January 19, 2012
Posted: 618 GMT
He was the first Arab leader to call for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down, yet after months of violence and a less than successful effort by the Arab League to stop the killing of protesters, King Abdullah of Jordan says don't expect change in Syria overnight.
"I don't see Syria going through many changes. I think what you're seeing in Syria today, you will continue to see for a while longer," Abdullah said in an interview with CNN's Security Clearance blog.
"It's a very complicated puzzle and there is no simple solution. If you can imagine Iraq being a simple solution to move Iraq into the light a couple of years ago and it's different in Libya, so it has everybody stumped and I don't think anybody has a clear answer on what to do about Syria."
Read the whole story here.
July 19, 2011
Posted: 300 GMT
Lebanon's prime minister has said his government will support the United Nations-backed tribunal that is investigating the killing of a previous Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.
"Whatever we can do from our side," Najib Mikati told CNN’s Richard Quest, "we are going to do it fully."
Hariri, a wealthy entrepreneur turned politician, died when his motorcade passed a bomb that exploded in Beirut on February 14, 2005.
Supporters say he was killed because of his opposition to Syrian influence in Lebanon. His death prompted mass protests that led to the withdrawal of Syrian troops who had been in Lebanon for nearly 30 years.
Read the full interview on CNN Arabic here.
June 7, 2011
Posted: 922 GMT
Israel and the United States on Monday blamed Syria for violent protests on the country's border with the occupied Golan Heights.
May 17, 2011
Posted: 1220 GMT
Clashes between pro-Palestinian protesters and Israeli forces erupted along Israel's borders and occupied territories Sunday, leaving at least 12 dead on a Palestinian mourning day marking the birth of the Jewish state.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decried what he called "violent demonstrations" aimed at undermining Israel's existence.
"We hope for the peace and restfulness to return quickly, but no one should be mistaken - we are determined to defend our borders and our sovereignty," Netanyahu said.
The conflicts broke out on "Nakba Day." Nakba - Arabic for "catastrophe" - marks the period when more than 700,000 Arabs were displaced from their homes during fighting that followed the creation of Israel in 1948.
Two protesters were killed and 170 were wounded Sunday when fighting broke out in the Golan Heights area, the Syrian Arab News Agency said. And at least 10 were killed and 112 others were injured in clashes along the line of demarcation with Lebanon, Lebanon's state news agency reported. Read more...
April 7, 2011
Posted: 806 GMT
"This is our happy-land," said Hamad Awidat standing next to a minefield in Majdal Shams, a village in the Israeli-controlled northern Golan Heights, as he points at the Syrian side of the disengagement line.
Nestled on a hillside with an Israeli Army base situated at its center this Druze village is a mere stone's throw away from Syrian-controlled land, but because of the minefields separating its residents from their families on the other side, it might as well be a world away.
"I would rather live under a Syrian dictatorship, than under an Israeli democracy," said the 26 year-old television producer who harbors no illusions about the economic benefits of living on what he calls the "wrong side of the minefield."
"Economically I can tell you the situation here is not perfect but very good. You can see, it's very good. We live in a nice situation. We are working, making money. It's nice. But because of the pressure of the political situation, we cannot enjoy much with our money. This is the problem," he said, taking another drag on his cigarette.
The political no man's land of people living in Majdal Shams and the villages of Buqata, Mas'ada and Ein Kuniya puts them in a unique situation in the Middle East, a region where the unusual, strange and sometimes downright bizarre meet on a daily basis.
The Druze are a secretive monotheistic religious sect that trace their origins to 11th Century Egypt. They number about a quarter of a million with most concentrated in Syria, Israel and Lebanon.
While many of the Druze living inside Israel today have Israeli nationality and are staunchly loyal to the Jewish State, their counterparts in the northern Golan rejected Israeli nationality in 1981 and have remained loyal to Syria until this day.
April 5, 2011
Posted: 1016 GMT
April 3, 2011
Posted: 1050 GMT
The anti-regime demonstrations pulsating across Syria have resulted in a security hunt for snipers and a wave of arrests Saturday.
Syrian security forces are searching for members of an "armed group" that killed "a number of citizens and security forces" in the Damascus suburb of Douma on Friday, the Syrian Arab News Agency reported on Saturday.
SANA cited an unidentified official source as saying that snipers from the group fired at civilians and security forces from rooftops. This is disputed by activists and eyewitnesses who told CNN that government snipers fired shots at unarmed protesters and government forces beat demonstrators.
"Security forces are pursuing the members of the armed group that terrorized the citizens through firing randomly," SANA reported, citing the source who doesn't identify the group in question.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said security forces in the volatile southern city of Daraa and in Homs arrested on Saturday about 20 people who had demonstrated the day before.
Protests on Friday swept through Syria, one of the latest Arab countries to endure grassroots discontent.
Another person was killed in Al Sanameen near Daraa. SANA reported that a girl was killed when the armed group opened fire on civilians in the city of Homs. Read more...
March 27, 2011
Posted: 1041 GMT
Violent protests erupted Friday in Syria, with dozens of people killed in and around the restive city of Daraa and a boy slain in the coastal town of Latakia, reports said.
"The situation in Syria has worsened considerably over the past week, with the use of live ammunition and tear gas by the authorities having resulted in a total of at least 37 people being killed in Daraa , including two children," said Rupert Colville, a spokesman for the U.N.'s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Among the dead were 15 people who tried to march to Daraa, sources said, and nine others who died when security forces fired on demonstrators in Daraa's main square, said Wissam Tarif, a human rights activist.
There were many casualties in Daraa, said Abdullah, who asked that his full name not be reported due to security concerns. He said he saw Friday's events in the city, where deadly clashes have taken place in recent days between security forces and protesters. Read more...
March 20, 2011
Posted: 757 GMT
Syria's Ministry of Interior set up a committee to investigate Friday's deadly demonstrations in Diraa, the Syrian news agency SANA reported Saturday.
Anyone who is proven responsible for having committed abuse during the protests will be punished, the news agency reported, citing an unnamed source.
Meanwhile, during the funeral Saturday for two people reportedly killed during the clashes in Diraa, hundreds of people gathered to call for freedom and reforms.
"The general atmosphere was tense," one participant told CNN, referring to demonstrators and security forces, "but no serious clashes occurred."
Said another participant: "None of the slogans were against the president, but all are asking for more freedom and putting an end to the current corruption."
The United Kingdom's Foreign Office Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt said Saturday that he was "extremely concerned by reports of increasing violence and the excessive use of force by security forces, apparently resulting in the death of a number of protesters yesterday."
"I am also disturbed by reports of the arrest and prosecution of around 20 human rights activists who attempted to conduct a peaceful protest outside the Interior Ministry on Wednesday," Burt said. "This, along with reports of demonstrations in towns around Syria being broken up with lethal force is very worrying. Read more...
February 1, 2011
Posted: 914 GMT
What began as a popular uprising that toppled the Tunisian government before spreading into Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, Sudan and, of course, Egypt, may now be headed for Syria.
Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad may face mass protests this weekend from opposition groups.
Opposition movements in Syria are calling for mass protests on Saturday against the rule of President Bashar Al-Assad.
The groups are organizing on Facebook, with several pages promoting protests in Damascus, Aleppo and other cities.
Protest organizers want better living standards, human rights improvements and a greater voice for youth, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute, a Washington-based organization that studies and translates news accounts and social-media postings.
It's unclear how many people might join the protests. A few thousand people had expressed their support for the movement on the Facebook pages, some of them undoubtedly from outside the country, the research institute said. Read more...