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Syria violence kills 11, Douma besieged: NGO  BEIRUT: Violence killed 11 people across Syria on Saturday, mostly civilians, and hundreds more were trapped in Douma in Damascus province north of the capital, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The victims included a civilian shot dead by a sniper in Douma, an anti-regime activist in the central province of Hama, and one rebel in the southern province of Daraa, the Britain-based watchdog said. It warned of a "catastrophic humanitarian situation" in Douma, which "has been subjected to a fierce military campaign since June 21." Violence has killed "scores and wounded hundreds" there since regime forces escalated attacks on the outlying suburb of Damascus, the group said. "More than 100 families remain in the town, unable to flee and forced to take refuge in shelters," the Observatory said, adding that most of those trapped are women and children, after the majority of the men fled repeated arrest sweeps. An also explosion rocked the ...

Hague says Syria talks ‘very difficult’  GENEVA: British Foreign Minister William Hague urged Russia and China to agree with Western powers on a political transition plan for Syria at a crisis meeting on Saturday but said the talks would be very difficult. "There is an opportunity for the international community to be much stronger and act more robustly but we can only do it with the agreement of Russia and China," he told reporters as he arrived for the talks at the ...
World powers meet in desperate bid to halt Syria crisis  GENEVA: World powers meet Saturday in a desperate bid to salvage international envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan for Syria to end 16 months of bloodshed and agree on a transition plan for the strife-hit country. A crunch meeting hours ahead of the talks between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov led Moscow to issue an upbeat outlook for the conference, saying a deal was likely. But Washington took a more cautious ...
US downplays Turkish troop moves near Syrian border  WASHINGTON: US defense chiefs on Friday downplayed Turkey's deployment of troops and military vehicles toward its border with Syria, saying the movements didn't appear aimed at escalating tensions with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. A Turkish official on Thursday described the movement as a precaution after Syrian air defenses shot down a Turkish warplane a week ago. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta noted that Turkey has maintained troops along the border. "And I wouldn't read too much into the ...
Diplomats scramble to save Syria peace conference DAMASCUS: Diplomats scrambled on Friday to save a peace plan for Syria in the face of 11th-hour objections from Russia that threaten a key international conference on ending the nearly 16-month long conflict. Western governments have told UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan that there is no point in going ahead with Saturday's planned meeting in Geneva unless prior agreement can be reached on his proposals for a political transition in Syria, diplomats said. With violence on ...
Russia objections put Syria crisis meeting in doubt: envoys  UNITED NATIONS: UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan is battling to save an international meeting on the Syria crisis set for Saturday following Russian objections to his proposed transition plan, diplomats said. Annan has called talks between senior officials from Russia, the United States, France, Britain and China in Geneva on Friday in a bid to rescue the meeting of foreign ministers the next day, diplomats said. A meeting between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Russian ...
Turkey sends missile batteries to Syria border: reports  ISTANBUL: Turkey has sent missile batteries, tanks and troops to the border with Syria as a "security corridor", almost a week after the Syrian downing of a Turkish military jet, media reports said Thursday. There was no official confirmation of the military moves, which came after Turkey warned branded its former ally as a "clear and imminent threat" following Friday's attack over the Mediterranean. About 30 military vehicles accompanied by a truck towing missile batteries left a ...


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