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Syria

01.04.2013

Fierce fighting between Syrian rebels and regime forces has led to an exodus of residents from the Sheikh Maqsud district of the northern city of Aleppo, according to a watchdog group Al Jazeera reported.

Violence also engulfed areas in and around Damascus on Sunday, where children were among eight civilians killed in shelling of Kafar Batna village, while a missile struck the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp in Damascus causing more casualties.

01.04.2013

Three hand grenades and 90 bullets were found on one of the Syrian refugees who was taken to hospital in the Turkish province of Kilis, the Akşam newspaper reported on Monday.

The Syrian refugee, whose name is not disclosed, was taken to hospital for treatment of wounds received in the fighting in Syria. The hospital staff found hand grenades and bullets on him which were handed over to the country's security services. A criminal case has been filed.

22.03.2013

A car bomb targeting a mosque in Damascus on Thursday killed at least 16 people, including a prominent pro-regime Sunni clergyman, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights activist group said, DPA reported.
The blast hit the Iman mosque in the neighborhood of al-Mazraa in the capital, the Britain-based group added in an emailed statement.

State television blamed the death of Sheikh Mohamed Saeed al-Bouti on "terrorist gangs", a term used by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad to refer to rebels fighting for his overthrow.

20.03.2013

The Arab League on Wednesday welcomed the appointment of an interim prime minister by the Syrian opposition, calling it a sign of unity, dpa reported.

"The Arab League resolutions have long called on the Syrian opposition forces to unify their efforts and forge a common political consensus," said the head of the pan-Arab grouping Nabil al-Arabi.

"The latest development marks a step in this direction."

18.03.2013

Syrian rebels on Sunday seized a Syrian military intelligence compound in the southern Hauran Plain near the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, stepping up attacks in the strategic region which stretches to the outskirts of the capital Damascus, rebel commanders said, Reuters reported.

The frontier, quiet since Israel and Syria agreed on a U.S.-brokered ceasefire in 1974, has turned volatile in recent weeks, after opposition brigades stepped up attacks against army and intelligence compounds dotting the agricultural plain stretching from the border with Jordan to the Damascus outskirts.

18.03.2013

The European Union's foreign policy chief has urged caution about a Franco-British drive to lift an EU arms embargo to help opposition forces in Syria, questioning the impact such a step might have on attempts to reach a political settlement there Today`s Zaman reported.

Other EU governments rebuffed efforts by Paris and London at an EU summit on Friday to lift the Syrian arms embargo to help opponents of President Bashar al-Assad, although they asked foreign ministers to discuss it again this week.

12.03.2013

Supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a "religious obligation" of all Muslims, whether they live inside or outside of Syria, the country's supreme religious ruling body said Monday, Al Arabiya reported.

The state television quoted Grand Mufti Shiekh Ahmad Badreddine Hassoun as urging all Arabs and Muslims to fight so called "enemies of Syria."

The Assad government had recently claimed in an interview with The Sunday Time that it was the last "secular" state in the Middle East, reiterating that radical Islamists would come into power if the Alawite president was overthrown.

12.03.2013

Russia has once again expressed opposition to foreign intervention in Syria and said that foreigners backing extremist oppositionists are hindering a peaceful solution to the nearly two-year-long Syrian crisis, Press TV reports.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made the remarks on Monday in Moscow during a meeting with a delegation of the so-called National Coordination Committee for the Forces of Democratic Change (NCC), the official SANA news agency reported.

08.03.2013

Syrian rebels have offered to release 21 seized Filipino UN peacekeepers if they can hand them over to the Red Cross, a Philippine military spokesman said Friday, dpa reported.

"The Syrian opposition forces are willing to release the peacekeepers," Colonel Arnulfo Burgos said.

"They want the Red Cross to pick them up, the Red Cross will be the ones to escort them," he told reporters in Manila.

Burgos said the Syrian rebels wanted to ensure "a safer ground" for the release of the Filipinos, who they seized on Wednesday in the Golan Heights while fetching supplies.

04.03.2013

The clashes between the Free Syrian Army and government forces in different parts of the country resulted in deaths of at least 152 people over the past day, Al Jazeera reported on Monday.

According to the channel, most of the victims are residents of Damascus.

Anti-government protests have continued in Syria for about two years. According to UN, the total number of victims of the conflict in Syria exceeds 70,000 with around three million in need of humanitarian assistance. The Syrian authorities say they oppose the well-armed militants.