Syria - live updates

Syria - live updates

Coverage of the events in Syria.  The majority of the updates here are via Reuters.
  • Colin.McDonald 9/11/2013 5:17:28 PM
    Carney defers on answering whether Syria should give up biological as well as chemical weapons as part of diplomatic proposal, continues to refer details of such a proposal to the U.N. and other discussions behind crafting final terms.
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/11/2013 5:20:53 PM
  • Colin.McDonald 9/11/2013 5:24:25 PM
    Pressed on the key role Russia is taking in the proposed diplomatic solution, and what has changed in the past 48 hours to suggest a change from Russia's history of dissembling over international action on Syria, Carney responds that the difference is the threat of U.S. military action.
  • by Josh Lederman via twitter edited by Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/11/2013 5:26:57 PM
    .@PressSec on Russia/Syria chem deal: "We are entering this with our eyes wide open"
  • Colin.McDonald 9/11/2013 5:31:02 PM
    Carney asked whether Assad's surrender of chemical weapons would insulate him from an international response should he continue attacks with conventional weapons. Carney said that the push for action on chemical weapons is separate from the White House's larger strategy to support the Syrian rebels and move towards a political long-term solution in Syria.
  • Colin.McDonald 9/11/2013 5:52:02 PM
    Carney asked whether he'd agree with the description of recent administration actions on foreign policy as a "zig zag." "Is that a shout out to Politico?" Carney responds, asking the press corps to consider that there have been many developments "along the way," including under the influence of a push for military action, that have required adjustments.
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/11/2013 5:52:04 PM
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with UN Syria envoy Brahimi in Geneva to hold at least two days of talks starting on Thursday, says State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki (Reuters reporting by Tabassum Zakaria and Paul Eckert)
  • The Senate's debating an energy bill - it does not include any amendments or motions related to #Syria .
  • Colin.McDonald 9/11/2013 6:29:19 PM
    An update from Reuters congressional reporter Patricia Zengerle (@ReutersZengerle), who is tracking the latest coming from Capitol Hill on Syria:

    Many members of Congress were openly relieved that the Russian plan had come along, giving them a reprieve before facing what looked like a very difficult vote on whether to authorize the use of military force in Syria. Many lawmakers expressed deep skepticism that the plan would go anywhere, more than two years into a bloody civil war in which Moscow has stood by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. But many expressed hope, and optimism. U.S. Representative Brad Sherman, a California Democrat, told reporters after a classified briefing on Syria on Wednesday morning that the Syria plan “was the best thing to come out of Russia since vodka.”
  • by Reuters World via twitter edited by Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/11/2013 7:32:35 PM
    Diplomatic efforts toward placing Syria's chemical weapons under international control intensified on Wednesday and U.N. investigators concluded Syrian government forces were almost certainly responsible for two May massacres that killed up to 450 civilians in the bloody civil war.

    A report by a U.N. commission of inquiry released in Geneva documented eight mass killings, attributing all but one to government forces. The report said both government and rebel fighters had committed war crimes including murder, hostage-taking and shelling of civilians. The commission, led by Paulo Pinheiro of Brazil, urged the U.N. Security Council to hold perpetrators accountable for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    The killings in Baida and Ras al-Nabaa, two pockets of rebel sympathizers surrounded by villages loyal to Assad on the outskirts of the town of Banias, did not involve fighting with rebels and appeared designed to send a message of deterrence.

    READ: Diplomatic efforts intensify on corralling Syrian chemical arms
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/11/2013 7:42:16 PM

    Video: Americans express mixed sentiments about Syrian action in the wake of President Obama's announcement that he is pursuing a diplomatic response to Syria even as he attempted to rally support for the option of military action. Deborah Gembara reports.

  • by Louis Charbonneau via twitter edited by Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/11/2013 7:42:46 PM
    Washington and Moscow are taking applause for a possible diplomatic bargain to have Syria hand over its chemical arsenal, reports Oliver Holmes. President Obama has put off a congressional vote on attacking Syria that he was likely to lose; Russia, having presented the idea, can now present itself as peacemaker after two years of Western criticism that it is shielding a tyrant.

    Continue reading: www.reuters.com
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/11/2013 8:05:06 PM
    Notes from Thomas Ferraro, Reuters Congressional Correspondent: 

    Republican Senator John McCain said on Wednesday that if diplomatic efforts fail to resolve a showdown between Syria and the United States, it may bolster President Barack Obama's chances of winning over a dubious public and Congress to support military strikes.

