officials said Monday. | National Post


Syrian foreign ministry spokesman Jihad al-Makdissi insisted that a Turkish F-4 Phantom jet shot down by Syria on Friday had "violated Syrian sovereignty." "The Turkish warplane violated Syrian airspace, and in turn Syrian air defences fired back and the plane crashed inside Syrian territorial waters," he told a news conference, adding that he said would "refute the lies" of Turkish officials. | Daily Star

European Union foreign ministers agreed on new sanctions on Syria on Monday, extending a travel ban and asset freeze on six companies and one person, as the bloc's foreign policy chief expressed concern about the shooting down of a Turkish warplane by Syrian forces. | Wall Street Journal

Turkey's state-run news agency says 33 more members of the Syrian military have defected to Turkey with their families at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries over Syria's downing of a Turkish plane. The Anadolu agency said on Monday that the group, which includes a general and two colonels, crossed into Turkey overnight and that they were being hosted at a refugee camp near the border. | Al Jazeera


The Turkish army announced Friday that it lost contact with a Turkish fighter jet over the border with Syria, according to media reports. | Naharnet

Clashes in Syria on Thursday killed nearly 170 people, mainly civilians, on the deadliest day since a ceasefire came into force, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The heaviest losses were in the central region of Homs, where 31 civilians and a rebel fighter died; and in the opposition bastion of Douma, near Damascus, where 30 civilians died. | NOW Lebanon

Escalating violence in Syria is hampering U.N. efforts to expand aid operations and help more than 1 million people caught up in 15 months of turmoil, a U.N. official said. Robert Watkins, U.N. Development Program representative in neighbouring Lebanon, said the United Nations was still delivering assistance but plans to set up field offices in four of the worst-hit areas in the country were facing obstacles. | Al Arabiya


A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers. | New York Times

The United States and Britain are willing to offer Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “safe passage and even clemency” in a bid to convene a U.N. conference in Geneva to discuss the political transition in Syria, reported the Guardian. However, a senior British official said that Cameron had not made a final decision on this matter. | al Arabiya

The pilot of a Syrian MiG 21 fighter jet who defected after flying his plane to Jordan asked for political asylum upon landing, Jordanian Minister of State for Information Samih al-Maaytah said. | Al Jazeera


At least 28 Syrian soldiers have been killed in clashes with rebel fighters in the north-western Syrian province of Latakia according to a rights group. The soldiers were among 39 people killed across the country, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. | Al Arabiya

Britain's prime minister said that Russian President Vladimir Putin has made it clear at the G20 summit in Mexico he wants President Bashar al-Assad out of power in Syria, but Putin indicated that Syrians should decide if Assad stays. | Reuters

The United Nations observer mission in Syria will remain suspended until the level of violence declines enough for the monitors to be able to move around the country to carry out their activities, the commander of the operation said. | Bloomberg


U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin urged on Monday an immediate end to violence in Syria. But there was little sign they had agreed a way to end the conflict which international monitors say has now cost more than 14,400 lives. | Al Arabiya

The Free Syrian Army called on their “Kurdish brothers” to join rebels fighting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, while promising an end to injustices against Kurds in a future democratic Syria as fighting erupted between Syrian forces and the armed opposition. | Al Arabiya

A British marine insurer said that it had cancelled cover for a Russian ship because of allegations that the vessel was carrying attack helicopters destined for Syria. | Naharnet


Russia is preparing to send two amphibious assault ships to the Syrian port of Tartus where Moscow operates a strategic naval base to ensure safety of its nationals, the Interfax news agency reported. | Naharnet

U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to press Russian President Vladimir Putin over Russia’s role in the Syrian crisis when they meet at a Group of 20 summit in Mexico. In the past week, U.S. and Russian diplomats have displayed frayed relations over Syria, where suspension of the United Nations monitoring mission over the weekend has put added pressure on Obama and Putin. | Al Arabiya

Syrian forces pounded Homs as they pressed their campaign against rebel strongholds in the city, while 34 people were killed across the strife-torn country, a watchdog organization said. Today's casualties come a day after 67 people were killed nationwide, including 15 in Homs province, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. "Shelling and shooting renewed in Homs city, with explosions heard in the Khaldiyeh neighbourhood," the Britain-based monitoring group said. | Naharnet


France's foreign minister said today that talks were under way with Russia on Syria's future if President Bashar Assad is ousted, and that Paris may supply communication equipment to Syrian rebels. | Naharnet

Some rebels and opposition figures inside and outside Syria say there has been an upsurge in recent weeks of heavier weaponry being smuggled into Syria via Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq from suppliers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar. | Reuters

Russia said today that it is not making any new deliveries of attack helicopters to Syria and confirmed there were “previous planned repairs of (helicopters), which were delivered to Syria many years ago.” | Al Arabiya


UN monitors entered Haffa, in western Syria, days after violent clashes forced them away from the town. Earlier this week, Kofi Annan, the UN's peace envoy to Syria, said there were indications that a large number of civilians were trapped in Haffa. | BBC

Russia and Iran, Syria’s staunchest allies, castigated the United States on Wednesday for its support of opposition forces, with Iran accusing the West of sending weapons and troops into Syria. | New York Times

Amnesty International claimed it had gathered fresh evidence that the Syrian regime is exacting revenge against communities suspected of supporting opposition groups. Their evidence allegedly points to a “pattern of grave abuses” in which victims, including children, had been dragged from their homes and shot dead by soldiers, who in some cases then set the remains on fire. | Al Arabiya


Herve Ladsous, the head of the United Nations' peacekeeping operations, has said that the situation in Syria now amounts to a full-scale civil war as witnesses on the ground described fresh shelling on Homs and heavy fighting in other cities. | Al Jazeera

While Syrian government helicopters and tanks are pounding the western town of al-Haffa and the surrounding villages, ground troops have been rounding up young men and looting houses, according to Syrian rebels who have fled to Turkey. | Al Arabiya

The Obama administration said Tuesday that Russia is sending attack helicopters to Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime and warned that the Arab country's 15-month conflict could become even deadlier. | Los Angeles Times


Syrian government forces and militia loyal to the Assad regime are killing and sexually abusing children and using them as human shields, the UN says, amid fears that the conflict is intensifying. | Guardian

The UN has warned that violence in Syria is getting worse as the military steps up assaults on civilian centres and the opposition increasingly turns to coordinated attacks on government forces. "The secretary-general expresses his deep concern at the dangerous intensification of armed violence across Syria over the past several days, and the grave danger facing civilians in areas under fire," Ban Ki-moon's office said. "The bloodshed and fighting must stop at once." | Al Jazeera

More deaths have been reported in Syria while United Nations leader Ban Ki-moon demanded U.N. access to the Syrian city of al-Haffa, as regime helicopters fired on rebel stronghold towns, leaving more than 100 people dead. As many as 13 people have been killed by the Syrian government forces, mostly in Deir Ezzor. | al Arabiya


The Syrian National Council elected Kurdish activist Abdul Baset Sieda as its new leader. The election of Sieda, who is originally from Hasaka, Syria, but now lives in exile in Sweden, is widely viewed as an attempt to unite its various factions. | Ya Libnan

The new leader of the Syrian National Council Abdul Baset Sieda has called on all members of the Damascus government to defect amid raging violence that has claimed thousands of lives. "We call upon all officials in the regime and in the institutions to defect from the regime.” | Al Jazeera

Severe clashes were reported at the Damascus neighbourhood of al-Abbaseen overnight between the Syrian government forces and the Free Syrian Army.
As many as 21 people have been killed in Deir Ezzor, Idlib, Hama and Homs today. | Al Arabiya


A senior U.S. State Department official, Fred Hof, held talks on Friday with Russian Deputy Foreign Ministers Gennady Gatilov and Mikhail Bogdanov, the Foreign Ministry said. Hof made no comment to reporters outside the ministry building. U.S. officials have suggested Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent Hof to Moscow as part of an effort secure a transition strategy that the United States says must include Assad's full transfer of power. | Reuters

China condemned today the ongoing violence in Syria, while throughout the embattled country, warplanes flew overhead and the sounds of explosions and gunfire echoed as protesters gathered for another round of demonstrations. | CNN


Opposition activists in Syria say that pro-government armed groups backed by security forces have killed scores of people in a village in Hama province. Both the Syria's Local Co-ordination Committees an activist network and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) put the number of dead in the attack on the village of al-Qubair at more than 86. Syria's government denied any role in the killings. | Al Jazeera

The Syrian army prevented a team of United Nations monitors from entering the village of al-Qubair, a central province of Hama, following reports of the killings of at least 55 villagers by militants loyal to President Bashar al-Assad. | Al Arabiya

Against the backdrop of a new massacre in Syria, international envoy Kofi Annan will propose tasking a group of world powers and key regional players including Iran to come up with a strategy to end the 15-month conflict. | Daily Star


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has named former agriculture minister Riyad Hijab as prime minister to form a new government, state television has reported. Today's appointment comes after a new parliament was voted in on May 7 in elections boycotted by opposition groups. | Al Jazeera

Intensive clashes were taking place between the Syrian government troops and rebels in al-Abbasiyeen area in Damascus and sounds of explosions, shelling and gunshots were heard, as Russia signalled it is prepared to see Syrian President Bashar al-Assad leave power as part of a political settlement. | Al Arabiya

Syrian forces killed a Lebanese man and wounded at least two others in a gunfight on the Lebanese-Syrian border. They said the fighting broke out after Syrian security forces intercepted a group of arms smugglers crossing into Syria near the eastern Lebanese town of Arsal in the Bekaa Valley. | Ya Libnan


Syria’s government declared that the ambassadors and staff of several Western countries as well as Turkey are personae non gratae. “Some states recently informed heads of our diplomatic missions and embassy staff that they are unwelcome,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, adding Syria was now designating the ambassadors of the United States, Britain, France and Turkey, among others, as personae non gratae. | Al Arabiya

A Chinese official has said that Beijing and Moscow have been playing a "positive role" on Syria and reiterated the countries' opposition to foreign intervention in the conflict, as Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived for a three-day visit. | Al Jazeera

Kofi Annan hinted that his peace plan for Syria is going nowhere, but divided world powers have yet to agree on other ideas for halting the carnage or coaxing President Bashar al-Assad into talks on his political demise. | Ya Libnan


President Bashar al-Assad has said Syria is engaged in a "real war" with outside forces and defended political reforms implemented by his government in an address to the parliament in Damascus. Speaking for the first time since last month’s parliamentary elections, Assad said that he would not be lenient on those he blamed for violence in the country. | Al Jazeera

Syria will top the agenda in the first summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and the EU since he returned to the Kremlin last month, as violent crackdown in Syria, Moscow’s closest ally, leaves more deaths and injuries. U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, meanwhile, has demanded a “serious review” of deadlocked efforts to end the Syria bloodshed. | Al Arabiya

UN chief Ban Ki-moon called for broad international talks on the rising Syrian crisis, urging Security Council members to consider Arab League demands for stronger UN action in the strife-torn country. “‘Our priority at this time is to help the Syrian people… I want to welcome a wider international discussion on the future course of actions,’ ” Ban said after a meeting with Organisation of Islamic Cooperation chief, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, in the Saudi port city of Jeddah. | Ya Libnan

MAY 31

Riad al-Assad, the commander of Syria’s main armed rebel group, the Free Syrian Army, urged international envoy Kofi Annan to formally announce that his seven-week-old ceasefire plan had failed, a move which would allow rebels to resume attacks on President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. Riad al-Asaad also dismissed a 48-hour deadline for Assad to comply with the plan which was declared on Wednesday by a senior Free Syrian Army officer. | Al Arabiya

Syrian opposition fighters issued the government a Friday afternoon deadline to cease-fire, pull out troops from residential areas, and allow humanitarian aid. The Free Syrian Army did not say what will happen if the government fails to comply. “Our national, moral and humanitarian duty make it necessary for us to defend and protect our civilians and their cities, towns, blood and dignity,” the group said in a statement. | Ya Libnan

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon warned of a "catastrophic civil war" in Syria after the massacre of more than 100 civilians in the town of Houla that sparked global horror and outrage. "The massacres of the sort seen last weekend could plunge Syria into a catastrophic civil war, a civil war from which the country would never recover," Ban said. | Naharnet News

MAY 30

The head of UN observers in Syria, Major-General Robert Mood, said 13 bodies had been discovered in the east of the country, with their hands tied behind their backs and signs that some had been shot in the head from close range. The bodies were discovered in the area of Assukar, 50km east of Deir al-Zor. "General Mood is deeply disturbed by this appalling and inexcusable act". | Al Jazeera

Russia and China signaled their opposition to any military intervention in Syria as Turkey and Japan joined the list of western countries that expelled the Syrian envoys in protest of al-Houla massacre.
 Russia said that the U.N. Security Council should not consider new measures to resolve the crisis in Syria at this point and signaled it would block any effort to authorize military intervention as China reiterated its opposition to either military intervention or regime change in Syria. | Al Arabiya

Syria ordered the Dutch charge d'affaires to leave the country, the foreign ministry said, in an apparent reaction to the expulsion of Syrian diplomats by a slew of Western countries. "Syria is expelling the charge d'affaires of the Netherlands and gives her 72 hours to leave the country.” | Naharnet News

MAY 29

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with peace envoy Kofi Annan, following a massacre which Syria’s government blamed on Islamist militants, while the global body suggested government forces played a role. Annan is attempting to salvage a six-week-old peace plan that has U.N. and Arab League backing, but which has barely slowed the bloodshed in a 14-month-old uprising against Assad that began with mass protests and now has an armed insurgency. | Al Arabiya

Australia, Britain, France, Germany and the United States, have expelled the ambassadors of Syria in protest at the massacre of more than 100 people, including scores of children, in Houla near Hama last weekend. | Guardian

Syria’s opposition has been planning to secure the regime’s chemical weapons stock as soon as President Bashar Assad falls. | Daily Star

MAY 24

The newly elected Syrian parliament is set to gather for the first time in Damascus. The new 250-member body, including 30 women, is the first in which candidates not linked to Assad's Baath Party were allowed to run for office. | Al Jazeera

The head of Syria’s main opposition bloc, Burhan Ghalioun, formally resigned from his post, a statement issued by the Syrian National Council said, setting the stage for a showdown between the powerful Muslim Brotherhood and its political rivals over who will be the new leader.
 | Al Arabiya

The Syrian army and security forces have been responsible for the majority of the serious rights abuses committed as they hunt down defectors and opponents, U.N.-appointed investigators said. | Naharnet News

MAY 23

At least 11 Lebanese men and their Syrian driver have been kidnapped in the Aleppo province of Syria while heading back home by bus from a pilgrimage in Iran. Syrian media said an "armed terrorist gang" was responsible. | Al Jazeera

The head of the higher military council of the Free Syrian army Brigadier General Mustafa Sheikh said that his group has nothing to with the abduction of the Lebanese Shiites in Syria, emphasizing that he found out about this through communication with mediators from Lebanon who asked him to mediate in the release of the hostages. | Ya Libnan

Regime forces pounded rebel bastion Rastan, in central Syria, at an average rate of “one shell a minute.” Amid reports that the U.N. has brokered an exchange between forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and opposition fighters,as many as 25 people were reported to have been killed by the gunfire of Syrian forces on Tuesday. | Al Arabiya

MAY 22

Five people were killed when an explosive device detonated in the Damascus neighborhood of Qaboun. Qaboun, in northern Damascus, has been a center of opposition protests demanding the end of President Bashar al-Assad’s rule. It has seen fighting between Assad loyalists and rebels. | Al Arabiya

The brother-in-law of Syrian President Bashir al-Assad, who also is the troubled nation’s former intelligence chief, is dead after an apparent assassination attack in Damascus.
The Free Syrian Army, an armed opposition group that has been fighting Assad’s military for months, said it had killed six senior members of Assad’s cabinet, but the Assad regime denied those claims. | Ya Libnan

Syrian security forces carried out a spate of raids in Damascus after a deadly bombing hit the capital and U.N. chief Ban Ki-Moon warned the search for peace was at a "pivotal moment." State television said the blast hit a restaurant in the Qaboun neighborhood of the capital. | Daily Star

MAY 18

Protesters took the streets for the biggest demonstration in the city Aleppo since the start of the uprising in March 2011. Anti-regime activists had earlier called for Friday protests under the slogan, “Heroes of Aleppo University”, in solidarity with students who demonstrated despite brutal repression against the university. | Al Arabiya

U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon said Thursday he believes al-Qaida committed a major bomb attack in Damascus that left dozens dead, and that up to 10,000 people have now been killed in Syria. | Naharnet

Kofi Annan, the special UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, plans to return to Damascus "soon" to further efforts to find a peaceful solution to the crisis, his spokesperson said. | Now Lebanon

MAY 17

The head of Syria’s opposition bloc the Syrian National Council, Burhan Ghalioun, has announced that he is stepping down as leader after mounting criticism of his leadership. | Al Arabiya

Countries that "sow chaos" in Syria could suffer from it themselves, President Bashar al-Assad has said in an interview on Wednesday shown on Russian television. “It's becoming clear that this is not 'Spring' but chaos”, he said, adding that the main opposition bloc, the Syrian National Council, did not have "any kind of weight or significance within Syria", and that a majority of the people supported the government. | Al Jazeera

Regime forces sent shells crashing into rebel stronghold Rastan early Thursday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, while calling on U.N. observers to rush to the town in central Homs province. "The army is trying to gradually destroy Rastan," Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based watchdog, told AFP. | Naharnet

MAY 15

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Damascus have been negotiating on a plan for the distribution of aid throughout Syria, but U.N. envoys said the government and OCHA are deadlocked on the issue of who will be in charge. | Al Arabiya

The jihadist Al Nusra Front has denied a claim that it was responsible for dual suicide bombings that killed 55 and wounded hundreds in the Syrian capital last week. | CNN

