Syria - live updates

Syria - live updates

Coverage of the events in Syria.  The majority of the updates here are via Reuters.
  • Nigel Stevenson (Reuters) 9/10/2013 11:18:32 AM
  • Nigel Stevenson (Reuters) 9/10/2013 11:20:08 AM

    Syria: how a gaffe could stop a war | Jonathan Freedland

    — Jonathan Freedland (@Freedland) September 10, 2013

  • WaPo: Most important 'takeaway' what Obama said to @DianeSawyer : "absolutely" back from brink IF #Syria gives up #CW
  • Nigel Stevenson (Reuters) 9/10/2013 11:33:30 AM

    Free Syrian Army fighters dig trenches at the Jabal al-Akrad area in Syria's northwestern Latakia province, September 4, 2013. Picture taken September 4, 2013. REUTERS/Khattab Abdulaa

  • Colin.McDonald 9/10/2013 4:49:31 PM
    John Irish of Reuters reports: Russia's ambassador to France said Moscow was ready to negotiate a U.N. resolution that foresees international control of Syria's chemical weapons, but ruled out a recourse to use force to impose it.... Orlov said he had doubts over France's intentions by calling for a Chapter VII resolution of the U.N. charter which could enable the use of force.

    Also, from Thomas Grove of Reuters: Russia told France on Tuesday that a proposal to adopt a U.N. Security Council resolution holding the Syrian government responsible for the possible use of chemical weapons was unacceptable. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his French counterpart that Moscow would propose a U.N. draft declaration supporting its initiative to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    Essentially, Russia seems to be seeking more say in the U.N. over the final form of the proposal being traced back today to conversations between Lavrov and John Kerry, perhaps owing to ongoing Syria tensions between Russia and France, the U.S. and other European UNSC members. Reuters U.N. bureau chief Lou Charbonneau reports on Twitter that Russia may be seeking less than a binding U.N. resolution. It remains to be seen how this will factor into U.S. and others' evaluations of how viable and genuine the Syria proposal may be.

    #Russia says to support "presidential statement" (not binding resolution) at UN Security Council on #Syria CW plan - @reuters

    — louis charbonneau (@lou_reuters) September 10, 2013

  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/10/2013 7:53:13 PM

    Reuters Thomas Grove reports Tuesday's comments by the Syrian foreign minister on Russia's proposal to hand over Syrian chemical weapons to international control: 

    "We want to join the convention on the prohibition of chemical weapons. We are ready to observe our obligations in accordance with that convention, including providing all information about these weapons. 

    "We are ready to declare the location of the chemical weapons, stop production of the chemical weapons, and show these (production) facilities to representatives of Russia and other United Nations member states," Walid al-MoualemMoualem on Russian state television on Tuesday 

  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/10/2013 7:56:42 PM

    U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to meet with Russia's Lavrov in Geneva on Thursday to discuss the Syrian chemical weapons proposal, U.S. officials tell Reuters. 
  • Colin.McDonald 9/10/2013 7:57:01 PM
    Reuters: The White House says that Obama, Hollande and Cameron spoke by phone on Tuesday about their preference for a diplomatic resolution on Syria and the importance of continuing to develop a "full range of responses" to Syria's chemical weapons use.

    For his part, Putin says that the plan for Syria to hand over its chemical weapons will only work if the United States rejects the use of force, and that he hopes the plan will be a "good step toward a peaceful solution" in Syria.
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/10/2013 7:59:50 PM

    Video: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stresses the need for action in Syria

  • deborah.charles 9/10/2013 8:07:46 PM
    Right before Kerry left the hearing he was pretty insistent that there would be no slippery slope into Syria. Here's what he said: “I keep hearing people saying they don’t want to go into Syria. We’re not going into Syria. I don’t see any route by which we slide into going to Syria. I don’t see the slippery slope. People say you are going to get dragged in. I do not see it. We have a very clear distinction here. There are people who want to fight this war in Syria. Not us. We’re helping them.”

    Meanwhile, Rick Cowan (@rcowan on Twitter) on Capitol Hill about the group of senators who are working to modify a congressional resolution authorizing US military force in Syria to include a strict timeline for Syria to turn over chemical weapons. A source familiar with the negotiations says the senators involved in the negotiations include John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Kelly Ayotte, Saxby Chambliss, Chuck Schumer, Chris Coons, Carl Levin and Bob Casey. Robert Menendez is in the discussions and the White House is being kept apprised.
  • deborah.charles 9/10/2013 9:12:59 PM
    The White House issued a statement on Tuesday announcing that eight more countries signed onto the joint statement on Syria issued on September 6. There are now a total of 33 countries who signed the statement condemning Syria for the Aug. 21 chemical weapons attack. Those countries are:

    - Georgia
    - Guatemala
    - Kuwait
    - Malta
    - Montenegro
    - Panama
    - Poland
    - Portugal

    You can see the full White House statement here:
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/10/2013 9:46:35 PM

    Video: PBS interview with President Obama, September 9, 2013.