    “It's possible that if there is an unacceptable (Russian-backed diplomatic) proposal, that that would strengthen the president's hand,” McCain told a roundtable with reporters sponsored by The Wall Street Journal.

    "There may be a opening here that the president can go back to the American people and say, 'Look, I have exhausted every other avenue," McCain said. "And he can go back wavering members of Congress."


    According to a senior congressional aide, Obama made the same point during a private meeting the day before at the Capitol with fellow Democrats in the Senate.

    The aide said the president told members that if diplomacy fails to end the threat of chemical weapons in Syria, it may prompt the American public and Congress - as well as some more foreign allies - to back Obama’s call for limited military strikes against Syria in retaliation for its suspected use of chemical weapons.


  • Colin.McDonald 9/11/2013 8:05:30 PM
    More from Patricia Zengerle on Capitol Hill:

    Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland is a senior Democratic member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, but he said on Wednesday he was as surprised as anyone when President Barack Obama announced on August 31 that he had decided to seek Congress’ authorization before ordering missile strikes on Syria. Cardin told reporters he was actually at a television studio on Friday waiting to go on the air and talk about Syria, when an aide told him about the president’s announcement.

    His initial response, he said, was “unprintable,” he said, “I had already thought of what I was going to say.”
  • Nigel Stevenson (Reuters) 9/12/2013 10:58:23 AM

    #Syria update 3: #Putin writes NYT op-ed; thumbs his nose at Obama. http://t.co/QnyY79Nvt6 pic.twitter.com/TKpYBSzdI3

    — Jim Roberts (@nycjim) September 12, 2013

  • by norman smith via twitter edited by Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/12/2013 10:58:45 AM
    William Hague says PMs decision to rule out military action in Syria after Commons vote was "collectively agreed" by ministers
  • Nigel Stevenson (Reuters) 9/12/2013 11:00:27 AM

    "We should have known better than believe the US" - Aleppo rebels angry as diplomacy lets Assad off the hook http://t.co/IrBnNZVAVj #Syria

    — Guardian World (@guardianworld) September 12, 2013

  • Nigel Stevenson (Reuters) 9/12/2013 11:04:28 AM

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is welcomed by the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Ambassador Betty E. King after he arrives at Cointrin Airport in Geneva before meetings begin with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to discuss the ongoing problems in Syria, September 12, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing

  • Nigel Stevenson (Reuters) 9/12/2013 11:12:21 AM
    Recent updates on Syria:

    - Russia, U.S. work on deal to disarm Syria of poison gas: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flew into Geneva on Thursday to hear Russia's plans to disarm Syria of its chemical weapons and avert U.S.-led military strikes, an initiative that has transformed diplomacy over a two-and-a-half year old civil war.

    - Syrian warplanes bombed hospitals in rebel territory, say activists Read more

    - Putin says U.S. strike on Syria could escalate conflict: Russian President Vladimir Putin warns against a U.S. strike on Syria, saying such action risks escalating the conflict beyond that country and unleashing terrorist attacks.Read more

    - Photos: On the frontline in Syria
  • Yahoo News reports from Berlin... Syria crisis is exposing rifts in US-German ties yhoo.it/15mryUj
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/12/2013 4:28:41 PM
    Thomas Grove reports that Syrian President Assad said the government will send documents needed to join the international chemical weapons convention. Syria will fulfill an
    initiative to hand over its chemical weapons only when the United States stops
    threatening to strike Syria, RIA news agency quoted President Bashar al-Assad
    as saying in a television interview: 

    "In the next couple of days, Syria will send a petition to the United Nations and Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. ...  The petition will contain technical documents required to sign the agreement. After that, work will start that will lead to the signing of the convention prohibiting chemical weapons" - Syrian President Bashar al-Assad 



  • Nigel Stevenson (Reuters) 9/12/2013 4:32:26 PM
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/12/2013 4:42:38 PM
    U.N. has received documents from Syria's government concerning joining chemical weapons convention, a spokesperson says (Reuters)
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/12/2013 5:15:13 PM
    Exclusive from Foreign Policy: "U.N. inspectors have collected evidence on the use of nerve agents that points to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad using chemical weapons against his own people, according to a senior Western official. The inspection team is expected on Monday to present U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon with a report based on an examination of spent rocket casings, ammunition, and laboratory tests of soil, blood, and urine samples that points strongly in the direction of Syrian government culpability."