Announcing the results of the May 7 vote that was boycotted by opposition groups, Khalaf al-Azzawi, head of the electoral commission, said that voter turnout in legislative elections in Syria stood at 51.26 percent, adding that 30 women had been elected to the 250-seat parliament. | Daily Star

Burhan Ghalioun was elected for a second three-month term as head of the exiled opposition coalition, the Syrian National Council (SNC). | Al Arabiya

MAY 14

Fierce clashes between Syrian government forces and opposition fighters have left at least 23 soldiers killed in the central Syrian city of Rastan, activists say. Dozens more were wounded in Monday's violence, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Opposition sources also said the army had shelled the town, which they say has been under rebel control since January. | Al Jazeera

Syria's leading opposition group will not take part in talks sponsored by the Arab League aimed at fixing deep divisions within its ranks, a member of the group's executive council said. | Daily Star

EU foreign ministers slapped a 15th round of sanctions against President Bashar Assad due to the "appalling violence" in Syria and discussed further support for Kofi Annan's peace plan. The new European Union sanctions, to take effect Tuesday, would impose a travel ban and freeze the assets of 129 people and 43 firms or utilities for backing the regime's 14-month campaign of relentless repression. | Naharnet

MAY 11

The European Union is set to slap new sanctions on Syria, imposing an assets freeze and visa ban on two firms and three people, EU diplomats said. | Daily Star

Thursday’s deadly Damascus draws broad criticism: opposition leader Burhan Ghalioun has said that Syria's government wants to destroy the UN-brokered peace plan aimed at ending violence in the country, and the U.N. Security Council strongly condemned the “terrorist attacks” while Syria’s foreign ministry said that the twin bombing in Damascus was a sign the country is facing foreign-backed terrorism. | Al Jazeera; Al Arabiya

Syrians took to the streets in protest Friday, while new attacks hit some areas Friday, killing at least five people, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, an opposition group. | CNN

MAY 10

Two powerful blasts in quick succession have killed dozens of people and injured more than 300 others in the Syrian capital Damascus, according to Syrian officials and state media. One of Thursday's rush hour explosions hit the Qazaz neighbourhood that houses a well-known military intelligence headquarters involved in President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on the uprising. The interior ministry said at least 55 people were killed and 372 wounded in the blasts. | Al Jazeera

Bomb attacks like the one near a U.N. convoy in Syria on Wednesday cast doubt on the future of the ceasefire monitoring mission in the country, U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon said. “Such incidents, in addition to the continued violence reported in many cities in Syria, call into question the commitment of the parties to the cessation of violence and may have a direct impact on the future of the (U.N.) mission,” Ban said in a statement released by U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky. | Al Arabiya


An explosion has hit a Syrian military truck escorting a convoy of UN observers near the city of Deraa, just seconds after UN staff had passed by. The head of the UN team, Maj Gen Robert Mood, was in the convoy, but neither he nor any of the other monitors was hurt. Eyewitnesses said at least three Syrian soldiers were wounded. | BBC News

Syria is facing a halt in imports of diesel needed to power heavy vehicles including army tanks, as a stream of shipments from Russia and other sources has dried up over the past four weeks, industry sources say. Syria is also importing significant volumes of grain via Lebanon to work around western sanctions and secure vital supplies. | Khaleej Times; Daily Star

Weapons are being smuggled in both directions between Lebanon and Syria, the United Nations has said. | Al Jazeera


Syria said counting was under way Tuesday after parliamentary elections that the opposition boycotted and the United States described as bordering on ludicrous. | Washington Post

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is appealing for an extra $27m to fund its operation in Syria until the end of this year. The ICRC, the only international aid agency working inside Syria, says hundreds of thousands of people remain in need. | BBC

Fighting has been so intense in parts of Syria that at times the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad has qualified as a localized civil war, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross Jakob Kellenberger said on Tuesday. | Reuters


Syrians voted in the first parliamentary elections under a new constitution that paved the way for a multiparty system in the country. Violence rocked the east of the country ahead of the vote, underlining the challenge of holding a credible poll while bloodshed continues, complicating the task of UN observers monitoring a ceasefire declared on April 12. | Al Jazeera

Opposition figures boycotted the vote, saying Syria's revised constitution, which allowed new political parties to be set up this year, has changed nothing. | Reuters

Syrians authorities and the opposition traded accusations Sunday over who was behind blasts that rocked Damascus and Aleppo on the eve of parliamentary polls designed to boost the regime's legitimacy. | al Ahram


Syrian security forces killed at least 10 people nationwide despite the existence of a U.N. peace monitoring team and U.S. warnings that additional measures against the regime in Damascus would be considered if a ceasefire deal is not honoured. A man was shot dead by security forces at the Balooni Prison, prompting a protest in the area against the regime. | Al Arabiya

Syrian forces are executing scores of suspected opposition sympathisers in the northern city of Idlib, often burning their bodies in piles or torching them in their homes then sending family members to find them, witnesses say. Idblib residents who spoke to an Amnesty International official in April painted a dire portrait of a city at the mercy of regime troops and irregular loyalists who routinely sweep homes seeking dissenters to kill. | Ya Libnan

A peace plan for Syria brokered by international mediator Kofi Annan is on track despite reports of violations of the ceasefire, Annan's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said on Friday. | Daily Star


Security forces have stormed student dormitories at a university in the city of Aleppo following anti-government protests there, killing at least four students and wounding several others. Thaer al-Ahmed, a local activist, said that security forces and armed pro-government men fired tear gas and live ammunition to disperse the students at Aleppo University after entering the students' residences. | Al Jazeera

As Syrian President Bashar Assad was negotiating recently with a United Nations envoy to end more than a year of violence in the country, his forces were committing war crimes in the northwest province of Idlib, a Human Rights Watch report charged Wednesday. The group called on the U.N. Security Council to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court to ensure accountability for the crimes it says it documented. | Los Angeles Times

The U.N. admitted a shaky three-week-old truce in Syria is not holding but said the number of observers would be doubled within days. Despite the bloodshed, the head of a U.N. military observer mission said his team was having a positive effect, although the ceasefire w as not holding. | al Arabiya


Syrian security forces have kept heavy weapons in cities in breach of a UN-brokered cessation of hostilities, yet the government and opposition both have committed truce violations. The 24 unarmed military observers now in Syria have seen Howitzer guns, armoured personnel carriers, and other weaponry in cities. | Al Jazeera

Five people were killed by Syrian forces on Wednesday and as many as 15 Syrian regime troops, including a high-ranking officer, were killed in an ambush in the city of Aleppo.
Syrian government forces shot at overnight demonstrations in al-Tadamun neighborhood in Damascus for the second successive day. | Al Arabiya

U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday gave the U.S. Treasury authority to stop Syria and Iran wriggling out of sanctions by going after foreign firms, banks, or individuals that ease their isolation. The move, contained in an executive order, will allow the Treasury to publicly identify those engaging in "evasive and deceptive activities" and bar them from access to U.S. financial and economic sectors, officials said. | AFP


A senior officer in the rebel Free Syrian Army denied in remarks published Tuesday any links to the weapons-carrying vessel seized by the Lebanese Navy on Friday. | Daily Star

Violence erupted in two Syrian provinces on Tuesday, as U.N. monitoes sought to shore up a shaky ceasefire. A rights group reports 10 civilians are dead in an army mortar attack and 12 soldiers were killed in a fire-fight with rebel gunmen. | Reuters

Condemning bombings that killed more than 20 people on Monday, most of them security force personnel, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it was vital that government and opposition alike cooperate fully with the UN mission charged with overseeing a tenuous ceasefire that went into force on April 12. | Asharq Alawsat


The Syrian government is "in contravention" of an internationally agreed peace plan by keeping troops and heavy weapons in cities, said Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general. He also said he was "gravely alarmed" by reports of shelling of populated areas in Syria, in a statement released after a deadly explosion on Thursday in the flashpoint city of Hama. | Al Jazeera

A loud explosion was heard in the Syrian capital Damascus, residents said, as anti-regime protests were expected across the country despite a week of violence that has killed dozens of people and severely tested a U.N.-backed peace-accord.
Revolutionary Command Council reported that the blast took place in an industrial area near the Old City. | Al Arabiya

Fifteen more ceasefire monitors of a total advance team of 30 are expected to be in Syria by Monday and every effort is being made to deploy the full mission of up to 300 observers, the spokesman for international mediator Kofi Annan said. | Daily Star


An explosion has destroyed a building in Syria's central city of Hama, reportedly killing up to 69 people, many of them children. The opposition Local Co-ordination Committees (LCC) said security forces fired a rocket at the building in the Mashaa Attayar area. The explosion was caused by anti-government bomb-makers who had mishandled explosives. | Al Jazeera

The opposition Syrian National Council called for an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting as it accused regime forces of killing more than 100 people in the central city of Hama in recent days. | Al Arabiya

Russia and Iran are helping Syria import fuel, which it needs for heavy vehicles including army tanks, allowing Damascus to avoid the full impact of tightening Western sanctions imposed over its violent suppression of dissent. | Reuters


Syria’s remaining cash reserves are quickly dwindling as the country’s anti-government uprising marks its thirteenth month, according to intelligence officials and financial analysts who describe a steady hollowing-out of the country’s economy in the face of sanctions. | Washington Post

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said four people were killed on a bus raked with gunfire by security forces at a checkpoint near Khan Sheikhun, a town in the restive northwestern province of Idlib. Additionally, the Britain-based watchdog said two civilians were killed by regime forces in the Harasta suburb of Damascus, while another was killed by sniper fire in Douma, a northeastern suburb of the capital. | Naharnet

Syria has refused at least one U.N. military observer because of his nationality and has made clear it will not allow in U.N. staff from any country in the “Friends of the Syrian People” group, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations said on Tuesday, as international envoy Kofi Annan called for the rapid deployment of 300 ceasefire monitors in the country. | Al Arabiya


Syrian troops have killed dozens of civilians in the city of Hama, activists have said, as UN military observers toured protest centres near the capital Damascus, and both Brussels and Washington imposed new sanctions. Government forces attacked the Arbeen neighbourhood of the western city and its surrounding areas on Monday with light and heavy machine guns, killing 28 civilians, said the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. | Al Jazeera

The Syrian government did not abide by its commitment towards the six-point plan of the U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Abdullah al-Muallemy, said. Addressing a Security Council session, the Saudi envoy said that Assad’s regime continues in the killing and suppression of the Syrian people.
| Al Arabiya

After more than six months of fighting, Syria’s largest rebel group appears to have developed into a resilient guerrilla force, unable perhaps to hold large swaths of territory for very long but still capable of inflicting heavy casualties on the Syrian military and operating fluidly within supportive populations. | Ya Libnan


Syrian forces shelled several neighborhoods in Homs as it continued to violate the shaky ceasefire. The government forces launched a wide scale attack on al-Bukamal neighborhood today, killing four people. | Al Arabiya

Syrian troops backed by tanks have stormed a Damascus suburb, activists said, as an advance team of UN ceasefire observers continue their tour of flashpoint areas to lay the groundwork for an expanded monitoring mission. Activists said that explosions shook the town of Douma early on Sunday as soldiers launched an operation there to crush an armed rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad. | Al Jazeera

The European Union agreed to slap new sanctions on the Syrian regime, banning luxury goods exports and further restricting the sale of items used to repress dissidents. | Daily Star


The US has called on the UN Security Council to adopt an arms embargo and other tough measures against Syria to try to halt 13 months of bloodshed. Addressing the so-called Friends of Syria group in Paris on Thursday, Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, stopped short of calling for outside military intervention, but said it was time to impose more consequential measures on President Bashar al-Assad if his country failed to abide by a peace plan drafted by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.  | Al Jazeera

Civilians have gotten caught up in a chilling kidnapping racket in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province. As the uprising against President Bashar Assad becomes increasingly sectarian, Sunnis and Shiites here are rushing to collect hostages as bargaining chips. | Ya Libnan

Syrian troops shelled a rebel-held neighborhood and sent reinforcements to border areas as the opposition called for fresh protests today after the United Nations accused Syrian President Bashar Assad of failing to honor a peace plan that went into effect a week ago. | Daily Star


Highly classified documents from a covert Syrian government unit have exposed attempts by the regime to contain the unrest sweeping the country since March 2011, leaked reports obtained by Al Arabiya reveal this week. One month into the anti-government protests across Syria, a “Crisis Cell,” was formed by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to monitor events and decide to tackle the unrest with military-led solutions. | Al Arabiya

NATO allies sought to deepen cooperation with Russia despite lingering disagreements on a US-led missile shield for Europe and Western pressure on the Moscow-backed regime in Syria. As violence continued in Syria despite the deployment of UN truce observers, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her 27 NATO counterparts began talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Brussels. | NOW Lebanon

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon has called for an expanded U.N. ceasefire observation mission in Syria even though he says Damascus has failed to adhere to an agreed peace plan. The U.N. leader said Wednesday he wants 300 unarmed observers to be sent on a three-month mission, in a report to the U.N. Security Council that also said it was "critical" for President Bashar Assad to carry out his commitments. | Naharnet News


The Arab League ministerial committee on Syria has backed the six-point plan devised by international envoy Kofi Annan and called on Damascus to stick to it. "We fully support Mr Annan and his six-point plan, but sadly, the killing still goes on," Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, Qatar's prime minister. | Al Jazeera

U.N. observers have acknowledged that they face a tough task to firm up a ceasefire in Syria, as scores of people were killed in the latest violence on the sixth day of a tenuous truce. As many as 70 people have been killed by the Syrian forces, 40 of which were in the besieged Idlib, a northwestern province close to the Turkish border, Al Arabiya reported citing Syrian activists at the Local Coordination Committees. | Al Arabiya

China said Syria's foreign minister had pledged to respect U.N. envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan and cooperate with a U.N. team sent to monitor a fragile ceasefire in the restive state. "Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem... said Syria would continue to... respect and implement Annan's 'six-point proposal'," China's foreign ministry quoted Muallem as telling his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi in Beijing. | Naharnet News


UN and Arab League envoy Kofi Annan will travel to Doha, Qatar, to take part in an Arab League meeting to discuss the latest developments in Syria, as the U.S. said it is discussing next steps with other powers if the ceasefire in Syria collapses. The Syrian National Council (SNC), meanwhile, condemned the continuing violence across Syria and said in a statement that it is a clear violation to the ceasefire. | Al Arabiya

Russia called the ceasefire in Syria "fragile" and urged countries to put more pressure on the armed opposition to cooperate with UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan. | NOW Lebanon

Security forces are locked in fierce battles with opposition fighters in one Syrian city and have been shelling another, activists say. Monday's reports came as a handful of UN monitors entrusted with overseeing a ceasefire were due to begin work.
President Bashar al-Assad's forces killed two civilians in the central city of Hama, and were fighting rebels in Idlib in the northwest, while also shelling the flashpoint city of Homs, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), said. | Al Jazeera


Six United Nations observers arrived in the capital of Syria on Sunday night to begin monitoring a ceasefire even as violence continued in parts of the country, further fraying the peace plan. | Los Angeles Times

Government forces on Sunday subjected the al-Khalidiya and Bayada neighbourhoods of Homs to fierce bombardment, despite the fact that both the government and opposition had agreed to a ceasefire that came into effect at dawn on Thursday. | Al Jazeera

More than 11,100 people have been killed in thirteen months of unrest in Syria, including 55 since a UN-backed ceasefire took effect four days ago, a monitoring group said on Monday. The death toll includes 7,972 civilians and 3,145 military and gunmen, including fewer than 600 rebel fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. | Gulf News


Thousands of Syrians were reported to have taken to the streets after the noon prayer in countless mosques on Friday, offering the biggest test of the country’s fragile cease-fire. The response of the government security forces was apparently uneven and difficult to gauge in a country where news coverage is closely controlled by the authorities. So far, the authorities have not fulfilled a provision in the cease-fire plan negotiated by the special envoy Kofi Annan for journalists to be allowed to circulate freely. | New York Times

A draft UN Security Council resolution has outlined plans to send monitors to Syria to oversee compliance with a UN and Arab League-backed peace plan. The draft, prepared by the United States, is expected to be voted on by the Security Council on Friday, with a monitoring team arriving by early next week. | BBC

Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad fought rebels near the border with Turkey on Friday, threatening a ceasefire brokered by United Nations peace envoy Kofi Annan. | Reuters


Syrian troops held their fire in the hours after a U.N.-backed ceasefire took effect at dawn on Thursday, casting a silence over rebellious towns they had bombarded heavily in recent days. But the lull did little to convince opposition activists and Western powers of President Bashar al-Assad's good faith in observing a peace plan agreed with international envoy Kofi Annan. | Reuters

In a sign of a continued clampdown, activists said troops and tanks were seen patrolling restive areas Thursday in violation of the truce plan by U.N.-Arab league envoy Kofi Annan, who demanded that Syrian forces return to their barracks. | NPR

Syrian state TV reported what it described as a roadside bomb in Aleppo which killed one military officer and wounded 24, said to be officers and cadets. It said "terrorists" were escalating attacks to destabilise the country and sabotage the Annan plan. | BBC


Kofi Annan, the joint United Nations-Arab League envoy on Syria, has welcomed Iranian support for his efforts to secure peace in the country, telling Tehran that it can be "part of the solution". Annan was speaking in Tehran today following talks with Ali Akbar Salehi, the Iranian foreign minister. | Al Jazeera

Turkey has urged the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to endorse a resolution that would include taking necessary measures to protect Syrian people as a U.N.-Arab League brokered peace plan failed to end violence in that Arab country. | RTT

Syrian troops pummelled opposition neighbourhoods in the city of Homs with heavy mortar, hours after President Bashar al-Assad assured the United Nations he will respect a ceasefire with rebels due to take effect in less than 24 hours. | Daily Star


Walid Moallem, the Syrian foreign minister, told reporters in Moscow that the government had, in fact, pulled back from some unspecified areas. But, apparently highlighting new preconditions for a ceasefire, he said that a complete end to violence had to be accompanied by the arrival of international observers and that Syria wanted a say in who those observers were. Muallem said Syria has withdrawn military units from some provinces in response to a U.N.-brokered ceasefire deadline which came took effect today.” | New York Times; Al Arabiya

