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Chechens played key role in Syria, honed skills before returning home

Omar al Chechen and fighters from the Muhajireen Brigade in Syria.

Special to WASHINGTON — Chechen fighters have been playing a major role in Syria. Opposition sources and Western analysts agreed that Saudi Arabia has facilitated the recruitment of more than 1,000 Islamist fighters from Russia’s autonomous Chechnya. They said the Chechens significantly bolstered their presence in the Sunni revolt in Syria since Riyad [...]

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Sources: Syrian jihad coming to Egypt with help from Turkey, Qatar and Obama

A fighter celebrates after firing a missile toward a building where Syrian troops were hiding. /

Special to Yossef Bodansky, Senior Editor, Global Information System / Defense & Foreign Affairs The struggle for Egypt is on the verge of a major escalation as the key sponsors of the jihadist cause in Syria are now committed to a similar campaign against Egypt. The overall strategic objective is to prevent the emergence [...]

Posted in BB Middle East,Egypt,Exclusives,Life,Mideast,Recent Hits,Syria,Top Stories | Read More »

Syria hell: Fear and famine stalk a war-ravaged land

Hell: Food lines in February in Damascus await assistance by the UN’s Relief and Works Agency.   Daily Telegraph

UNITED NATIONS — Syria’s harrowing civil war has taken a new turn as the beleaguered Mid East country now faces a deepening drought and food crisis in the midst of an expanding conflict. UN relief agencies warn that the drought may cut food production thus adding to the country’s woes. With over nine million Syrian [...]

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Death toll nears 3,000 in battle between rival Al Qaida militias

Foreign-backed militants in Syria

Special to NICOSIA — The war between Al Qaida militias has resulted in heavy casualties in Syria. Opposition sources said nearly 3,000 people have been killed in the war between Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and rival Islamist militias. They said ISIL was focusing its attacks on the rival Al Qaida-aligned Nusra [...]

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Assad’s cousin killed by sniper in northern Syria near Latakia

Hilal Assad

Special to WASHINGTON — President Bashar Assad has lost a close relative as well as a leading commander in the war against Sunni rebels in Syria. Opposition sources said Hilal Assad was killed by a sniper in the northern city town of Kassab near Latakia. The sources said the 46-year-old Hilal was a first [...]

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Sources: U.S. urges Israel to attack Syrian forces threatening CIA-trained rebels in Golan

A truck carries an Israeli Merkava tank making its way to the Israeli-Syrian border in the center of the Golan Heights.  /EPA

Special to LONDON — The United States is pressuring Israel to attack the Syrian military in the Golan Heights. Western diplomatic sources said the administration of President Barack Obama has urged Israel to stop a Syrian Army advance toward U.S.-trained rebels in the Golan Heights. The sources said the rebels, trained and sent from [...]

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Israeli intel: Assad used chemical agent in March ‘that neutralizes but does not kill’

Columns of smoke rising from heavy shelling in the Jobar neighborhood in west Damascus.  /AP/Hassan Ammar)

Special to TEL AVIV — Syrian President Bashar Assad was said to have renewed chemical attacks on Sunni rebels. Israel’s intelligence community has determined that Assad approved limited CW attacks against rebels. Intelligence sources said the community determined that Syrian security forces were using a non-lethal CW agent meant to block rebel operations. “This [...]

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Turkey reports Russian missile systems radar-locked on its F-16s near Syria

Turkish Air Force F-16

Special to ANKARA — Turkey has determined that the Syrian military was deploying a range of Russian-origin air defense systems along its border. The Turkish military said the Syrian military was using at least three surface-to-air missile systems to track the Turkish Air Force. The military identified the systems as the SA-2, SA-5, SA-11 [...]

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Leader of Moroccan Islamist fighters killed in Syria

A tank belonging to forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is seen at one of the sites in Latakia mountains, after they took control of it from rebel fighters, April 3.  /Reuters/SANA

Special to NICOSIA — A leading foreign fighter has been killed in the rebel war in Syria. Rebel sources said Ibrahim Bin Chekroun was killed in the rebel offensive in the coastal Syrian province of Latakia. The sources said Bin Chekroun led hundreds of Moroccan fighters under an organization called Islam Al Sham. “The [...]

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Assad’s forces raid rebel strongholds in southern Damscus suburbs

The Syrian army plans to conduct a series of new military operations and open new fronts in Eastern Ghouta.

Special to NICOSIA — The regime of President Bashar Assad has intensified counter-rebel operations around the Syrian capital. Syrian rebels as well as officials have reported regime assaults on the southern suburbs of Damascus. They said the operation was meant to facilitate the capture of Eastern Ghouta, long held by rebels. “Government forces have [...]

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