    READ: U.N. Report Will Point to Assad Regime in Massive Chemical Attack (free log-in required)
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/12/2013 5:28:58 PM

  • Colin.McDonald 9/12/2013 5:29:02 PM
    Americans have remained consistently dissatisfied with Obama's handling of the Syrian crisis over the past two weeks, according to Reuters/Ipsos polling:

  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/12/2013 5:34:07 PM
    U.S. State Department spokesperson says that Syria's anti-chemical weapons treaty accession document, which was sent to the United Nations for review, is not a substitute for actions to destroy their chemical arsenal. Spokeswoman Harf added that the U.S. will not allow Syria to use anti-chemical weapons treaty accession moves as a stalling tactic, and that U.S. military option is still on the table.

    Harf: U.S. accepts that the removal of Syrian chemical weapons will be complicated and "take some time" but wary of attempts by Syria or Russia to stall.
  • Kerry sort of rejects Syria's 30-day time frame: "we believe there is nothing standard about this process"
  • Lavrov tells Kerry that moving Syria from confrontation to peaceful resolution of conflict is "our common objective."
  • Colin.McDonald 9/12/2013 5:55:30 PM
    A noteworthy unscripted moment as the Kerry/Lavrov appearance came to a close, with Lavrov adding a few more words to his initial statement. Kerry missed what was said due to a faulty translation setup, and Lavrov made some sort of joke about what he said. Then:

    Kerry to Lavrov: "You want me to take your word for it? It's a little early for that."

    — David Chalian (@DavidChalian) September 12, 2013

  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/12/2013 6:00:37 PM
    Notes on Thursday's White House press briefing:

    - "Unlike Russia, the United States stands up for democratic values" - White House spokesperson Jay Carney says in live remarks
    - Carney says the United States will continue to support opposition groups in Syria.
    - "Words don't count... actions count" when it comes to Assad's regime.
    - Carney reiterates that the White House will not specify what types of assistance opposition groups are receiving.
    - UN will release report on its investigations regarding the August 21 chemical weapons attacks
  • by Roger Simon via twitter edited by Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/12/2013 6:17:14 PM
    Carney: "Three weeks ago Syria would not admit it had chemical weapons. ... diplomatic road (with Russia and Syria) may or may not be successful. ... defies logic and credibility that the Syrian rebels used chemical weapons rather than Assad."
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/12/2013 6:32:42 PM
    Readers, we've experienced an issue with uploading our live video of the press briefing -- but you can go to www.reuters.com to see the live video there.
  • Louis Charbonneau 9/12/2013 6:33:11 PM
    While Kerry and Lavrov are meeting in Geneva to hammer out a deal to rid Syria of toxic chemical munitions, there is a great deal of anticipation here in NY about the U.N. chemical weapons investigators' upcoming report. According to French U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud it's tentatively coming out on Monday. According to diplomats following the investigation, the U.N. experts, led by Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom, will confirm the U.S. assessment about an Aug. 21 chemical attack on Damascus suburbs that killed over 1,400 people -- namely that sarin gas was used. www.reuters.com

    Due to limitations on Sellstrom's mandate, the report will not explicitly blame anyone for the Aug. 21 attack. But Western diplomats said that the facts in the report would likely hint at Syrian government culpability. (Syria's government blames the rebels for the Aug. 21 chemical attack.)

    Meanwhile, Syria has handed over a document to the U.N. that will enable Damascus to accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention, the global anti-chemical weapons treaty (Syria is one of only seven nations that haven't signed it). Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told Russian television that the document would arrive in a few days, but U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq said they got it this morning. It is currently being translated. www.trust.org

    A few days ago, Syria wouldn't even admit to having chemical weapons. Now it appears to be rushing to give up its poison gas arsenal under threat of possible U.S. air strikes to deter it from deploying such weapons...
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/12/2013 7:56:39 PM
    Syria's UN envoy says "legally speaking" Syria is now a full member of global anti-chemical weapons treaty (Reuters)
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/12/2013 8:09:12 PM

    President Obama convenes a meeting of his cabinet members at the White House on September 12, though Secretary of State John Kerry was missing from the discussion. Kerry was in Geneva to discuss the Syrian chemical weapon situation. Obama told those gathered, “I am hopeful that the discussions that Secretary has with Foreign Minister Lavrov as well as some of the other players in this, will yield a concrete result.”

  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/12/2013 9:54:50 PM
    Historian Matthew Pinsker writes in USA Today: "Decisive presidents sometimes make catastrophic mistakes, but so do ill-informed Congresses. War can be declared, but war-making must not be limited by pre-emptive resolutions or public opinion polls. Instead, we must recognize that the template for America's crisis leadership begins, but does not end, with a commander in chief fully prepared to accept his responsibilities alone."