Syria faced a deadline today to withdraw its forces from urban areas to comply with a U.N.-brokered ceasefire, but regime troops were accused of massacres in the early hours which rounded off a previous day of shelling villages and firing across frontiers. Violence across the country on Monday left at least 160 people dead, according to the Syrian Revolution General Commission. | Al Arabiya

Turkey is considering options including a buffer zone as it prepares for a possible influx of Syrian refugees who have already almost doubled in number in less than a month, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. | Bloomberg


The United Nations-backed peace plan to end violence in Syria appeared to unravel Sunday as the Syrian government announced it will not withdraw its forces from cities and towns without written guarantees from opposition groups that they will halt attacks and lay down their arms. Rebels in Syria rejected the last-minute demand by the government, made just 48 hours ahead of a proposed ceasefire which now looks set to fail. | Los Angeles Times; BBC

The United Nations Security Council issued a statement requesting that the Syrian Gunfire from the Syrian side of the border has hit a refugee camp inside Turkey, wounding at least three people. Two Syrian refugees and one Turkish translator were wounded in Monday's incident when the Kilis border refugee camp in Gaziantep province came under fire from the Syrian side of the border, a Turkish foreign ministry official said. | Al Jazeera

Human Rights Watch says Syrian forces have summarily executed more than 100 people, most of them civilians. The executions took place over the past four months, with most in March. | USA Today


At least 24 Syrians were killed in violence on Friday, opposition activists said, only four days before a troop pullback agreed to by President Bashar al-Assad as part of a peace plan proposed by mediator Kofi Annan. | Reuters

The United Nations Security Council issued a statement requesting that the Syrian government comply with the plan, particularly its April 10 deadline for a military pullback from major cities. The statement reflects the deep doubts of many nations that President Bashar al-Assad intends to keep his word. | New York Times

The Syrian Kurdish opposition bloc has walked away from the Syrian National Council, exposing deep and problematic rifts within the umbrella opposition group just days after international leaders granted the body extra recognition after attempts to unify. | Daily Star


A team from the United Nations peacekeeping department is expected in Damascus within 48 hours to discuss deployment of observers to monitor a ceasefire in Syria, the spokesman for international mediator Kofi Annan has said. | Al Jazeera

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned Western and Arab nations on Wednesday against arming Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s foes, saying that Syria’s opposition will never defeat Assad’s army even if it is “armed to the teeth.” Lavrov said that the “Friends of Syria” group of Western and Arab nations is undermining international envoy Kofi Annan’s efforts to end the bloodshed in Syria. | Al Arabiya

Syria’s political opposition accused President Bashar al-Assad of escalating military assaults on four major urban centers on Tuesday. Such assaults would directly contradict the Syrian government’s promise, announced on Monday, that it would immediately begin pulling armed forces back from population centers, in accordance with a special envoy’s cease-fire plan. | New York Times


Syria's President Bashar al-Assad has agreed to start implementing a peace plan by April 10, but UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan told the UN Security Council that there has been no progress yet in halting the bloodshed. Annan appealed to the 15-member council on Monday to back the deadline to increase pressure on the Syrian government to halt its offensive against the opposition, diplomats at a closed-doors briefing by the special envoy told reporters. | Al Jazeera

The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross is holding talks in Damascus on Tuesday aimed at expanding aid operations and gaining access to all detainees, the agency said, as Syrian forces press on with their crackdown on dissent. | Al Arabiya

Syrian opposition figure Riyad Turk urged support for Kofi Annan's peace plan as he called for a national dialogue in Syria, but insisted that President Bashar al-Assad must first step down. | NOW Lebanon


An international coalition including the United States, the United Kingdom and several Arab states, has pledged to send millions of dollars in aid and equipment to Syria's opposition groups, signalling a deeper international involvement in the conflict there. | Al Jazeera

The Syrian leadership believes “it is winning” against rebels trying to topple the government, a U.S. intelligence official said late Sunday, despite ongoing international peace efforts to recognize the Syrian opposition. Chairman of the House intelligence committee, Mike Rogers, said in a television interview that there are no signs that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is losing his grip on power, citing U.S. intelligence agencies. | Al Arabiya

Syrian government troops clashed with rebel forces across the country Monday as international envoy Kofi Annan prepared to brief the U.N. Security Council on the progress of his mission to ease the nation’s crisis. | Washington Post


Britain will provide a further £500,000 ($800,000) to support Syria's political opposition in the face of president Bashar Assad's regime, the foreign secretary said. | Independent

The UN and Arab League envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, expects the government to implement his peace plan immediately. Annan's spokesman, Ahmed Fawzi, told reporters: "The deadline is now." The peace plan, which the government accepted on Tuesday, calls for a UN-supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms by all parties. | BBC

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sought to work out a unified strategy on the crisis in Syria in talks with Saudi officials on Friday as further violence stymied U.N. efforts to convince Damascus to implement a cease-fire. Clinton’s talks with Saudi King Abdullah and other officials come ahead of a 60-nation gathering of the “Friends of the Syrian People” in Istanbul over the weekend aimed at finding ways to aid Syria’s opposition. | Washington Post


Arab League foreign ministers meeting in Baghdad have agreed on a draft resolution on Syria, which calls for action on a UN-backed peace plan formulated by former UN chief Kofi Annan. Speaking at the summit on Wednesday, Hoshyar Zebari, the Iraqi foreign minister, said "the Syrian crisis is not exclusively an Arab one, it affects the entire international community". | Al Jazeera

There is enough evidence to bring human rights charges against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over his crackdown on protesters, U.N. rights chief Navi Pillay said in comments broadcast Wednesday, as U.S. senators recommended providing weapons to the Syrian opposition. | Al Arabiya

Syrian forces assailed rebel bastions on Thursday as Arab leaders gathered in Baghdad for a landmark summit focused on ending the year-long violence. On the eve of the meeting, the United States accused Syria's President Bashar Assad of failing to respect a peace plan that U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said his regime had accepted. | Daily Star


Arab foreign ministers will discuss a draft resolution on Wednesday calling on Syria’s government to hold talks with the opposition and to end the violence, on the eve of a landmark summit in Baghdad, as Syria’s opposition factions agreed to join forces against the regime. | Al Arabiya

The Syrian government has agreed to accept the six-point plan by joint United Nations-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan on ending the violence in Syria, the former UN chief's spokesman said. | Al Jazeera

Syrian forces backed by tanks stormed the central town of Qalaat al-Madiq and nearby villages on Wednesday after a siege lasting more than two weeks, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The Britain-based monitoring group said the troops entered the town, in Hama province, just after dawn following a 17-day barrage of shelling and heavy gunfire to root out rebels. | NOW Lebanon


Kofi Annan, the joint UN-Arab League envoy, is in China to seek Beijing's support for his peace proposal to end violence in strife-torn Syria, after winning Moscow's full backing. Annan, who will hold talks with Wen Jiabao, the prime minister, on the plan which calls for a UN-supervised halt to fighting and pushes for a transition to a more representative political system, says the crisis cannot be allowed to "drag on". | Al Jazeera

Beijing on Tuesday called on all parties in Syria to cooperate with the mediation efforts of Kofi Annan, as the United Nations and Arab League envoy held talks with Chinese leaders. "We hope that all parties in Syria can cooperate with Mr. Annan's mediation efforts, in order to create conditions for the political settlement of the Syrian issue," foreign ministry spokesperson Hong Lei told journalists. | NOW Lebanon

Syrian security forces infiltrated the Bekaa border town of al-Qaa on Tuesday, said various media reports. Local residents said that clashes ensued between the forces and members of the Syrian opposition. | Naharnet News


Turkey has closed its embassy in the Syrian capital Damascus on Monday, the Foreign Ministry said, as the security situation in Syria “deteriorated further” in the country. Turkey and the United States plan to provide “nonlethal” assistance, like communications equipment and medical supplies, directly to opposition groups inside Syria, and will urge other allies to do so as well. | Al Arabiya; New York Times

Syria's divided opposition groups are meeting in Istanbul to try to achieve a more united front in their efforts to oust President Bashar al-Assad. The main opposition coalition, the Syrian National Council (SNC), has said it wants to draw up a "national pact" of common objectives. | BBC

U.S. President Barack Obama said he and Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev agreed Monday to support diplomatic efforts to end the bloodshed in Syria and ensure a "legitimate" government there. Syria was one of the top priority issues discussed during a 90-minute meeting between the two leaders in South Korea ahead of a nuclear summit, their final direct talks before Medvedev steps down and makes way for Vladimir Putin. | NOW Lebanon


U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said on Thursday he hoped a new statement approved by the Security Council on the Syria crisis will prove a “turning point” in world efforts to bring about a lasting peace. The U.N. Secretary-General was speaking in Malaysia a day after the 15-nation council adopted a statement demanding that Syria “immediately” implement a peace plan proposed by U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and gave a veiled warning of international action. | Al Arabiya

The United Nations Security Council has adopted a statement backing joint UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's plan for ending the year-long violence in Syria
, as a government crackdown on opposition strongholds has continued. The statement, adopted on Wednesday, expressed the council's "full support" for Annan's efforts, and called upon both the government and the opposition "to work in good faith with the envoy towards a peaceful settlement of the Syrian crisis" and to fully implement his six-point proposal. | Al Jazeera

Syrian troops fired rocket propelled grenades into northern Lebanon during the night, sparking panic among the local population, a security official and residents said on Thursday. The security official said heavy machine-gun fire followed by shelling erupted from the Syrian side of the border, near the Lebanese village of Muqaybleh, prompting some residents to flee. | Times of Oman


Two large suburbs of Damascus came under heavy tank bombardment on Wednesday following renewed Free Syrian Army attacks on forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, opposition activists said. | Guardian

U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday that Syria’s crisis was extremely dangerous and had “massive repercussions” for the region and the world. “We do not know how events will unfold. But we do know that we all have a responsibility to work for a resolution of this profound and extremely dangerous crisis” said Ban. 
| Al Arabiya

Syrian government forces have launched military assaults in different parts of the country, activists said, as Russia said Damascus was making "a lot of mistakes" in handling the unrest sweeping the country. | Al Jazeera


Human Rights Watch accused Syria's rebels of a catalog of abuses including “kidnapping, detention and torture of security force members, government supporters and people identified as members of pro-government militias, called shabiha.” | New York Times

Russia has called for a daily two-hour humanitarian ceasefire in Syria, backing calls from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). In a statement, the foreign ministry called on the Syrian government "and all armed groups who oppose it" to agree to ceasefires "without delay," after ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger held talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Monday. | Al Jazeera

A Russian military unit has arrived in Syria, according to Russian news reports, a development that a United Nations Security Council source told ABC News was “a bomb” certain to have serious repercussions. Now the Russian Black Sea fleet’s Iman tanker has arrived in the Syrian port of Tartus on the Mediterranean Sea with an anti-terror squad from the Russian Marines aboard according to the Interfax news agency. | Ya Libnan


Heavy fighting is reported to have broken out between opposition fighters and forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad in a district of the Syrian capital Damascus that is home to several security installations. | Al Jazeera

A new report on conventional arms transfers shows Syria imported nearly six times more weapons in 2007-2011 than in the previous five-year period, with Russia accounting for 72 percent of the arms transfers. | Al Arabiya


United Nations experts will accompany a Syrian government-led humanitarian mission, the second time UN personnel have visited protest sites this month, the organisation's humanitarian chief said. | Al Jazeera

Member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have decided to shut down their embassies in Syria over the “Syrian regime’s persistence in killing and tormenting Syrian people,” the bloc Secretary General Abdullatif al-Zayani has said in a statement. | Al Arabiya

Huge rallies backing Syria's regime took place in the face of growing international ire at the violent suppression of a year-long revolt, with Arab Gulf states deciding to shut their embassies in Damascus. International peace envoy Kofi Annan, meanwhile, demanded answers from President Bashar al-Assad's regime before the UN Security Council re-enters the fray in a conflict that monitors say has cost more than 9,100 lives as it enters its second year. | Now Lebanon


The Tunisian government has set up a working group that will study how to develop Islamic finance in the country, a finance ministry official said. | Reuters

UN-Arab League mediator Kofi Annan and Russia urged President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday to speed up efforts to end the bloodletting in Syria, as regime forces overran another rebel city. On the eve of the first anniversary of an anti-Assad revolt, the opposition suffered setbacks on both the military and political fronts, with its Syrian National Council (SNC) coalition hit by resignations. | Now Lebanon

As the Syrian revolt entered its second year on Thursday, around 1,000 refugees crossed into Turkey in one day, Turkish officials said. Turkey said 1,000 refugees had crossed into Turkey from Syria in the last 24 hours, bringing the total of registered Syrian refugees in Turkey to some 14,000. | Al Arabiya


Syrians detained during a year-long uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's rule have been subjected to widespread torture that amounts to a crime against humanity, human rights group Amnesty International said. According to them, those caught up in the government's massive wave of arrests "have been thrust into a nightmarish world of systemic torture". | Al Jazeera

The Syrian army has seized full control of Idlib following a four-day assault and rebel troops have retreated, an activist in the northwest city told AFP on Wednesday. | Al Arabiya

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad responded to UN-Arab League proposals to end the bloodshed in his country, as monitors said nearly 50 more people were killed and a pro-regime daily reported the capture of a rebel city. | NOW Lebanon


Kofi Annan, the UN-Arab League envoy to Syria, said he expects a response from Damascus on "concrete proposals" he put forward during his recent visit to the country, as government forces continued a military assault in the northern province of Idlib. | Al Jazeera

Syrian troops committed another massacre in Idlib on Monday that left as many as 55 people dead, according to activists at the Syrian Revolution Commission. The new massacre comes one day after the Syrian regime committed killed 50 people in Karm al-Zeitoun neighborhood in Homs. | Al Arabiya

Syrian forces have been planting landmines along Syria's borders with Lebanon and Turkey in recent weeks, resulting in civilian casualties, according to a report by Human Rights Watch released Tuesday. | Daily Star


Syria’s main opposition group called for an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting following reports that some 50 women and children were massacred in the central city of Homs. “The Syrian National Council is making the necessary contacts with all organizations and countries that are friends with the Syrian people for the U.N. Security Council to hold an emergency meeting,” the SNC said in a statement. | Al Arabiya

Dozens of people have been killed in two flashpoint cities in Syria, opposition activists say, hours after the UN special envoy to Syria met the country's president in an effort to reach a diplomatic solution to end the violence. The Local Coordination Committees (LCC), a network of opposition activists, said at least 45 women and children were killed on Monday morning in the Karm al-Zaytoun neighbourhood of Homs. | Al Jazeera

Claims and counterclaims of brutal civilian killings in Syria’s battered central city of Homs emerged on Monday, a day after a United Nations envoy ended two days of meetings with President Bashar al-Assad without securing a deal to end the nearly year-old conflict. Activist groups said a dozen and possibly as many as 45 people, including children, died overnight. | New York Times


The leader of Syria's main opposition group says he rejects calls by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan for dialogue between the government in Damascus and the opposition. Burhan Ghalioun says calling for dialogue while President Bashar Assad is massacring his own people is "disappointing." Ghalioun says a political settlement without military pressure on Assad is unrealistic. | NPR

Russia said Friday it opposed an "unbalanced" U.S.-backed UN draft resolution on the Syria crisis because it did not contain a call for a simultaneous halt in violence by the government and rebels. "We cannot agree with the draft resolution in the form it is being presented in today. The text of the resolution under discussion is unbalanced," Interfax quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov as saying. | NOW Lebanon


United Nations and Arab League special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan, urged the Syrian opposition Thursday to cooperate to resolve the conflict that has left thousands dead in the past year. Former U.N. chief Annan, speaking to reporters in Cairo, urged "the Syrian opposition to come together to work with us to find a solution that will respect the aspirations of the Syrian people." | Daily Star

Syrian opposition leader Burhan Ghalioun on Thursday welcomed the defection of the deputy oil minister and told AFP he expects more government officials and politicians to follow suit. “I hail the deputy (oil) minister who defected and I call on all government members and public abandon this regime and join the ranks of the revolution for freedom and dignity,” said Ghalioun, head of the Syrian National Council, the main opposition group. | Al Arabiya


The U.N.’s humanitarian chief Valerie Amos has headed to Syria in a bid to persuade President Bashar al-Assad’s government to allow humanitarian aid into protest cities which have been relentlessly bombarded by regime forces. The five major U.N. powers had discussed on Tuesday new efforts to press for a halt to the violence in Syria, which Obama had called “heartbreaking,” as witness accounts of the devastation after government troops bombarded the rebel stronghold of Baba Amro into submission, have given attempts to reach a diplomatic solution renewed urgency. | Al Arabiya

Thousands of Syrians fleeing a military crackdown by the government of President Bashar al-Assad have crossed into neighbouring Lebanon, the United Nations says. As the Syrian government's crackdown continues, the UN's refugee agency says that about 2,000 refugees have crossed into Lebanon over the last two days. | Al Jazeera


Former U.N. chief Kofi Annan will launch on Wednesday a diplomatic “mission impossible” aiming to convince Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to silence the guns blamed for thousands of deaths in the past year, as hundreds of Syrians crossed into Lebanon in the past 24 hours to escape the heaviest shelling of their border towns. Annan will hold talks with Arab League leaders in Cairo in a last chance to send a signal of his intentions before he heads to Damascus on Saturday as joint special envoy for the United Nations and the Arab league. | Al Arabiya

Syria’s government made diplomatic gestures on Monday toward seeking an end to the uprising that has convulsed the country, agreeing for the first time to allow visits by the top United Nations relief official and by the newly designated envoy who represents the United Nations and the Arab League. But activists said Syrian security forces widened their ferocious campaign to crush opposition in the most restive areas, sending troops into Dara’a, the southern town where the protests began a year ago. | New York Times