  • Colin.McDonald 9/11/2013 1:14:20 AM
    Laying out the Russia proposal, Obama says that he's asked the leaders of Congress to postpone military authorization votes while weighing the plan, while he continues conversations with Putin and John Kerry further engages Russian diplomats.
  • Colin.McDonald 9/11/2013 1:16:04 AM
    Obama says that he's ordered the U.S. military to remain in place to keep pressure on Assad while the international community weighs the latest developments. Not much explicit skepticism here about the Russian proposal, though implied in the various steps that Obama mentioned the U.N., Russia, Syria and China must take in order to move forward diplomatically.
  • Colin.McDonald 9/11/2013 1:16:44 AM
    "Our ideas and principles, as well as our national security, are at stake in Syria," Obama says.
  • Colin.McDonald 9/11/2013 1:17:37 AM
    "When, with modest effort and risk, we can keep children from being gassed to death," we have the obligation to act, Obama says, as he brings his speech to a close after about 15 minutes.
  • Jeremy Schultz 9/11/2013 1:18:45 AM

    REUTERS/Evan Vucci/POOL

  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/11/2013 1:22:59 AM
    RESOURCE: Draft transcript of Obama's speech on Syria (NYT)

    Here is the Washington Post's full transcript version:
  • Colin.McDonald 9/11/2013 1:27:14 AM
    Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post wrote earlier about keeping Obama's intended audience in mind tonight, suggesting he might switch to a more international focus rather than a direct appeal to Americans and Congress in light of the Syria/Russia developments.

    The president proceeded to retain a focus on making his case to all Americans, laying out evidence of the Syrian chemical attack and encouraging people to watch video evidence on the White House website. He devoted time to outlining risks to U.S. national security from a route of inaction, and while he briefly broke down the proposal for Syria to surrender its chemical weapons arsenal, it felt like less of an appeal to global leaders than an explanation to Americans (and perhaps even those in Congress) who might have been thrown by this fast-moving potential alternative to strikes.

    And of course, Obama ended his speech on a refrain from the past two weeks -- that of America's unique role in the world and its ability to counter a horror like a chemical attacks with justifiable risks and military outlays. As the Post's Karen Tumulty put it:

    Early in his presidency, Obama was accused of rejecting American Exceptionalism. tonight, it was the basis of his argument.

    — Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) September 11, 2013

  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/11/2013 1:34:00 AM
    RNC Statement Following the President’s Address on Syria 

    Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus released the following statement following the president’s address to the nation on Syria: 

    “The administration’s handling of the U.S. response to Syria has been so haphazard it’s disappointed even the president’s most ardent supporters,” said Chairman Priebus. “This rudderless diplomacy has embarrassed America on the world stage. For a president who campaigned on building American credibility abroad, the lack of leadership coming from the Oval Office is astounding.

  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/11/2013 1:37:00 AM

    President Barack Obama on Tuesday urged Americans to support his call to punish Syria's regime for the alleged use of chemical weapons, adding it was too early to say whether a diplomatic effort by Russia to negotiate Syrian chemical weapons out of the country would work.

    READ: In speech, Obama speaks of negotiation and preparedness

    "It's too early to tell whether this offer will succeed," Obama said during a prime-time address from the White House, referring to a proposal by Russia. "And any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments. But this initiative has the potential to remove the threat of chemical weapons without the use of force."

    Photo: U.S. President Barack Obama arrives at the East Room at the White House in Washington, DC on September 10, 2013. REUTERS/Evan Vucci/POOL

  • by KateNocera via twitter edited by Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/11/2013 1:41:25 AM
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/11/2013 1:44:18 AM
    Reuters Steve Holland and Jeff Mason report: President Barack Obama vowed to pursue a diplomatic initiative from Russia over Syria's chemical weapons on Tuesday but voiced skepticism about it and urged Americans to support his threat to use military force.

    Obama said in a White House speech that a Russian offer to push Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to place chemical weapons under international control offered the possibility of heading off the type of limited military strike he is considering against Syria.

    Speaking from the White House's East Room, Obama said U.S. and Russian officials would keep talking about the initiative and that he would discuss it with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    READ: Obama vows to explore Russian offer on Syria
  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/11/2013 1:52:19 AM

    PBS NewsHour Video: President Obama pressed his case to take a firm stand on Syria's use of chemical weapons on its own citizens. New York Times columnist David Brooks and Syndicated Columnist Mark Shields provide analysis.

  • Margarita Noriega (Reuters) 9/11/2013 1:58:21 AM
    Reuters Louis Charbonneau reports on a French draft that would hand Syria ultimatum to give up chemical arms:

    An initial French draft U.N. Security Council resolution would demand that Syria make a complete declaration of its chemical weapons program within 15 days and immediately open all related sites to U.N. inspectors or face possible punitive measures.

    The draft resolution, seen by Reuters on Tuesday, adds that the Security Council would intend "in the event of non-compliance by the Syrian authorities with the provisions of this resolution ... to adopt further necessary measures under Chapter VII" of the U.N. Charter.

    Chapter 7 of the U.N. Charter covers the 15-nation Security Council's power to take steps ranging from sanctions to military interventions. It is the reference to Chapter 7, U.N. diplomats say, that has made the Russia reluctant to support the initial French draft.
  • TEXT-French U.N. Security Council draft on ultimatum for #Syria to give up chemical weapons… @reuters
  • Nigel Stevenson (Reuters) 9/11/2013 9:23:04 AM
  • Nigel Stevenson (Reuters) 9/11/2013 9:23:44 AM
  • Nigel Stevenson (Reuters) 9/11/2013 9:29:40 AM

    #UN quietly begins debating resolution to see #Syria chemical arms dismantled

    — (@haaretzcom) September 11, 2013

  • Obama offers Assad diplomatic way out – but insists America must bear burdens of leadership if it fails #Syria
  • Nigel Stevenson (Reuters) 9/11/2013 9:35:54 AM
  • Nigel Stevenson (Reuters) 9/11/2013 9:49:55 AM

    Syrian Electronic Army compromises 200+ Twitter and Facebook accounts associated with Fox TV

    — IBTimes UK (@IBTimesUK) September 11, 2013

  • Nigel Stevenson (Reuters) 9/11/2013 9:53:40 AM

    Reuters Graphic illustrating the battle for control in Syria

  • 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)
  • 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 

  • 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
  • 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 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
  • 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).

  • Syria Meets First Deadline on Chemical Weapons Pact
  • 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
  • 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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