    READ: Obama fails Lincoln lesson on Syria
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/16/2013 4:51:59 PM
    Reuters' John Irish reports: France said on Monday it was confident that a deal could be reached with Russia on a U.N. resolution over Syria's chemical weapons program. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told RTL radio that the U.N. inspectors report regarding an Aug. 21 chemical attack that was published on Monday showed there was "no doubt" the Syrian government was behind it.
  • by UK Mission Geneva via twitter edited by Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/16/2013 4:52:11 PM
    Read UK statement on report on Syria byCommission of Inquiry, HRC 24 gov.uk/government/wor…
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/16/2013 4:54:54 PM

    Full Document: United Nations Mission to Investigate Allegations of the Use of Chemical Weapons in the Syrian Arab Republic. Report on the Alleged Use of Chemical Weapons in the Ghouta Area of Damascus on 21 August 2013. Original Source: www.un.org

  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/16/2013 5:20:48 PM
    Reuters' Jonathon Burch and Nick Tattersall report: Turkey will provide the U.N. Security Council and fellow members of the NATO military alliance with details of the circumstances of its shooting down on Monday of a Syrian helicopter, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said. Turkish warplanes shot down the Syrian Mi-17 helicopter after it violated Turkish airspace following repeated warnings, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said earlier.
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/16/2013 5:51:39 PM
    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will host China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a meeting and working lunch on Thursday at which Syria and North Korea will be discussed, the State Department said on Monday.

    "While this meeting has been planned for some time, we do expect the secretary and foreign minister to discuss current issues, such as the DPRK (North Korea) and Syria," spokeswoman Marie Harf told a regular news briefing. China has welcomed a deal reached by the United States and Russia to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons arsenal.
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/16/2013 6:01:25 PM
    U.S.' and Britain's UN envoys said on Monday that the UN chemical weapons report leaves "no remaining doubt" it was the Assad regime behind the attacks on August 21, 2013. The U.S. envoy to the UN added that the Syrian government has sarin gas and that there is "no evidence" the opposition does. (Reuters Wire)
  • natalie.armstrong 9/16/2013 10:07:09 PM

    U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon confirms that sarin gas was used in the Aug. 21st attack on a Damascus suburb but stopped short of assigning blame for the incident which killed over 1,400 people. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/17/2013 4:31:55 PM
    Diplomats from the United States, Russia, Britain, France and China will meet in New York on Tuesday to discuss a Western-drafted resolution on eradicating Syria's chemical arsenal in line with a U.S.-Russian agreement, a U.S. official said.

    "Today, the P5 members of the U.N. Security Council (U.S., UK, France, Russia, China) will meet to discuss the joint P3 (U.S., UK, France) draft Security Council Resolution on Syria's chemical weapons program," Erin Pelton, spokeswoman for the U.S. mission to the United Nations, said in an email. "In order to respect the integrity of these negotiations, we will not be reading out the details of today's meeting or the draft Resolution," she said.
  • Obama has been indecisive and wishy-washy on Syria. Why a lack of resolve is actually a strength: wapo.st/1eLGjps
  • natalie.armstrong 9/17/2013 4:35:19 PM

    Amateur video purports to show the shooting down of a Syrian helicopter by Turkey. Paul Chapman reports.

  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/17/2013 4:36:18 PM
  • Five big U.N. powers to meet on Syria draft on Tuesday: U.S. reut.rs/1aI6CHS
  • by RobertMackey via twitter edited by Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/17/2013 6:55:13 PM

    Here is Human Rights Watch map showing likely flight paths of rockets used in Aug. 21 attack in Syria, based on UN report findings.

  • Syria Meets First Deadline on Chemical Weapons Pact nyti.ms/1aaUb6D
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/20/2013 8:59:30 PM

    US calls for quick Syria chemical weapons deal

  • by Reuters World via twitter edited by Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/20/2013 8:59:34 PM
    Hollande to urge Iran to help seek political solution for Syria reut.rs/18GT7Kn
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 10/7/2013 2:35:47 PM
    Syria is starting to destroy its chemical weapons arsenal, but an opposition activist says the world is giving President Assad more time to gain an advantage in the civil war. Read more.

    Photo: An Islamic flag hangs in the middle of a damaged neighborhood in Homs on October 3, 2013. REUTERS/Yazen Homsy 
    by Margarita Noriega (Reuters)

     
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