Russian Ambassador to Lebanon Alexander Zasypkin has said that Russia’s position concerning the events in Syria is unlikely to change. “Russia’s [supportive] stand vis-a vis Syria is unlikely to change as it is a fundamental conviction,” said Zasypkin after meeting the Lebanese Democratic Party leader Talal Arslan. | NOW Lebanon


UN General Assembly president Nasser Abdul Aziz Al-Nassir has called for reform of the Security Council, saying disagreement over Syria has emboldened Damascus. Al-Nassir has criticized the Security Council after its failure to agree to a resolution on Syria, as violence continues to escalate in the country. | Al Jazeera

Heavy fighting has broken out between armoured forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad and rebels who had launched coordinated attacks on army roadblocks across the southern city of Deraa on the border with Jordan. | Al Arabiya; BBC


Syrian forces have overrun the Baba Amr district of Homs following a rebel retreat, potentially marking a turning point in President Bashar al-Assad's bid to crush an increasingly armed uprising. As rebel fighters pulled back on Thursday, the opposition Syrian National Council warned of a "massacre" in Baba Amr, while relief agencies including the Syrian Arab Red Crescent said they would urgently try to get there to deliver aid and evacuate the wounded. | Now Lebanon; Al Jazeera

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said Russia had no special relationship with the incumbent Syrian regime, adding that it was up to the Syrians to decide who should run their country. With pressure mounting on Moscow to harden its line against Assad, Putin called on both the Damascus regime and opposition rebels to agree to a ceasefire whilst criticising the West for backing the rebels in the conflict. | Al Arabiya


An ominous communications blackout descended over the besieged Bab Amr district in the central Syrian city of Homs on Wednesday as Syrian troops, backed by tanks, launched what appeared to be a major offensive aimed at wresting back control of the area from government opponents. There were fears that the violence marked the start of an all-out attempt to crush resistance in the epicenter of the nearly year-long revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. | Washington Post

As the Syrian military tightened its deadly vise on a besieged neighborhood of the central city of Homs, the United Nations Human Rights Council voted on Thursday to condemn the government of President Bashar al-Assad for widespread violations of human rights in the crackdown on its opponents. The measure was approved by 37 nations at a Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, with Russia, China and Cuba voting against it. | New York Times

The head of the Syrian National Council (SNC) announced on Thursday at a press conference in Paris, the launch of a military council to support the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Burhan Ghalioun who said that SNC will be seeking advice from consultants and experts on how to support, organize and oversee FSA, added that the formation of the military council came after consensus among all armed oppositions in Syria. | Al Arabiya


The United States and France have drafted an outline for a new U.N. Security Council resolution demanding access for humanitarian aid workers in besieged Syrian towns and an end to the violence there. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said on Tuesday that the council was working on a third resolution, this time focusing on the escalating humanitarian crisis caused by Assad’s military operations against protesters. In a further development, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said China would back international efforts to send humanitarian aid to Syria as Syrian troops attempt to enter the opposition stronghold of Bab Amr in Homs. | Al Arabiya; Al Jazeera

The UN’s Human Rights Council has held an emergency debate – which Syria, Cuba, and Russia refused to attend. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov explained why: “It interferes with the agenda of the Human Rights Council, which was agreed quite a (long) time ago. It actually interrupts the working methods of the Human Rights Council.” | Euronews


Venezuela’s Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez has said that Venezuela will continue to supply Syria with fuel "whenever required" despite Western sanctions adding that Syria is a “besieged nation, whom the transnational interests want to bring down". Ramirez was confirming information this month showing President Hugo Chavez's administration had emerged as a rare supplier of diesel to Syria, potentially undermining Western measures over its crackdown on anti-government protests. | Reuters

Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said the international community has to take action to prevent Syrian security forces from continuing their attacks against civilians, which had resulted in “countless atrocities.” | Washington Post

Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui, Syria's ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, stormed out of the U.N. Human Rights Council after delivering an angry speech saying that "unjust and unilateral sanctions imposed by some countries on the Syrian people are preventing access to medicines, to fuel in all forms as well as electricity, and are also impeding bank transfers to buy these materials." | Reuters

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has stated that President Bashar al-Assad would allow the Muslim Brotherhood to return to Syria and be part of the national dialogue but only as individuals and not as part of an organized party. Al-Muallem further stated that he believed a NATO attack on Syria was unlikely. | Al Arabiya


Vote counting following Syria's referendum on a new constitution is under way with the results expected today, but Western nations and some of the opposition, which boycotted the exercise, have labeled the vote a sham. More than 14 million people over the age of 18 were eligible to vote at 13,835 polling stations across Syria on Sunday in a ballot that could theoretically end five decades of one-party rule. | Al Jazeera

As many as 15 people have been killed by Syrian security forces on Monday, mostly in Homs, as intense shelling begun in the neighbourhoods of Khalidiya, Ashira, Bayada, Baba Amro, and the old city at dawn.| Al Arabiya

Prominent members of the main Syrian National Council have formed a splinter organization on Sunday, exposing the most serious rift among President Bashar al-Assad’s opponents since the popular uprising against his repressive rule erupted in March. At least 20 secular and Islamist members of the 270-strong council, which was set up in Istanbul last year, announced the formation of the Syrian Patriotic Group. The new group is headed by Haitham al-Maleh, a lawyer and former judge who has resisted dynastic family rule by Assad and his father, the late President Hafez al-Assad, since its inception in 1970. | Al Arabiya


Syrian forces have shot dead unarmed women and children, shelled residential areas, and tortured wounded protesters in hospital under orders from the “highest level” of army and government officials, the United Nations said. Independent U.N. investigators called for perpetrators of such crimes against humanity to face prosecution and said they had drawn up a confidential list of names of commanding officers and officials alleged to be responsible. | Al Arabiya

U.N. humanitarian chief Valerie Amos will head to Syria soon in an attempt to secure access for aid workers seeking to deliver emergency relief to people trapped in the country's conflict zones, the United Nations said. U.N. spokesman Eduardo del Buey said that there was no date set for her trip, yet they expect the Syrian government to respond positively. | Reuters

Speaking at the U.S. presidential CNN debate on Wednesday night, Republican candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich lent their support to the idea of arming the Syrian opposition in its fight to oust the embattled Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Gingrich said that U.S. allies − which he did not name − were covertly helping destroy the Assad regime, and that there were weapons available in the region to arm the opposition. | Al Arabiya


At least 17 people have been killed after Syrian troops shelled the rebel-held Baba Amro district of Homs today. The dead included American correspondent Marie Colvin and French photographer Remi Ochlik who were killed when rockets fired by government forces hit the house they were staying in. The Syrian military has redoubled its attacks on Homs in the past few days, aiming to retake neighbourhoods that have come under control of the opposition and armed rebels - many of them military defectors. | Al Arabiya; Reuters

Basma Kodmani, a senior official within the Syrian National Council (SNC), has stated that military intervention may be the only solution to bring an end to the nearly year-old crisis
that has left thousands dead in Syria during a Press Conference in Paris. Kodmani additionally stated that the SNC was proposing that Russia, which has vetoed action against the Syrian government in the U.N. Security Council, help persuade the Assad regime to guarantee safe passage to humanitarian convoys ferrying aid to civilians. | Daily Star


Russia has announced that it will not attend an international conference in Tunis this week aimed at seeking political change in Syria because the meeting of the “Friends of Syria group” only supported the opposition’s cause while representatives of the Syrian government were not invited. The meeting was called “for the purpose of supporting one side against another in an internal conflict,” the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement. | Al Arabiya

Syrian government forces are said to be continuing their bombardment of the city of Homs, ignoring calls from the International Committee of the Red Cross for a two-hour daily truce to facilitate delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians trapped by the unremitting violence. Reuters news agency, quoting Syrian activists, said at least 12 people had been killed today as troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad advanced on the Baba Amro neighbourhood of the city. | Al Jazeera

Two Iranian warships that docked in a Syrian port were reported to have left the Mediterranean, sailing south through the Suez Canal toward the Red Sea. The presence of the vessels has added to international tension over the nearly yearlong government crackdown on the Syrian people. | New York Times


The United Nations General Assembly voted 137 to 12 to approve a non-binding resolution calling for an immediate halt to the Syrian government's crackdown on the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's rule. | Al Jazeera

President Bashar Al-Assad’s recent announcement of a national referendum on the country’s new draft constitution to be held on February 26 has divided Syrians. Some believe that the draft constitution offers significant improvements from the older constitution and expect turnout to be high and estimate approval ratings of 80 to 90 per cent. Meanwhile, the head of the Centre for Research and Documentation in Damascus said the draft constitution allowed the president to retain most of his powers, and the timing was inappropriate as violence continued in several cities. | Al Jazeera


China has said it will send a senior envoy to Syria for talks this week on ending the current state of violence. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin stated that Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun, who had met with a Syrian opposition delegation in Beijing last week, would be in Syria on Friday and Saturday. | Al Arabiya

The Executive Committee of the Syrian National Council (SNC) has re-elected Burhan Ghalioun as president of the bloc. His mandate is set to run until April 15. "The SNC renews its pledge to fulfill the demands of the Syrian people and its responsibilities towards them, and to ensure that none of the bloodshed has been in vain," the SNC said in a statement after meeting in Doha, Qatar. | Reuters


Syrian warplanes have hit the main crude oil pipeline feeding the refinery in Homs on the twelfth successive day of bombardment of the city that has been at the forefront of the Syrian uprising against President Bashar Al-Assad. Opposition activists further reported that government troops entered the city of Hama firing on residential areas from armoured vehicles and mobile anti-aircraft guns. | Al Arabiya

President Bashar al-Assad has issued a decree stipulating Sunday February 26, 2012 as the date for a referendum to draft a new Syrian Constitution. The proposed constitution defines Syria as a democratic state with a political system based on political pluralism and designates the Syrian army as an institution charged with defending the country’s sovereignty and serving and protecting the interests of the Syrian people. | SANA

Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has said that he will meet his French counterpart Alain Juppe in Vienna on Thursday to discuss a plan to rework a U.N. Security Council resolution that aims to end violence in Syria. Lavrov said today that he could not comment on the French plan without having seen the language of the proposed resolution. Meanwhile, Juppe said earlier today that his country is trying to rework the resolution with a focus on overcoming Russian resistance. | NPR


Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said that Beijing will "absolutely not protect any party" in the conflict in Syria, including the government of Syria." China and Russia vetoed a UN resolution on Syria ten days ago, sparking claims from the UN rights chief that action against protesters has intensified. | BBC

Syrian government forces attacked opponents of President Bashar al-Assad in cities and towns across the country on Tuesday and Arab officials confirmed that regional governments would be ready to arm the resistance if the bloodshed did not cease. | Reuters


Saudi security forces killed another protester, Zuhair al-Said, in the town of al-Awamiya on February 10. The Saudi Press Agency reported that the death occurred after “a number of elements” tried to provoke violence by firing on Saudi security forces, citing an unidentified police spokesman. | Bloomberg; BBC

The European Union today backed an Arab League call for a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Syria and urged the U.N. Security Council to act in order to stop the violence there. Michael Mann, spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton stated, “We welcome these bold decisions and the strong and clear commitment and leadership that the Arab League is taking to resolve the crisis in Syria.” | Al Arabiya

Iraq’s deputy interior minister Adnan al-Assadi said in an interview with AFP that the Iraqi government possess intelligence which reveals that a number of Iraqi jihadists are travelling from Iraq to Syria and weapons are being sent to opponents of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. | Al Arabiya


Activists have reported that explosions have rocked Syria's second largest city of Aleppo, with one of the blasts narrowly missing military intelligence building. Syrian state television said two explosions had taken place on Friday morning and blamed the attack on "armed terrorist gangs." The broadcaster said that 25 people were killed and 175 wounded, including civilians and members of the security forces. | Al Jazeera

U.S. President Barack Obama has decried the “outrageous bloodshed” in Syria as government forces bombarded the city of Homs. Commenting after White House talks with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti, President Obama also reiterated calls for Syrian President Assad to leave power. | Al Arabiya

A senior Arab League official stated on Thursday that Arab foreign ministers will discuss a proposal next week to send a joint U.N.-Arab mission to Syria, following the failure of a solely Arab delegation to end President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on protests. Ministers will meet in Cairo on Sunday to consider whether to extend or scrap an observer mission sent to Syria in December. The mission, criticised by Syria's opposition, faced internal dissent and was retreated to hotels for safety as violence surged. | Reuters


Activists claim hundreds of people have been killed and at least 570 wounded as the siege on Homs has moved into its sixth day, sparked shortly after Russia and China vetoed a resolution on Syria at the U.N. Security Council. | Al Jazeera; New York Times

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday the Arab League chief told him he intends to revive an Arab League monitoring mission in Syria, which has collapsed amid continuing violence there. | Al Arabiya

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who is flying to Washington for talks on Syria, said that Turkey, which once saw Assad as an ally but now wants him out, could no longer stand by and watch. Davutuglu hopes that Turkey can host an international meeting to agree on ways to end the killing and provide aid, he said. | Reuters


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Larvov has stated that a resolution to the current crisis in Syria should be the result of dialogue between President Bashar Al-Assad and opposition political forces. Lavrov’s remarks at a news conference in Moscow after talks with Pakistan’s foreign minister suggested Russia, which vetoed a draft U.N. Security Council resolution supporting an Arab League call for Assad to quit, has not changed its stance on Syria following a meeting with Assad in Damascus on Tuesday, according to Reuters. | Al Arabiya

The Syrian city of Homs has come under renewed bombardment for the fifth day running. Activists say more than 40 people have died as a result of the new shelling, however this information is difficult to verify. | BBC

Speaking in Brussels, a senior EU official has stated that the bloc will soon impose harsher sanctions against Syria as it seeks to weaken Assad's regime. The official said the new measures may include bans on the import of Syrian phosphates, on commercial flights between Syria and Europe, and on financial transactions with the country's central bank. | Independent


Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov has arrived in Syria for talks with President Bashar al-Assad as the Syrian army's deadly bombardment of the city of Homs enters its fifth day. The Russian initiative came as Italy recalled its ambassador from Syria for consultations on Tuesday. The move followed similar announcements from the United States, which closed its embassy in Damascus, and Belgium and Britain, which recalled their ambassadors on Monday. | Naharnet

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan said today, during an AK Party meeting in Ankara, that Turkey is preparing a new initiative with those countries who oppose the Syrian government and described China’s and Russia’s veto of a U.N. resolution on Syria as a “fiasco”. | Al Arabiya

At least 21 civilians and four soldiers were killed on Tuesday in violence across Syria, the majority of them in the flashpoint central city of Homs. Elsewhere, five civilians were killed in clashes in Zabadani, near the capital Damascus while the army shelled the village of Kafar Takharim in Idlib, suspected of harbouring elements of the Free Syrian Army. | AFP


As many as 22 people have been killed and scores of others injured in intensive shelling of the Baba Amro neighbourhood in Homs. Seven residential buildings collapsed as a result of intensive shelling by Syrian security forces.| Al Arabiya

China has defended its rejection of a U.N. resolution pressing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to abandon power, with a top state newspaper saying Western intervention in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq exposed the risks of forced regime change.| Reuters

Conflicting reports have contributed to a lack of clarity over current events in the city of Homs. Opposition groups have claimed that government forces have killed up to 50 people while the Syrian government and state-run media deny the accusations, saying the “attacks” were staged. The media have been unable to confirm either the figures or any details of the assaults. Syria has banned independent reporting and largely sealed off trouble spots, making it difficult to verify accounts from either side. | RT


Security Council ambassadors reached a wobbly consensus on Thursday backing an Arab League plan for political change in Syria, after they dropped a specific reference to President Bashar al-Assad’s ceding of power. | New York Times

Six Iranians have reportedly been abducted near Idlib in northwest Syria, bringing the total in the last two months to 35. Kalemeh News reported that Iranian officials have banned overland travel to Syria. | Enduring America


The governments of the United States, European countries, and Arab states have begun discussing the possibility of exile for President Bashar al-Assad despite scepticism the defiant Syrian president is ready to consider such an offer. | Al Arabiya

The Local Coordination Committees, an opposition group monitoring the uprising, have reported the deaths of at least 68 people, mostly civilians, across Syria as Russia threatens to veto an Arab-European proposal to the U.N. calling for President Bashar Al-Assad to step down. | Al Jazeera

Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said after a closed session at the UN that some progress has been made in the discussion of a draft resolution on Syria. Yet, Russia still opposes any phrasing in the draft that could bring military intervention or regime change in Syria. Meanwhile, Russian Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov told Russian state news agencies that Russia is not violating any international obligations by continuing arms sales to Syria. | RT; Newsday


Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s envoy to the European Union, has stated his belief that a Western-Arab resolution to be presented to the U.N. Security Council cannot pass without language clearly ruling out potential military intervention. Chizhov’s remarks were an indication that Russia could veto the resolution, which supports an Arab League plan, if it is not changed to take Moscow’s concerns into account. | Al Arabiya

Arab League Secretary General Nabil El Araby and Prime Minister of Qatar Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani have urged the U.N. Security Council to take decisive action to end the deadly crackdown in Syria and to support an Arab initiative for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to relinquish power. | Al Jazeera

Syrian state television network SANA has reported that eleven Iranian citizens were kidnapped while on a religious pilgrimage in Syria. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast condemned the attack as "unjustifiable" and asked Syrian authorities to secure the release of the abducted citizens. | Reuters


A European-Arab resolution on Syria to be presented to the UN Security Council calls on President Bashar al-Assad to step aside or face further measures in 15 days, but it stresses that any punitive measures would be peaceful. | Guardian

The U.K. based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has reported that units of the Syrian army are set to be deployed in the Damascus suburbs of Zamalka, Arbeen, Rankous and Talfita, said Rami Abdel Rahman ahead of a United Nations debate on a resolution calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down. Meanwhile, opposition activists called for a day of mourning following the reported deaths of almost 100 people, mostly civilians, in spiralling violence. | Bloomberg; AFP

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has insisted that the UN Security Council will never sanction foreign military intervention in Syria. Lavrov stated: “If they tell Bashar Al-Assad to leave and he refuses to leave, what can they do? Summon combat aircraft? Bomb him? We have already been through that and the Security Council would never approve of that, I guarantee you that.” | RT


Russia has sought to avert a swift UN Security Council vote on a Western-Arab resolution on Syria calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down stating that it wanted to study recommendations from Arab observers before discussing a plan that calls for President Bashar al-Assad to relinquish power. | Al Arabiya

Activists have reported that the Free Syrian Army has made a tactical withdrawal from the Damascus suburb of Saqba following clashes with state security forces. | Al Jazeera

British and French foreign ministers, William Hague and Alain Juppe, are traveling to New York to bolster Arab League efforts to press for a United Nations resolution aimed at halting Syria's violent crackdown on anti-regime protests. | Newsday


The General Council of the Revolution has reported that at least 29 people were killed by Syrian security forces on Friday morning, a day after 14 members of a Sunni family were killed in the flashpoint city of Homs in one of the grizzliest sectarian attacks in the ten-month uprising. | Al Arabiya

The United Nations Security Council is expected to discuss the violent turmoil in Syria during a closed-door session. Diplomats will discuss possible next steps to be taken during the session, and will probably debate a draft resolution to be presented by Morocco supporting the Arab League's call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to transfer power to his deputy and set up a transition unity government to hold elections in the next two months. | Reuters

The Syrian National Council, based outside Syria, has expressed their willingness to donate money and equipment to rebels fighting President Assad as they work with the rebel Free Syrian Army to establish an organized command structure. | Reuters


Syrian troops stormed a flashpoint in the Damascus suburb of Douma today, raiding homes and searching vehicles. Only ten miles away in downtown Damascus, thousands of people expressed their support for the incumbent Assad regime. State television reported that similar rallies were held in Aleppo. | ABC News

Arab League observers in Syria, depleted by a pullout of their Gulf Arab colleagues, resumed work today for the first time in a week during which a bloody struggle between President Bashar al-Assad and his opponents has raged on. | Al Arabiya

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has reported that Doctor Abd-al-Razzaq Jbeiro, secretary-general of the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, was shot dead as he travelled outside the capital Damascus in a clearly marked vehicle. Beatrice Megevand-Roggo, head of ICRC operations for the Near and Middle East stated, "Regardless of the circumstances, the ICRC condemns this very severely.” | Reuters


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Russia is “open to constructive proposals” to bring an end to the current turmoil in Syria but remains opposed to any U.N. resolution requiring all nations to abide by unilateral sanctions imposed by the West. | Al Arabiya

The Syrian government has agreed to extend the widely criticised Arab League observer mission for a second month only hours after Foreign Minister Walid Muallem launched an angry tirade against the bloc’s attempts to mediate in the crisis. Meanwhile, Western governments have taken heed of the growing regional call for UN intervention in the Syrian crisis to embark on a fresh drive for action by the UN Security Council but still face potential opposition from Russia and China. | Al Jazeera

The Local Coordination Committees of Syria have reported that security forces and pro-government militias assaulted neighbourhoods overnight in the flashpoint city of Hama. The forces were backed by military vehicles and armoured tanks. | CNN


Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has dismissed an Arab League plan calling for President Bashar Al-Assad to step down as a foreign conspiracy and violation of Syria’s sovereignty. Muallem further criticised the League for its efforts to take its plans to the United Nations, adding that the Syrian government has a duty to confront armed groups and will soon hold a referendum on a new constitution limiting the presidency to two seven-year mandates.  | Al Jazeera

Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby and Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, head of the League's committee on Syria, have sent a joint letter to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon providing details of the League’s latest plan for a political solution to end the violence in Syria. | Reuters

The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) said today that they decided to withdraw their monitors from an Arab League mission to Syria, prompting Arab states to consider the withdrawal of the whole mission. They called on members of the U.N. Security Council to take all needed measures to press Syria to implement the Arab League decisions. | Al Arabiya


Bashar Assad has dismissed an Arab League call asking him to relinquish power to his deputy as an attack on Syria’s sovereignty and evidence of interference in Syrian domestic affairs. Meanwhile Saudi Arabia said it was pulling out of the league's 165-strong monitoring mission in Syria because Damascus had broken promises on peace initiatives. | BBC
Sudanese General Mohammed al-Dabi who headed the Arab monitoring mission in Syria said that violence in the country had dipped after the observers arrived, contradicting accounts by Syrian activists who said the killing has continued unabated. Al-Dabi stated at a news conference at the Cairo-based Arab League: “After the arrival of the mission, the intensity of violence began to decrease... we have reported 136 cases of killing ... and they included both sides, opposition and the government. | Al Arabiya

Syria has signed a $550 million (425 million euro) contract to purchase 36 Yak-130 advanced training fighter planes from Russia. The deal was signed in December with Russia's Rosoboron export state defence corporation with the production of the jets beginning once the advance payment was made. | AFP


The opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) stated that it was sending a delegation to Cairo today to convince the Arab League to hand responsibility over the enveloping humanitarian crisis to the United Nations. The SNC seeks a U.N. decision to establish a secured area in Syria, similar to that established in Libya, followed by a no-fly zone and potentially military strikes against the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. | Al Arabiya

Anti-government protesters took to the street on Friday calling for the release of political prisoners. Meanwhile Human Rights Watch called for the Arab League to make public its final report about the group’s monitoring mission, calling into question its transparency and independence. Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director of the organization stated: "The Arab League should make its monitors' report public to address increasing concerns that its monitoring mission is being manipulated by the Syrian authorities…Only a transparent assessment of the monitoring mission can determine whether the monitors should stay in the country." | CNN

Oil Minister Sufiian Alao has stated that Western sanctions on Syrian oil exports have cost the country $2 billion since last September. | SANA


Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Russia will offer Washington no explanation for arms deliveries to Syria and together with China will prevent the U.N. Security Council from approving any military intervention in the conflict-torn nation. | Reuters

European sanctions on Syria are set to be tightened after EU ministers added 22 individuals and eight companies to an existing blacklist in an effort to tackle the Syrian government’s repression of anti-regime protests. | Al Arabiya

The leader of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, Mohammad Shaqfa has called for the UN Security Council to implement a no-fly zone and safe-zone to help the Syrian Free Army in their ongoing conflict with President Bashar al-Assad. | Reuters


Mohammed Taifour, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood’s deputy superintendent and one of its representatives in the country’s main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, told al-Hayat newspaper that Iranian businessmen requested to see him to offer the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood a deal that includes giving the Islamist group a role in the Syrian government, but under the condition that President Bashar al-Assad remains the country’s leader. Taifour rejected negotiation with the businessmen. | al Arabiya; Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama criticised continued and “unacceptable” levels of violence in Syria and pledged to redouble international efforts to force President Bashar al-Assad to step down following a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan in Washington on Tuesday. | National Post

The Syrian army has reportedly agreed to a ceasefire with opposition fighters in the town of Zabadani, a town of 40,000 people, 30 km from Damascus and the scene of the biggest military offensive launched by the Syrian regime since Arab League monitors entered the country last month. The claim was made by opposition figure Kamal Labwani, currently in Jordan. There have been no comments from the Syrian government regarding the ceasefire. | Al Jazeera


The French newspaper Le Figaro reported today that President Bashar al-Assad has sent envoys abroad in the hope of reaching some kind of deal with opposition leaders to form a unity government. | Al Arabiya

Two members of Syria's parliament, Nawaf al-Bashir, a tribal leader and MP from Deir Ezzor and Imad Ghalioun, who represented the central city of Homs have abandoned the government and joined the opposition to President Bashar al-Assad. | Al Jazeera

Riad al-Asaad, the Turkish-based commander of the Syrian Free Army has called for international intervention to curb President Bashar al-Assad’s violent attacks on the Syrian people. In particular, he called for the U.N Security Council to replace the failing efforts of the Arab League observer mission. | Reuters


General Mohammed al-Dabi, head of the Arab League monitoring team in Syria, has dismissed as untrue the claims of an Algerian observer who quit the mission and described it as a “farce” due to its inefficiency in curbing state-sponsored violence. Meanwhile, Syrian security forces killed as many as 25 people around the country on Thursday. | Al Arabiya

A protest convoy of about 150 Syrian expatriates brought together by a campaign on the social networking website Facebook have been turned away by Syrian border guards. The group was attempting to cross from Turkey into Syria to deliver blankets, medicine and food to people affected by the government’s crackdown on protests. | Al Jazeera

Syrian opposition groups have called for nationwide protests this Friday in support of the “Free Syrian Army’s” continued struggle against the security forces of President Bashar al-Assad. | Al Arabiya


At least nine people, including a French journalist, have been killed and several more wounded in an explosion that struck a government-organised media trip to Homs. News of the deaths came just hours after President Bashar Assad made a defiant public address in Damascus on Wednesday to show popular support and a government in control. | Al Jazeera

A former member of the Arab League observer mission has said that monitors have left Syria and are likely to continue doing so because the mission has failed to halt state perpetrated violence. | Reuters

Cypriot authorities confirmed the release of a Russian ship suspected of supplying arms to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime after receiving a pledge the vessel would not proceed to Syria. Local media reported that “The Chariot” was carrying between 35 and 60 tons of arms and explosives bound for the port of Latakia. | Voice of America


President Bashar al-Assad made a rare public appearance in Damascus on Wednesday, thanking supporters for backing him in the fight against “terrorism” and vowing to overcome the regional and international “conspiracy” aimed at destabilizing Syria. | Naharnet

A top U.N. official reported to the U.N. Security Council on Tuesday that at least 400 people have been killed in Syria since Arab League observers began a monitoring mission last month. | Al Arabiya

Israeli army chief of staff, Lieutenant-General Benny Gantz, has stated that Israel is preparing for an influx of Syrian Alawite refugees into the Israeli occupied Golan Heights should President Bashar al-Assad lose power. | Al Jazeera

A former member of the Arab League’s observer mission to Syria has described the mission as a “farce” describing the situation in the country as a humanitarian disaster. | BBC News


In a rare address on state television Bashar al-Assad has criticised the Arab League’s observer mission and accused “foreign conspirators” of working to destabalize the country. | Al Jazeera

Sources in the Syrian National Council (SNC) in Istanbul have confirmed that Burhan Ghalioun will continue as chairman of the opposition movement, despite speculation of his resignation. | ANSAmed


At least 20 people were killed on Sunday in Homs, Hama, in the suburbs of the Damascus, and the northern province of Idlib, according to Mahmoud Merei, head of the Arab Organization for Human Rights. | Bloomberg

Syrian opposition activists criticized the Arab League’s failure to take a firmer stance against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, as violent crackdowns against protesters resumed across the country. | Al Arabiya

The Arab League plans to send more observers to Syria following an emergency meeting in Cairo despite criticism of the effectiveness of their mission. | Al Jazeera


A bomb tore through a densely populated neighborhood in Damascus on Friday, killing 25 people and wounding dozens more in the second attack in the Syrian capital in two weeks, Syrian television and other state news media reported. | New York Times

An Arab League team of monitors withdrew from the Damascus suburb of Arbeen after forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad opened fire at them as they toured the streets. | Al Arabiya


The Assad regime released 552 people detained for their alleged involvement in the months long uprising in the country. | SANA

The Arab League has turned to the United Nations for help after admitting "mistakes" in its Syria monitoring mission, following criticism of its failure to reduce violence. | Daily Star

Colonel Riad al-Assad, head of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), pledged this week to escalate operations in response to the unsatisfactory performance of Arab League monitors in halting President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown on protests. | Al Arabiya


The Assad regime accused Washington of interfering with the work of the Arab League monitors after a U.S. official travelled to Cairo for talks with the bloc regarding the continued crackdown on protesters. | Al Jazeera

At least 29 people were killed by Syrian security forces across the country on Tuesday, as western countries became critical of the Arab League observers. | Al Arabiya

A previously unknown Syrian opposition group calling itself the "Movement against the Shiite tide in Syria,” claimed responsibility for the December kidnapping of five Iranians in Homs and warned both Iran and Hezbollah of the consequences of supporting Damascus in a fax sent to the AFP Nicosia office. | Daily Star


The head of the Arab League said its peace monitors who were helping to ease a violent crackdown on anti-government protests in Syria but activists said the organization was being manipulated by President Bashar al-Assad's forces. | Reuters

Syria’s government has taken steps to comply with a regional initiative to end months of bloodshed, including pulling tanks out of cities and releasing nearly 3,500 detainees, the head of the Arab League said Monday. | Los Angeles Times


Heavy gun battles erupted between security forces and army defectors on Sunday in the town of Qusair in Homs province, near the border with Lebanon. Among the six killed was an army officer. Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has meanwhile arrived in Cairo and is expected to agree to allow Arab observers to enter Syria. | AP; Al-Watan


Russia offered the UN Security Council a new and more robust draft resolution addressing the increasing violence in Syria, lifting Western hopes of UN action. Western envoys said the Russian text was too weak, but they are willing to negotiate over it. | Al Jazeera


Army defectors have killed at least 27 soldiers and security forces in clashes in the southern province of Daraa on Thursday. Troops backed by tanks killed at least 10 people on Wednesday when they stormed into the city of Hama. | AP; Reuters


Former Syrian diplomat Mohammad Bassam Imadi, who fled to Turkey earlier this month, told the Times that more senior figures in the Assad regime would defect if there were a buffer zone to protect them. | Times


Syrians voted in local elections amid continued protests and battles with state security forces, although state news reported business as usual. Also, in response to the killing of eleven civilians on Tuesday, army defectors killed seven soldiers in an attack on a military convoy. | Guardian; AFP


Local elections are being held across the country despite the ongoing crackdown and the opposition's call for a boycott. Hundreds of army defectors in the southern part of the country meanwhile fought loyalist forces in one of the largest armed confrontations during the nine-month uprising. | BBC


In a rare interview with the U.S. television network ABC, President Assad denied responsibility for the killing of thousands of protesters, claiming he was not in charge of the forces behind the crackdown. | ABC

U.S. ambassador to Syria Robert Ford has returned to Damascus. | Christian Science Monitor; U.S. State Department


The Arab League said it won’t lift sanctions imposed on Syria, after President Bashar al-Assad’s government demanded the removal of the league’s punitive measures as a condition for admitting observers. Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to meet members of the Syrian opposition in Geneva. | al Arabiya

More than 60 bodies have been taken to hospitals in the central Syrian city of Homs following a series of kidnappings that began on Sunday, activists have said. Activists and residents of several neighborhoods said Sunni residents had been kidnapped by "shabiha," armed, mostly Alawite gangs that support the government. An Alawite human rights activist, meanwhile, told Al Jazeera's Rula Amin that there were killings and kidnappings on both sides of the divide. | Al Jazeera

ABC will air Wednesday an interview with Syrian President Bashar Assad conducted by veteran news broadcaster Barbara Walters. | Daily Star


A gunfight erupted after members of the secret police defected from an intelligence compound in the town of Idlib, leaving 10 people dead. The government meanwhile says Damascus has accepted an Arab League proposal to send observers to the country, although it is not clear the League will accept amendments to the original request. | Daily Press News

The United States and Turkey are reviewing plans on how to aid the country in the event that Assad's government collapses. U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday that the two countries have not discussed concrete next steps.| Al Arabiya


The UN Human Rights Council is holding a meeting in Geneva to discuss the situation in Syria, likely to seek referral of the issue to the UN Security Council. | BBC

Mutinous soldiers attacked an air force intelligence base in the northwestern province of Idlib, killing eight people and injuring 13 during a three-hour gun battle. | AFP


In reaction to EU sanctions, the Syrian government resigned its membership from the 43- nation Union for the Mediterranean. The regional bloc is implementing additional sanctions against the Assad regime. The EU plans to add the state-owned General Petroleum Corporation to its list of sanctioned companies. | Al Jazeera; Reuters


The Syrian National Council (SNC) met secretly with the Free Syrian Army (FSA) in Turkey today, expressing support for the armed force. The Turkish Foreign Ministry was aware the meeting took place.| Hürriyet Daily News

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmed Devutoglu announced the suspension of all financial dealings with Syria and froze all its government’s assets. He also says his government remains ready for all possible scenarios including the creation of a military buffer zone. | New York Times; Reuters


The UN Human Rights Council concluded that security forces have committed crimes against humanity, including the torture of 256 children and orders to ‘shoot to kill’. | AP

The Syrian state news agency reported that millions took the streets in major cities to protest the Arab League decision to impose sanctions on the country and its government. Foreign Minister Walid el-Moallam meanwhile blamed armed terrorist groups for the unrest, accusing international powers of interfering in internal affairs. | SANA; Xinhuanet


Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem condemned the Arab League for rejecting his government’s attempts to alter the League’s originally proposed peace plan. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meanwhile denounced pressure being placed on President Assad by the Arab League and the international community. | SANA; RT

The dissident Free Syrian Army denied responsibility for the recent attack on a Ba’ath Party office in Damascus. Riad al-Assad who commands the force says his group forbids targeting civilian buildings. | AP


The Syrian government agreed in principle to allow an observer mission into the country hours before the Arab League deadline expired, but suggested that more time is needed to study the exact details. The Arab League meanwhile rejects the government’s amendments to the proposal.| AP; Daily Star


State-run news reported that thousands of people across the country have taken to the streets in support of President Assad, protesting against the Arab League decision to suspend Syrian membership. The League has meanwhile extended the ultimatum for President Assad. | SANA; Independent

Syrian Muslim Brotherhood Leader Mohammad Riad Shafqa says the people will accept Turkish military intervention in order to confront the regime. Shafqa ruled out the potential for involvement in such campaign by Western countries. | Reuters


The Syrian government boycotted the Arab League meeting that will likely result in the suspension of its membership. Former Saudi Intelligence Chief Turki al-Faisal meanwhile says the end of President Assad’s regime is inevitable. In response to the international pressure, 1,180 prisoners are released. | Reuters; Daily Press; Xinhuanet; SANA

Army defectors of the Free Syrian Army have attacked an air force intelligence complex in a Damascus suburb. | Al Jazeera


The Jordanian Embassy has been stormed by regime loyalists in response to King Abdallah’s call for Assad to step down. Meanwhile, Turkey rebuffed Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem's apology over the attacks on the Turkish embassy and demands that the government issue a public formal apology. | AFP; Hürriyet

Ahead of his visit to Moscow to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Syrian National Council leader Burhat Ghalioun called directly upon Russia's to change its stance towards the regime. | RIA Novosti


Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem considers Syrian suspension from the Arab League dangerous. He instead proposed holding an emergency summit to address the current crisis. | SANA

In an interview with BBC, Jordanian King Abdallah called upon President Assad to step down, and added that no one in his inner circle would be capable of replacing him. | BBC


U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman says several Arab countries have offered President Assad a safe haven if he voluntarily steps down. | Reuters

Security forces shot dead ten people in Damascus on Wednesday, activists say. As opposition leader Burhat Ghalioun called upon the Arab League to seek protection for civilians under international law, Amnesty International urged the League to refer the government to the International Criminal Court. | Reuters; Amnesty International


Sectarian killings are on the rise in the city of Homs as the death toll tops 3500, UN Human Rights Office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva | Reuters; Le Figaro

Opposition seems split on the issue as to whether they should hold talks with the regime. Members of the National Coordination Committee were pelted with eggs as they convene in Cairo for talks with Arab League members. | AP


At least eight people have been killed by security forces in the city of Homs on Friday during the third consecutive day of fighting. It has also been reported that the government has sent reinforcements to the city of Deraa. | Al Jazeera

In a similar vein to recent pro-government demonstrations in Damascus, Lattakia and Deir al Zor, half a million people gathered in coastal city of Tartous on Thursday in show of support for President Assad and his reform plans. | SANA

Anti-regime activists called for "sweeping rallies” until the regime is toppled. Fears are also prevalent that the Arab League proposal could buy President Assad more time to suppress the demonstrations with lethal force. The Red Cross estimates the number of detainees currently being held for anti-regime activities at 30,000. | Al Arabiya, Reuters


Seven were killed by security forces despite government acceptance of the Arab League proposal calling for an end to violence. | AFP

Army defectors killed 15 security force officers in response to the death of 11 villagers on Wednesday by Assad loyalists. | Reuters


UN investigators discovered a previously unknown nuclear facility in the northwest of the country, bolstering suspicions of the government’s nuclear ambitions. | AP

In an attempt to stop the flow of refugees to Lebanon, the Syrian army planted mines along the Syrian-Lebanese border. | AP


President Assad appealed for Russian support in an interview with Russian television. He also stated the country could overcome the current crisis through dialogue. | SANA

President Assad warned the West against military intervention, saying that such action could lead to a situation on part with “tens of Afghanistans”. | Telegraph


The military is accused of planting mines along the border with Lebanon in an attempt to halt weapons smuggling. | Al Jazeera

The Turkish government provided a safe haven for the ‘Free Syrian Army’ – a force of defected military officers – and deepened its ties with the Syrian National Council. | New York Times


An Arab League delegation arrived in Damascus on Wednesday in an attempt to help end the government crackdown. Tens of thousands have meanwhile turned out in Damascus and Latakia streets in support of Assad. | Los Angeles Times; AP

Security forces opened fire on protesters in the city of Homs, killing three people. | Ahram Online


Seven security agents and at least three civilians were killed Tuesday as current conditions in the country begin to resemble insurgency. Tens of thousands rallied in Damascus in support of the President on Wednesday. | Reuters; AFP; AP

US Senators said that President Assad should be held judicially accountable for the death of protesters and urge the UN Security Council to refer his case to the International Criminal Court. | AFP


Amnesty International reported that the government is turning hospitals into “instruments of repression.” Also, a human rights activist asserted that he believes security forces have detained 30,000 since the uprising began in March. | Al-Arabiya

The United States is deeply concerned about recent reports of border incursions into Lebanon and the apparent targeting of Syrian refugees within Lebanon. | Naharnet


The Syrian government agreed to hold a national dialogue conference under the auspices of the Arab League. | Al-Arabiya

The US pulled out Ambassador Ford over fear for his safety. | Washington Post


Central Bank Governor Adib Mayaleh hinted at a possible switch to the Russian ruble for banking transactions if the EU bans the government from operating in euros. | Bloomberg

British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said that the United Kingdom and its allies are capable of carrying out an operation in Syria similar to the one in Libya. | BBC

News of Qaddafi’s death sparked new protests against President Assad in Syria. | Reuters


The Official daily newspaper Al-Thawra derided the Arab League as an instrument of injustice that serves an alleged U.S. and Israel interest to destabilize Syria. | Al Arabiya

UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon condemned Syrian border incursions in Lebanon, urging the regime to respect Lebanon’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. | AFP


The death toll has reached 3,482 as violence escalates. Activists say security forces killed 27 people in the city of Homs on Monday. | AFP

Thousands flock to the streets in support of President Assad in the country’s second largest city, Aleppo. | AP

Fifteen exiled Palestinian detainees arrived in Syria today. | Al Jazeera


Fierce battles erupted between security forces and military defectors on Monday, leaving more than 30 civilians and a dozen soldiers killed. The city of Homs has emerged as a symbol of armed resistance against President Assad’s rule. | Washington Post

Syrian National Council members met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Ankara. Davutoglu also advised the opposition to maintain its unity. | Middle East Online; AP

The government has agreed to host Palestinian prisoners released by Israel in the exchange deal with Hamas. | AFP


The regime scoffed at the resolution adopted by the Arab League calling upon President Assad to hold a dialogue with opposition representatives. Syrian Ambassador to the Arab League Yousef Ahmad also lashed out against Qatar during the League’s meeting. | SANA

Opposition leader Waheed Saqr called upon silent minorities to back the revolution. Saqr says the Alawite community holds a kingmaker’s position in determining President Assad’s fate. | Al Arabiya

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged the Syrian government to immediately stop killing civilians and to accept an international probe on human rights violations. | Times of Oman


A naturalized Syrian-American citizen is charged with spying on anti-government protesters in the United States, and is accused of passing information to Syrian secret service. | New York Times

Fighting between security forces and military defectors continues in the northwest region, leaving thirteen dead. | AP

The EU decided today to freeze the assets of the Commercial Bank of Syria as part of a new set of sanctions being imposed on the regime. | Naharnet


Clashes between security forces and defectors escalated in Homs, leaving nine dead and 20 injured, activists say. | Los Angeles Times

Tens of thousands flock to the streets of Damascus in support of President Assad, praising China and Russia for their veto at the UN last week. | SANA; Reuters

The Lebanese Future Movement of former PM Saad Hariri has been accused of supporting the armed rebellion in Syria after Syrian forces confiscated arms supply originating from Northern Lebanon. | Naharnet


Pressure on the regime is mounting as China and Russia urge Assad to move faster to implement reforms. | Naharnet; Al Jazeera

Western diplomats are confident that economic sanctions will yield results. They say a faltering economy will pose an additional threat to Assad’s rule. | New York Times

EU foreign ministers welcomed a move by Syrian political opposition to establish a united platform and on the international community to embrace the efforts. | Al Jazeera


The UN human rights office announced that death toll has reached 2,900 since protests began in March of this year. | Reuters

Clashes between those who remain loyal to the army and its defectors continue in the north near the Turkish border. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says that seven soldiers and five deserters or civilians were killed during clashes. | AFP

Opposition forces condemn the Russia and China UN veto while praising Turkey for its plan to impose sanctions. | Bloomberg


Despite the failure of the UN resolution, the Turkish government is set to impose its own sanctions. The Syrian government applauded the veto by China and Russia, accusing the West of inciting instability. | Wall Street Journal, AFP

The London-based Syrian Human Rights Organization says security forces are clashing with armed men believed to be defectors. The organization reports that three people and four troops have died. | Associated Press


The UN Security Council is set to vote on a resolution against the Assad regime. While the EU nations called for a vote on Tuesday to impose sanctions, Russia says it would oppose such a move. | Al-Arabiya

The government is being accused of torturing the relatives of activists who live overseas in an attempt to silence international criticism. Amnesty International reports that Syrian diplomats have been actively involved in intimidation of Syrian opposition activists abroad. | Guardian

Clashes erupted between troops and army defectors in northeast Syria, leaving four killed. On the same day, activists say security forces have detained 3,000 people in the past three days. | AP


Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets across the country today demanding the removal of President Assad. Fighting between security forces and protestors continued.| Reuters

The Obama administration blamed the regime for the recent attack on Ambassador Robert Ford and his aides, saying it was part of an ongoing campaign to intimidate American diplomats.| Al Arabiya

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan is expected to announce a range of economic, military and political sanctions on the Syrian regime early next month.| Guardian


A defected brigade called al-Harmoush claimed it has killed 80 security officers and those employed by the regime known as Shabiha, or plain-clothed thugs, to attack anti-government protesters. Meanwhile, security forces killed at least seventeen protestors in Homos, Idlib, and Daraa.| Al Arabiya, Bloomberg

EU states in the Security Council moved to enact a new draft resolution that incorporates the concerns of Russia and China, yet presses the regime to end the violence. | Bloomberg

Supporters of President Bashar al-Assad pelted U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford and other diplomats today with stones and tomatoes on a visit with an opposition figure in Damascus. | Reuters


At least fifteen people were killed during the ongoing crackdown on protests in the central governorates of Homs and Hama, the northern province of Idlib and in the southern area of Deraa. | Al Arabiya

A new EU draft resolution drops the demand for immediate sanctions against the regime in order to gain more support in the UN Security Council. | Al Jazeera

President Bashar al-Assad held talks with former Lebanese Prime Minister Samil al-Hoss to discuss developments in Syria and their repercussions on the region. Assad said that the cities that were targeted have started to regain their stability. | SANA


Security forces backed by tanks and helicopters have stormed the town of al-Rastan, part of a region that has emerged as a center of resistance to the government. | Al Jazeera

In his annual UN General Assembly speech, Prime Minister Walid al-Muallem accused Western nations of trying to cause total chaos in Syria that will lead to the break-up of the whole country. | AFP

Imad Moustapha, the Damascus envoy to Washington, says the regime will be able to offset the impact of Western sanctions by reorienting the economy toward Asia, Africa, and South America. | Financial Times


Military defectors are organizing an armed resistance against the Syrian regime that may signal a new phase in what has been a peaceful protest movement. | Washington Post

The government has banned imports of most foreign manufactured goods except raw materials and grains in order to preserve foreign currency reserves under pressure from Western sanctions. | Reuters

Internet activists hacked into the official websites of seven major cities in addition to several government departments. They replaced the official content with caricatures of President Bashar al-Assad and a message saying, “Don’t let Bashar monitor you online.” | Al Jazeera


Anti-regime protesters came under fire in the city of Hama, Deir al-Zor, and in several Damascus suburbs after Friday prayers, with deaths in the province of Homs. | Reuters

EU Foreign Affairs chief Catherine Ashton announced a sanctions agreement to supplement another sanctions agreement from September 2. The new measures include a ban on delivering bank notes to the Syrian Central Bank and travel and visa bans on more officials linked to the regime. | Al Arabiya


The EU will impose new sanctions beginning Saturday, including a ban on investments in the oil sector and on delivering bank notes and coins made in Europe. The member states will also target six firms and two individuals directly linked to the regime. | Al Arabiya

The regime blamed terrorists for killing five security officers and wounding seventeen others in an ambush in the southern province of Daraa .| AFP


The Arab League parliament called on Arab states to suspend Syria’s membership in order to pressure the regime to end violence against the protesters and to implement reforms. | Al Jazeera

President Barack Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to increase pressure on the regime by taking further steps that include sanctions, political pressure, and other measures.| Al Arabiya; Reuters

In a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged Russia to take a harsh stance toward Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whereas Lavrov spoke in favor of preparing an intra-Syrian dialogue.| Voice of Russia


Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang announced that 2,700 people, including at least 100 children, have been killed by military and security forces since mass protests started in mid-March. | Al Jazeera

Deputy Chairman of the Russian Federation Council and Head of the Russian Delegation Ilyas Umakhanov visited three cities and met with representatives of the Syrian government. Umakhanov said the country is passing through a critical time, yet can overcome the current crisis without any foreign intervention. | SANA

Washington has begun to make plans for American policy in the region after President Bashar al-Assad leaves power. Officials at the State Department have also been pressing Syria’s opposition leaders to unite to bring down the regime and to build a new government. | New York Times


Security forces opened fire during a raid on political dissidents in the towns of Houla, Qusayr, and Talbisseh in the central Homs province. | Naharnet

At least 200 opposition members met near Damascus, where they released a statement calling on the regime to immediately end its acts of repression, and urged protesters to keep their movement peaceful. | Al Jazeera

A UN report said that more than 3,500 Syrian refugees have registered with the United Nations in Lebanon.| Reuters


Security forces killed at least fourteen people today in Homs, Hama, and the northern province of Idlib, and conducted sweeps in other regions, including the southern area of Daraa. | Bloomberg

Syrian opposition groups announced on Thursday the formation of a national council to organize efforts against the Assad regime and communicate with one voice to the international community. The council will be composed of 140 members from within the country and the diaspora. | New York Times

The United States urged its citizens to leave Syria immediately, saying the government’s violent crackdown on peaceful protests had led to an uncertain and unstable situation. | Reuters


Security forces killed at least twelve protesters across the country as the uprising moves into its seventh month. Troops fired on protestors in Homs and Hama, the town of Deir al-Zour, the city of Aleppo, Idlib province, and the suburbs of the capital of Damascus. | Bloomberg

Russia warned that terrorism by radicals may increase if the Assad regime falls. Conversely, the EU asked President Bashar al-Assad to step down. | Al Arabiya


Security forces stormed a region near the border with Turkey today in an expansion of a major military thrust to suppress protests. Forces fired heavy machine guns randomly as they swept into at least ten villages and towns in Jabal al-Zawiya. Communications and entrances into and out of the region were cut off. | Al Arabiya

Anti-regime activists said that security forces attacked a gathering of mourners just hours after U.S. Ambassador Robert Ford expressed his condolences to the family of a rights activist killed last week. | San Francisco Chronicle


The Arab League today called on the regime to end its crackdown on protestors and to resolve the present conflict through dialogue with the opposition. | Al Arabiya

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is concerned that the unrest in Syria could spark sectarian civil war, fearing Alawites and Sunnis will turn against each other. | San Francisco Chronicle

Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi called for giving President Bashar al-Assad the chance to introduce reform, warning that the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood is a threat to Christians in the region. | Naharnet


Intense tank-backed raids by security forces resulted today in the killing of at least 21 people in the city of Homs. | Al Jazeera

The Arab League announced that Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi will visit on Saturday. The regime postponed an earlier scheduled meeting three days ago. | Naharnet


A visit by Arab League Secretary General Nabil El Araby has been postponed due to a request by Syrian officials. The purpose of the visit was to express concern over the crackdown on protests against President Bashar al-Assad. | Al Jazeera

Two thousand people gathered today in the city of Homs to protest Assad’s regime. Forces killed at least seven people in a massive tank-backed raid on the town, and blocked all telecommunications. | Al Jazeera; Al Arabiya

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu announced that pressure should not be put on the Syrian regime. She suggested internal dialogue and consultations as the more appropriate way to resolve the crisis. | People’s Daily online


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been granted permission by regime authorities for the first time to visit detainees in the main prison in the Damascus suburb of Adra. More than 15,000 detainees are now being held in formal prisons, however.| Al Arabiya

The Cabinet approved the Parties Law that was issued on August 8. The law outlines the role of the citizen, stressing commitment to the constitution and the principles of democracy and rule of law. | SANA

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed frustration today with the inability of UN members to reach an agreement on what needs to be done about the Syrian situation, urging the international community to take action. | Associated Press


In Rastan, a town 20 km north of the city of Homs, forces began firing heavy machine guns at civilians. Also, two were killed and 20 wounded when troops opened fire in the Sarmin district in the northwest province of Idlib. | Reuters; AFP

Turkish President Abdullah Gul declared that his country has lost confidence in the Assad government. The Arab League called on Assad to end the violence. | CNN; Al Arabiya

Ambassador Youssef Ahmad, the permanent representative of Syria to the Arab League, announced that the Assad government is proceeding with reform, yet defending its national unity and security. Ahmad criticized foreign intervention and pressure as maliciously motivated. | SANA


Russia and China boycotted a closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council held to discuss a draft resolution that would impose further sanctions and travel bans against 22 officials and freeze the assets of 23 other top regime figures including President Assad. | Al Arabiya

Security forces fired at anti-government protesters after Friday prayers in the Damascus suburb of Douma. Other demonstrations took place throughout the country.| Reuters

Ali Ferzat, the country’s most renowned political cartoonist, recently drew a sketch comparing President Assad to Libya's Gaddafi. In a subsequent attack by masked gunmen, he was dragged out of his car and had both his hands broken. | Independent


Security forces resumed shelling in Deir al-Zor, storming the area of al-Busaira with heavy gunfire. In the town of Shuhail to the southeast, tanks and armored vehicles opened fire on protesters in Shuhail.| Al Jazeera

The EU expanded sanctions to include Iran for supplying Syrian security forces with technical assistance, equipment, and other support to repress civilian anti-government protests. | Voice of America

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition to end the months of violence. He added that the people and the government must come together to reach an understanding. | Al Jazeera


Western delegations circulated a UN draft resolution during the Human Rights Council meeting pushing for tougher sanctions against Assad and other top regime officials. | Al Jazeera

The Arab League Peace Committee will hold an urgent meeting in Cairo on Saturday to discuss the situation and the latest events. | Reuters


The UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday passed a resolution to urgently send a commission of inquiry to investigate human rights violations. | Al Arabiya

Russia and China rejected this week foreign pressure on Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to step down. China's foreign ministry on Tuesday criticized the international stance saying the country's future should be decided internally. | Reuters; Bloomberg


President Bashar al-Assad asserted on state television Sunday that his government is in control of the country. He warned against foreign military intervention and reaffirmed his commitment to political reform with local elections to be held within months with parliamentary elections to follow. | Al Jazeera

Following al-Assad’s interview, thousands took to the streets demanding that he step down. Security forces continued an assault on the city of Homs. | Washington Post

A UN delegation arrived to assess humanitarian needs; the team includes representatives from six agencies and is expected to stay until Thursday. The delegation has been granted permission to visit areas of protest including Latakia, Homs, Hama, Deraa and others. | BBC


Despite President Al-Assad’s pledge to end military attacks on protests, forces shot dead six protesters in Deraa, as thousands marched after Friday prayers across the country. | Reuters


For the first time, President Obama on Thursday called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, an important symbolic step that the Syrian opposition has urged Obama to take. Obama also announced an expansion of sanctions and an immediate freeze of the regime’s assets. In a joint statement, British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel also called for Assad to step down. | Washington Post

Security forces killed at least 16 people were killed in the city of Homs on Wednesday and thousands demonstrated against the regime in Aleppo. | Al Arabiya

President Bashar Al Assad tells UN chief Ban Ki-moon in a phone call that security forces have halted military operations against protestors. | BBC


Syrian security forces continued their crackdown on demonstrations, opening fire on anti- President Bashar Al Assad demonstrators gathered in Latakia, Deir al-Zor, Deraa, Damascus and other cities. | Al Arabiya

State media announced that military and security forces have withdrawn from key areas in Latakia and Deir al-Zor, yet witnesses confirmed that it is maintaining its presence in the Deir al-Zor. | Al Jazeera


The military assault on the Syrian city of Latakia entered its fourth day, where 34 people are reported to have been killed and thousands of refugees have been forced to flee from the Palestinian refugee camp in the al-Ramel district. | RTE News; BBC

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu demanded that the Syrian government end its crackdown immediately and unconditionally, warning that unspecified steps would be taken otherwise. | Boston Globe


As international pressure mounts against Bashar Assad to end his regime’s brutal crackdown on protesters, 21 people were killed in the port city of Latakia by regime forces. Dozens were also injured as the Syrian navy shelled the city while security forces opened fire on protesters throughout the city. | CNN


The U.S. Treasury Department expanded sanctions against the regime. Syria’s largest commercial bank and mobile phone operator were added to a blacklist of companies whose assets have been frozen and are now banned from doing business in the United States. | RTE News

Security forces stormed Qusayr in the central province of Homs, killing at least five civilians. Tanks also attacked the town of Saraqeb, northwest of Idlib, just after dawn. | Al Arabiya

European members of the Security Council threatened the regime with tougher UN actions if the bloody crackdown on protesters continued, while Russia urged President Bashar al-Assad to implement reforms as soon as possible. | Al Arabiya


The United States pressed for more international sanctions against Syria, and the Arab League and Gulf Arab states have now taken a firmer line. Representatives from India, Brazil, and South Africa are headed to Damascus to press for an end to the violence.  | Al ArabiyaDaily Star

Tanks stormed two northwestern towns near the border with Turkey in an expansion of a military offensive on protests. There was also heavy gunfire in Deir al-Zour while dozens of army vehicles left Hama after ten days of storming the city to fight armed groups. | Reuters; Daily Star


The Turkish foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, is expected to arrive in Damascus today to warn President Bashar al-Assad in person that Ankara has run out of patience with the regime’s continued assault on civilians. In addition, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain have withdrawn their ambassadors in a sign of the country’s increasing isolation.| Telegraph; Los Angeles Times

Security forces arbitrarily arrested residents amid heavy shooting in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, killing at least four people. The crackdown escalated in the northwestern province of Idlib bordering Turkey and the city of Hama, and activists were attacked in the northwestern town of Sirmeen. | Al Arabiya; CNN


Tanks stormed Deir al-Zour, opened fire, and seized the central square, killing dozens of civilians. | Daily Star

Saudi King Abdullah recalled his country’s ambassador from Damascus, demanding an end to the bloodshed there. | Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera


Syrian police forces tightened their occupation of Hama and assembled outside Deir al-Zor in the east of the country as President Bashar al-Assad ignored mounting world condemnation of the crackdown. State authorities say the army has gone into Hama to confront armed terrorist groups attacking civilians and sabotaging property. | Reuters

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, whose country had resisted United Nations condemnation of Syria, warned Syria's leader that he will face a sad fate if he fails to introduce reforms and open a peaceful dialogue with the opposition in his country. | Daily Star


President Bashar al-Assad issued a legislative decree authorizing a multi-party system. The decree came hours after the UN Security Council condemned the widespread violations of human rights and the use of force against civilians, yet without reaching a resolution. | SANA; Al Arabiya; CNN

At least 45 civilians were killed in a tank assault aimed at occupying the center of the Hama. | Reuters


Syrian authorities cut off all communication in Hama, following heavy shelling and an invasion of the city with more than 100 tanks and dozens of vehicles. A human rights group said attacks across Syria on Monday and Tuesday killed 27 civilians, including thirteen in Hama. | CNN; Daily Star; Al Jazeera; Reuters

Troops opened fire on demonstrators in the Damascus suburb of Mouadhamiya and the cities of Hasaka and Latakia, injuring dozens of people. Meanwhile, one person was killed on Tuesday in the Damascus suburb of Erbin when forces fired at a funeral for five residents killed on Monday. | Reuters

Italy withdrew its ambassador to Syria Tuesday to protest the repression of anti-regime demonstrators, calling on other countries to the same. | New York Times; Independent


Security forces fired live ammunition and tear gas on protesters in several cities across Syria, including Latakia and Banias, as tens of thousands of people took to the street on Friday. | Forbes

Saboteurs bombed a pipeline in the western town of Talkalakh near Homs on Friday. The explosion left a 15-meter hole. | Daily Star; SANA

Hezbollah denied accusations that it played any role in the crackdown on anti-government protesters in Syria. | Daily Star; Khaleej Times


Military intelligence arrested 300 people in the Damascus suburb of Kanaker as eighteen tanks positioned themselves at the entrances of the town. Meanwhile, security forces continued to conduct arrests in Barzeh and Zabadani. | Al Jazeera; AFP

Nearly 3,000 people have disappeared since the beginning of the protests according to Avaaz, a global Internet-based organization. The survey estimates that one person disappears every hour. | Daily Star; Al Arabiya

The new leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, praised the anti-regime demonstrations, adding that President Bashar Al-Assad is “the leader of criminal gangs.” He also accused the United States of planning to replace the president with someone who protects Israeli interests. | CNN


Representatives of anti-regime protesters will meet on Wednesday in Turkey for a four-day gathering to discuss coordination between activists and working groups of the revolution. | AFP

On Tuesday, the cabinet adopted a new election law as part of its reform program. The law will regulate parliamentary and local council elections and establish a judicial committee to ensure free and fair elections. | Haaretz; SANA

Security forces attacked the Damascus suburb of Kanaker. A human rights group reports that eight people were killed and several others injured as residents tried to stop the advancing troops by throwing stones and closing roads. | AP


The State Department condemned the ongoing violence in Syria, reiterating that President Bashar al-Assad has lost legitimacy. The United States urged Syrian authorities to respect the protesters’ demands for a peaceful transition to democracy. | AFP; Department of State

Security forces arrested dozens of people in Damascus on Monday, including a seven-year-old child. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said nine people were arrested in the Damascus suburb of Hajar al-Aswad, where protesters marched on Sunday night demanding the fall of the regime. Meanwhile, more tanks moved into several districts of Homs. | AFP


The Syrian cabinet approved on Sunday a new law allowing the formation of political parties other than the Baath Party. | Al Jazeera; SANA

A train carrying 480 passengers derailed and caught fire in Al-Souda near Homs on Saturday, killing the driver and injuring sixteen passengers. The government accuses “saboteurs” of dismantling the rails. | Al Jazeera; Al Arabiya

Over eleven people were killed on Friday as more than 1 million people demonstrated across the country. Meanwhile, 30 soldiers were injured in Homs on Friday during clashes with defected troops. Residents reported explosions and heavy gunfire overnight from the area of the Syrian Army War College. | Al JazeeraAP


Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the street after Friday prayers in Damascus, Homs, Latakia, Deraa, and Deir Al-Zor in response to the opposition’s call for a national unity day, demanding an end to President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. Security forces set up checkpoints and detained dozens of people. Witnesses said pro-regime armed groups attacked protesters with batons in the city of Qamishli. | APReuters; Al Jazeera

Troops fired on densely populated neighborhoods in Homs on Thursday with tank shells and machine guns, killing ten people. They also intensified the arrest campaign in Homs and across the country. Meanwhile, workers went on strikes in a number of cities, including Daraa, Hama, and Idlib. | Al Jazeera; Los Angeles Times


Regime forces have surrounded the Damascus suburb of Harasta and blocked all of its entrances. Raids and arrests continue in Homs as troops confiscate weapons stockpiles. Activists said that more than 20 people have been killed in Homs since Monday. Residents also reported intense gunfire on Thursday in the neighborhood of Bab Sbaa. | Al Jazeera; CNN; Washington Post

UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon denounced the escalating violence and urged state authorities to immediately stop the repression. | Khaleej Times

The United States condemned the Assad regime’s order prohibiting French and American ambassadors from traveling outside Damascus without permission. | Washington Post


Regime forces opened fire on a funeral procession in Homs, killing sixteen civilians. | BBC; Los Angeles Times

Refugees fled into Lebanon on Tuesday after the Syrian army reinforced its presence in border towns. | Daily Star

Foreign Minister Wallim Al-Moallem warned U.S. and French ambassadors in Damascus on Wednesday not to travel outside the capital without permission. He said the government will ban all diplomats from leaving the capital if the ambassadors defy the orders. | Associated Press


Security forces killed ten people and injured tens of others in attacks on residential districts in Homs on Monday. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people demonstrated in the city of Hama overnight. | Al Jazeera; CNN

The government announced on Monday that it recognizes a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. | Haaretz


Three hundred and fifty exiled dissidents met in Turkey on Friday to elect a 25-member board to push for President Bashar al-Assad’s removal, but failed to establish a shadow government at the conference. | Al Jazeera; Guardian

In Homs over the weekend, clashes between Sunnis and Alawites loyal to the regime left more than 30 civilians dead. Nearly 500 people were arrested. | Al Jazeera, BBC

Regime forces stormed the town of Zabadani near the Lebanese border. | Al Jazeera, BBC


As the Assad regime becomes increasingly isolated with the closure of borders to Lebanon and Turkey, it is reaching out to strengthen ties with neighboring Iraq. | Al Arabiya


Syrian forces killed four people in the midst of tank-backed assaults on at least four villages in the Jabal al-Zawya region of the Idlib province. | Reuters


President Obama said that President Bashar al-Assad had “lost legitimacy” for failing to present a “genuine reform agenda.” | Reuters

The Consultative Meeting for National Dialogue in Damascus came to an end. Among the conclusions were that dialogue is the only way to solve Syria’s political crisis, that stopping corruption is vital, and that all political detainees should be freed. | SANA English


A leading Syrian opposition figure announced that a Damascus conference on July 16 will serve to form a shadow government of “independent, non-political technocrats” to replace President Bashar al-Assad’s government when it falls. | Reuters

After U.S. and French envoys visited the city of Hama last week to show their solidarity with anti-government protesters, Assad loyalists stormed the U.S. and French embassies in Damascus. In response, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared that Assad has lost his legitimacy to govern and is “not indispensable.”  | Reuters, BBC News, Al Jazeera  

Syrian forces killed at least one civilian and injured 20 people in Homs during the heaviest raids since the military stormed the city two months ago. | Reuters


The government opened a national dialogue that it hailed as a step toward a pluralistic, democratic state. The country’s main opposition groups boycotted the two-day meeting in Damascus, refusing to negotiate until President Bashar al-Assad ends the crackdown on protesters and frees thousands of political prisoners. | Al Jazeera, Reuters, SANA English


Nearly 1,000 Syrians have fled Hama, heading for the town of Salamiyah, in fear of another military crackdown on protests. | Al Jazeera 


Security forces rounded up dozens of people in Hama, after killing as many as 22 people and arresting hundreds more.  | Reuters


Security forces killed at least seven people in Hama. In response, France once again called on the United Nations to condemn Syria for its “unacceptable, ferocious, and implacable armed repression.”  | Reuters; Al Jazeera

The first draft of the new law on media was finalized and will later be submitted to the National Dialogue Conference. The draft comprises 92 articles intended to guarantee “broad” freedoms for the Syrian press. | SANA English


Nine people were killed as tens of thousands of protestors gathered in some of the biggest demonstrations since the beginning of the unrest to demand President Bashar al-Assad’s removal in what opposition groups named “the Friday of departure.” The death toll includes three people in Homs, three in the Idlib province, two in Damascus suburbs, and one in Latakia.  | Al JazeeraReuters


Iraq announced that it will supply Syria with a “large” amount of extra oil to help ease the economic crisis caused by the country’s political unrest. Western powers are likely to soon announce a boycott of Syria’s Souedie Crude, a heavy-grade crude that can only be refined in Italy, Holland, Spain, and France.  | Syria Comment

Syrian troops and tanks moved into the northwest villages of Kafr Nabl and Kansafra as hundreds of pro-democracy protestors gathered in the second city of Aleppo. Some pro-government supporters held counter-demonstrations in response.  | AFP

Syria’s opposition announced the creation of a “national coordination committee” comprised of exiled dissidents and opponents within the country seeking democratic reform. The committee has reportedly drafted a document that has been sent to political parties and opposition figures for debate and approval.  | AFP 


Four people were shot dead by tank machineguns in the village of Rama during the latest military assault, this time on the Jabal al-Zawya region. The tank-led assault comes just a day after the government announced it would meet with opposition members on July 10 to establish a framework for the national dialogue promised by President Bashar al-Assad.  | Reuters

According to state media, thousands of people gathered in Damascus for a mass pro-government rally. Assad supporters also denounced foreign interference aimed at destabilizing Syria.  | SANA English


The Syrian government will begin talks with the opposition on July 10 to establish a basis for a national dialogue and to open a debate on the constitution, particularly Article 8, which stipulates that the Baath Party is the leader of both Syrian state and society.  | Al Jazeera; SANA


Two hundred Syrian dissidents held a conference in Damascus to discuss “a national strategy on how to end Syria’s current crisis.” Sources say that the Syrian authorities have been informed of the meeting and have not blocked it. | Al Jazeera

The Syrian army entered the town of Qusair near the Lebanese border. According to reports, hundreds of Syrians have fled into Lebanon this weekend. | Al Jazeera

Opposition activists said that 20 people were killed during Friday’s protests. | Al Jazeera


Sources say that more than 1,500 Syrian refugees have entered Turkey in one day. | Associated Press; BBC 

 Activists said that thousands of protesters against President Bashar al-Assad gathered after Friday prayers in the streets of several Syrian cities calling for the downfall of the Assad’s regime. Protests took place in Damascus, Homs, Hama, Deraa, and Deir al- Zour. | BBC

The EU has imposed new sanctions on the Syrian regime. It has expanded an asset freeze and travel ban to four companies and seven additional individuals; four of them are Syrian officials and the three others are commanders of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard who are accused of supporting the regime’s crackdown on dissent. The EU also has an issued an embargo on arms that can be used to repress protesters. | Associated Press; Al Jazeera


Hundreds of Syrians fled to Turkey after the Syrian army approached their makeshift refugee camps along the border. Refugees said that about 20 tanks have entered Khirbet Al-Jouz and stormed the village. | Al Jazeera; BBC

Syrian troops massed on the Turkish border overnight. According to Al Jazeera’s correspondent, there was no official statement from Turkey but Turkish forces also mobilized along the border. | Al Jazeera

According to activists, there is an acute need for medical care in the makeshift refugee camps scattered on the Syrian side of the border. | New York Times


Foreign Minister Walid Muallem said in a televised news conference that Syria “will forget that Europe is on the map” in response to Europe’s sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad. He also denied that Iran and Hezbollah were helping the Syrian regime. | Washington Post

Seven people were killed in clashes between government supporters and opponents in three cities. A 13-year-old boy was killed in Hama, three people were killed in Homs, and three others were killed in the Mayadeen district in Deir al-Zour.  | Al Jazeera 

Tens of thousands of pro-Assad demonstrators gathered in central Damascus on Tuesday to express their support for the “national dialogue” that Assad announced in a speech on Monday. Syrian state television also aired footage from demonstrations supporting Assad in Homs, Aleppo, Larakia, Hassake, and Deraa.  | Al Jazeera


President Bashar al-Assad issued a general amnesty for all crimes committed before June 20. This is the second political pardon in three weeks. The first, announced on May 31, freed hundreds of detainees; however, thousands of others still remain imprisoned.  | SANA English; Reuters

Security forces killed three people when they intervened in clashes between Assad loyalists and protestors demanding his removal in Homs and the town of Mayadeen in the Deir al-Zour province.  | Al Jazeera 

Pro-Assad rallies took place in cities across Syria, including Damascus, Aleppo, Deraa, Homs, Latakia, and Hassake.  | SANA English; Al Jazeera; Reuters 


In his third speech since the beginning of the protests, President Bashar al- Assad promised to expand the recent amnesty and to institute a national dialogue. He also promised to form a committee to study reforming the constitution. However, he said that no political solution was possible as long as protesters were violent. | Al Jazeera 

The Syrian opposition announced the creation of a National Council to bring together opposition forces to lead the Syrian revolution. | Al Jazeera

Turkey’s emergency situations agency said it has begun providing food for the first time to people across the border in the north of Syria. According to the Turkish government, more than 10,500 people have crossed over its border.  | Al Jazeera (1); (2)


Syrian tycoon Rami Makhlouf announced that he was resigning, in a move intended to symbolize a major concession to anti-government protestors.  Instead, Makhlouf will put his forty percent holding in Syriatel, the country’s largest cell phone operator, up for sale in an initial public offering, with profits going towards humanitarian work and the families of those killed in the unrest.  | Reuters; New York Times; SANA English

At least sixteen people were killed in the midst of the weekly anti-government protests following Friday prayers that erupted in towns and cities across Syria.  This includes nine people in the city of Homs, two in Harasta, a suburb of Damascus, one in Aleppo, and a sixteen-year-old boy in the village of Dael.  State television reported that a policeman was killed and another twenty wounded when “armed groups” opened fire in Homs.  | Al Jazeera English; Reuters


Supporters of President Bashar al-Assad gathered for a pro-government rally in the Mezzeh area of Damascus, raising the largest Syrian flag in the country’s history.  The flag, measuring 2300 meters (2.3 km) long and 18 meters wide, was said to symbolize the 23 million citizens of Syria.  State television said two million people were rallying, however, the number could not be verified.  | SANA English, Al Jazeera


Syria called for refugees from the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour to return to their homes, claiming that security forces had restored “calm and security” to the area.  Meanwhile, thousands of people have also begun fleeing Maarat al-Numaan as tanks push closer to the town in the widening government crackdown. Over 8,000 Syrians have fled to Turkey, while thousands have gathered on the Syrian side of the border.  | SANA English; BBC News; Al Jazeera; Reuters


After rounding up hundreds of people in a sweep through the villages around Jisr al-Shughour, troops pushed toward the northern town of Maarat al-Numaan, the site of many large anti-government protests, on the Damascus-Aleppo highway, reaching the village of Ahtam late on Monday.  It is believed that the units involved in this northern assault are from the army’s 4th division—under the direct command of President Bashar al-Assad’s brother, Maher—the same division that suppressed the unrest in Deraa in March.  | Reuters

Witnesses claimed that the military is using a “scorched earth” policy in the region around Jisr al-Shughour, destroying houses and burning crops. This is still in question, however, as both sides are claiming the other is burning crops and threatening innocent civilians with the destruction of their farms if they side with the enemy.  | BBC News


Security forces rounded up hundreds of people in a sweep through the towns around Jisr al-Shughour. Nearly 7,000 people have fled the region around the town crossing the border into Turkey.  | Reuters

The Syrian army seized control of the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour after storming it with helicopter gunships and nearly 200 tanks. State media described “fierce clashes” occurring between security forces and “armed terrorist groups.”  | SANA English; Reuters; BBC News


During another Friday of protests, security forces killed five protestors, including two in the Qaboun district of Damascus, two in the village of Busra al-Harir, and one in the port city of Latakia.  | Reuters 

The Syrian army began operations in the restive town of Jisr al-Shughour. According to state media, the military move came in response to the town’s residents’ “call for help.” More than 2,400 Syrian civilians, however, have fled to Turkey, leaving Jisr al-Shughour almost completely deserted.  | Al Jazeera English, SANA English, Reuters  


Over 1,500 Syrians fled to Turkey in the last 24 hours in fear of the expected military assault on Jisr al-Shughour, following the alleged slaughter of 120 soldiers by “armed gangs.”  | Reuters; BBC News

President Bashar al-Assad issued two legislative decrees. The first established both an Administrative Judiciary Court in the Aleppo, Homs, and Deir Ezzor governorates and an Administrative Court in those governorates as well as Damascus. The second granted an additional examination term for students of agriculture, hotel management, and vocational training fields.  | SANA English


Hundreds of Syrians crossed the northern border into Turkey, fleeing the military assault ordered by the regime following the alleged slaughter of 120 soldiers by “armed gangs.” Turkey vowed not to turn away Syrian refugees and called on the Assad government to stop its violence against civilians.  | Reuters; BBC News

Eleven Palestinian refugees were killed near Damascus after attempting to storm the headquarters of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC), a pro-Syrian Palestinian group. Hundreds of Palestinian refugees armed with sticks and stones sought to attack the PFLP-GC headquarters after accusing the group of sacrificing Palestinian lives by encouraging them to demonstrate at the Golan Heights, where 23 people were killed and another 350 injured on Sunday.  | Reuters


Backed by the United States, Israel accused Syria of allowing Sunday’s protests on the Israeli border to take place in order to deflect international attention away from the Syrian government’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests. Israeli military officials also questioned the number of casualties reported by Syria. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon responded that live Israeli fire had caused casualties and UN monitors were “seeking to confirm facts.” | ReutersThe New York Times

Syrian troops with tanks moved into the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour, where the government claimed “armed gangs” slaughtered 120 police officers, security personnel, and civilians. The true source of the violence, however, remains unclear, as some activists report it was caused by the defection of soldiers sent to besiege the town on Saturday. Residents of Jisr al-Shughour have braced themselves for a military assault as the government said it will act “with force” to restore control. | Reuters, BBC News, New York Times, SANA English


In one of the bloodiest days since the beginning of the unrest, at least 70 people were killed during anti-government protests.  The death toll included one person in Damascus, two in the northwestern province of Idlib, and seven in the town of Rastan.  The most casualties, however, occurred in the city of Hama, where at least 60 people were killed. | Reuters

At least 35 people, including six policemen, were killed in the northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughour after military snipers shot at a funeral for six protesters killed during Friday’s demonstrations.  In response, angry mourners set fire to the post office where the snipers were stationed.  The official news agency claimed that “armed terrorist groups” attacked state buildings and police stations, resulting in the death of four officers. | ReutersBBC News; SANA English

Israeli forces killed at least 23 people, including a woman and a child, as Syrians and Palestinians from refugee camps in Syria protested near the Golan Heights on the anniversary of the Israel’s victory of the 1967 Six-Day War.  The clash was the worst bloodshed the Golan Heights has witnessed since the fighting between Israel and Syria during the 1973 War. | New York TimesSANA EnglishReuters


President Assad announced the formation of an ad hoc committee designed to establish a foundation for a national dialogue to overcome Syria’s current impasse.  The president declared that the committee would serve to create the proper environment for national movements to be able to express their various opinions on Syrian social, economic, and political life, which would thus bring about reforms on laws particularly dealing with political parties, media, and elections.  | SANA English

Another round of Friday protests broke out across Syria.  Conflict areas included Deraa, several Damascus suburbs, Homs, Hama, Zabadani, Madaya, the northwestern province of Idlib, and the Kurdish northeast.  Syrian activists called for protests to be labeled “Children’s Friday,” dedicated to the dozens of children killed during the unrest.  | ReutersAl Jazeera English

At least ten protesters were killed in Hama in the midst of one of the biggest demonstrations the city has witnessed so far.  Syrian forces also fired at protesters in Deir al-Zor and in Damascus’ Barzeh district.  | Reuters


Security forces killed at least thirteen civilians in the central town of Rastan. Forty-one people, including a four-year-old girl, were also killed when military forces shelled the town on Tuesday. In addition, nine people were killed in the town of Hirak by snipers in the midst of house raids. | Reuters; Reuters

Hundreds of political prisoners were freed following the general amnesty issued by President Bashar al-Assad, with most of those released coming from Banias, Homs, Latakia, Deraa, suburbs of Damascus, and the eastern Hasaka region. Rights groups estimate more than 10,000 people have been arrested since the beginning of the unrest in March. | Reuters


President Bashar al-Assad issued a general amnesty pardoning all political crimes committed before May 31, 2011 to cover all members of political movements, including the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Syrian opposition members, currently meeting in Antalya, Turkey, quickly dismissed the amnesty offer as being too little, too late.  | SANA English; Reuters; Al Jazeera

May 31

Military troops, tanks, and helicopters surrounded the towns of Rastan and Talbisa and other villages near the city of Homs. Amid the expanding military crackdown, at least fourteen civilians were killed and many others injured and arrested. Residents say water, electricity, and communications were cut after forces moved in. | Reuters; Al Jazeera; New York Times

Military forces killed at least twelve protestors during demonstrations occurring in 91 locations across Syria. This Friday’s death toll is significantly lower than that of previous Fridays, possibly signaling that the regime is attempting to avoid further international pressure or isolation. | Reuters; BBC; New York Times

May 27

Three protestors were killed in the town of Dael near the city of Deraa amid protests on Thursday night.  Other demonstrations took place overnight and early Friday in the cities of Latakkia, Banias, Jableh, Hama, Homs, and in the northern province of Idlib. | Reuters, The Daily Star

Reflecting the evolution and increasing resilience of the nine-week uprising, protestors have moved their daily anti-government demonstrations to the evening.  The new strategy, called ‘tayyara (Arabic for ‘flying’), is intended to elude security forces by making it more difficult for troops to shoot or identify demonstrators.  | New York Times 

May 26

Syrian opposition groups and activists announced plans to meet in Antalya, Turkey, from May 31 to June 2 to elect a transitional council, unite protestors, and provide the international community with a clear alternative to President Bashar Assad.  | Al Jazeera English

Syrian rights groups are claiming that over 1,000 people have been killed and another 10,000 arrested in the midst of the government crackdown on protests. | Al Jazeera English

In a largely symbolic move, Canada imposed sanctions on Syria forbidding Syrian leaders from traveling to Canada and banning trade between the two countries. | BBC News

May 24

The Syrian government condemned the newest EU sanctions targeting President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials. | SANA English

May 23

The European Union imposed sanctions on President Bashar al-Assad and nearly a dozen other officials. | Reuters 

Security forces killed at least 44 people after Friday prayers during mass protests across the country. According to residents in Damascus, troops even used knives and swords against civilians. | BBC News

May 20

Despite a heavy state security presence, large pro-democracy protests erupted in Banias, Damascus, Qamishli, Homs, and Hama. The demonstration in the coastal city of Banias was reported to have been the largest since the unrest began nine weeks ago.  Reuters; BBC News; Al Arabiya English

May 19

The Syrian government rebuffed U.S. sanctions that for the first time target President Assad in addition to other senior officials.  State news declared the move as ploy by the U.S. on behalf of its Israeli ally. The EU will implement similar measures while seeking a time table for political reform.  Al Jazeera; The Guardian

President Obama declared President Assad should either lead a transition to democracy or 'get out of the way.'  He also accused the government of seeking help from Iran in order to suppress public demonstrations. | CNN

May 18

The Obama administration will place sanctions on Syrian President Bashar Assad and six senior Syrian officials for human rights abuses. Officials from the Treasury Department are expected to announce the plan today. The sanctions will freeze the assets that Assad and others have in the U.S. and make it illegal for Americans to do business with them. | Washington Post

Tanks shelled the border town of Telkelakh for the fourth day in order to quell an anti-government protest. Activists estimate that at least 27 civilians have been killed since the siege began.  Authorities claim that more than 120 soldiers have died at the hands of Islamists and external powers. |  Reuters

Following sanctions imposed by the European Union, Switzerland announced new sanctions against Syria, which include an embargo on military assets and equipment, as well as financial sanctions and travel restrictions against thirteen Syrian officials. |  Al Jazeera

May 17

The Interior Ministry denied reports that a mass grave was discovered in the flashpoint city of Deraa, stating the reports are simply part of an “incitement and fabrication campaign.” Villagers claimed to have uncovered bodies of over a dozen men, women, and children. | SANA English; Reuters; CNN

Hundreds of Syrians continue to seek refuge in Lebanon as at least fifteen military tanks were dispatched to rural areas around Arida near the Lebanese border. Many refugees are crossing into Lebanon via the Nahar al-Kabir River, illegally bypassing border patrols in plain view of stationed Lebanese troops. | The Daily Star

May 16

At least seven people were killed in the midst of “indiscriminate shelling” by security forces in the town of Telkalakh, located near the border of Lebanon, sending thousands of Syrian civilians across the border into Lebanon. | Reuters; BBC English; Al Jazeera English; The Daily Star

Israeli forces killed four Syrians during an anti-Israeli protest on the Syrian side of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights border. Israeli forces also shot and wounded dozens of Palestinian refugees trying to break through the frontier fence from the Syrian side of the Golan Heights border. | Al Jazeera English; CNN; SANA English

May 13

Thousands of people took to the streets in anti-government demonstrations across Syria, particularly in the mainly Kurdish northeast region. Protests were also held in Homs and Hama and in the Midan, Barzeh, and Saqba districts of Damascus. | Al Jazeera English; Reuters; The Daily Star

President Bashar al-Assad reportedly ordered troops not to fire on anti-government protestors prior to Friday demonstrations. Activist Louay Hussein reported that an official spokeswoman said “definitive presidential orders have been issued not to shoot demonstrators and whoever violates this bears full responsibility.”  | Reuters; BBC English; Al Jazeera English 

U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said the United States and its allies will hold Syria accountable for its “brutal reprisals” against protestors and were looking for ways to further isolate and increase pressure on Assad to make democratic reforms and end the seven-week uprising.  | Reuters

May 12

Thousands of students gathered at Aleppo University demanding an end to the military crackdown. Security forces and pro-regime students broke up the crowd of an estimated 6,000 protestors, the largest student rally since the beginning of the unrest in March. | Los Angeles Times; BBC English

Continuing the military crackdown, tanks shelled the Bab Amro district of Homs and the southern town of al-Harah, killing at least 22 people. Several towns around Deraa were also raided, killing at least another eleven people. |  BBC English; Al Jazeera English 

The government announced that it had formed a commission to draft a new law on legislative elections within the next two weeks. |  SANA English

May 11

Amid continuing unrest, army tanks shelled the residential Bab Amro neighborhood of Homs. Towns around Deraa in the south have been raided and a western suburb of the capital Damascus has been cut off.  Military forces forbade the funerals of several protestors in Homs, fearing they might turn into demonstrations, according to witnesses. | Reuters; BBC Arabic; CNN

The Interior Ministry reported that 2,684 protestors have turned themselves in before the May 15 deadline for political amnesty. | SANA English 

Syrian authorities released 300 people detained in Banias and restored water, electricity, and telecommunications there as well, but 200 activists still remain imprisoned. Authorities have released several opposition figures, including Hassan Abdel Azim, spokesman of the Democratic National Alliance. | Reuters, Reuters

May 10

Tanks moved toward the restive city of Hama and a crackdown continued in Deraa, where dozens of people have reportedly been killed. The government insists “armed terrorists” are to blame for the uprisings.  | BBC News

The European Union has imposed an arms embargo and banned thirteen Syrian officials, including President Bashar al-Assad’s brother Maher, commander of the Republican Guard and his cousin Rami Makhlouf, a business tycoon, and intelligence chiefs.  | The Daily Star

May 9

The official state news agency reported 1,083 protestors have turned themselves in before the May 15 deadline for political amnesty. | SANA English

At least 27 people were killed on Friday
during the proclaimed “Day of Defiance.”  Demonstration turnout was 30 percent less than turnout on the previous Friday. | Wall Street Journal

Ten civilian workers on a bus returning from Lebanon were shot and killed near the city of Homs, allegedly by an armed terrorist group. | Sana English

May 6

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated that the Bashar al-Assad regime still has the potential to bring about reforms, and rejected the comparison with Libya. | Reuters

Tanks took up positions in flashpoint cities
including Baniyas, Homs, and Rastan. Troops were also deployed in the Damascus suburbs of Irbin, Saqba, Douma, and Tel. More than 1,000 people have reportedly been arrested in the last week. | Al Jazeera English; Al Jazeera English 

Thousands of anti-government protestors have taken to the streets across Syria in a “Day of Defiance.” Six people, five in Homs and one in Hama, have been killed. | Al Jazeera

Thousands of people clashed with police forces outside a mosque in central Damascus after Friday prayers. Sources claim that when protestors threw stones, security forces responded with tear gas and live rounds. | BBC News 

The European Union agreed today to impose sanctions on fourteen officials involved in the crackdown. | Al Jazeera English 

May 5

Troops arrested 300 people in an overnight raid of Sabqa, a Damascus suburb.  Troops also moved into Douma, Rastan (a town near Homs), and Baniyas. At least 500 have been killed and 2,500 more have been detained since protests began on March 15. Activists plan to hold a “Day of Defiance” on Friday in response. | BBC English; Al Jazeera English

A series of tanks and armored vehicles moved out of Deraa, a town besieged by security forces following a six-week long uprising. Authorities announced the army had completed its mission to root out “terrorists.” | Reuters

May 4

More than 1,000 people have been arrested in the state’s security sweep, according to a prominent human rights activist. | BBC Arabic 

May 3

Pro-democracy protesters have called for permanent sit-ins across Syria from Tuesday onward after the state’s recent crackdown. | Al Jazeera English 

Syrian security forces swept into the coastal city of Baniyas on Tuesday, according to a protest leader. | Al Jazeera English

Amnesty International released a statement saying the organization had received “first-hand reports of torture” from those caught up in the crackdown. | Al Jazeera English

A military source stated that Syrian army units and security forces continue their mission in the city of Deraa to keep track of what he called “armed terrorist groups,” arresting a number of people. A prominent Syrian rights activist said that more than 1,000 people have been arrested in the latest security sweep, and said many others were missing. | Al Jazeera (Arabic), Al Jazeera (English)

A demonstration took place in the field in the heart of Damascus, where protesters called for freedom and another demonstration in Arnous, Homs, Bab al-Sibaa, and Bab Idriss to demand an end to the siege on Deraa. The Facebook group Syrian Revolution 2011 has also called for Syrians to organize sit-ins in all public places. | Al Jazeera; Zawya

Officials said that tensions have developed between authorities in Syria and Hamas. Reports indicate that Hamas’ political wing was considering moving its base of operations to a safer locale, with some naming Doha as the likely spot. Both Syria and Hamas deny the reports. Hamas officials have stated that there had been some trouble with the Syrian authorities, as they refuse to condemn the ongoing protests in Syria. | UPI