Syria news and updates

Rappler's latest stories on Syria

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ISIS suffers heavy Syria losses despite Kurd pause – monitor

Nov 08, 2018 - 12:20 PM

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says waves of US-led air strikes since Monday, November 5, have killed 48 jihadists, including during two ISIS assaults on oilfields north of the Hajin enclave

IN SYRIA. Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fighters attend the funeral of a fellow fighter, killed in an offensive by the Islamic State movement against an SDF position near Deir Ezzor, in the northern Syria Kurdish town of Kobane, on November 6, 2018. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

ISIS attack kills 12 US-backed fighters in east Syria

Nov 04, 2018 - 11:44 PM

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says 14 civilians and 9 ISIS jihadists were killed Saturday, November 3, in coalition air strikes in Hajin and the nearby towns of Sousa and Al-Shaafa.

CIVIL WAR. Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and US soldiers gather in the Kurdish-held town of Al-Darbasiyah in northeastern Syria bordering Turkey on November 4, 2018. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

First aid since January reaches displaced Syrians near Jordan border

Nov 03, 2018 - 10:59 PM

(UPDATED) 'The UN and SARC are delivering humanitarian assistance to 50,000 people in need at Rukban camp in southeast Syria,' the UN says in a statement

BORDER. In this file photo taken on March 1, 2017, Syrian refugee patients from the makeshift Rukban camp, which lies in no-man's-land off the border between Syria and Jordan in the remote northeast, cross over to visit a UN-operated medical clinic immediately on the Jordanian-side for checkups. File photo by Khalil Mazraawi/AFP

Idlib province: Syria's last major rebel stronghold

Oct 28, 2018 - 7:30 AM

Syria's jihadist-dominated Idlib province is the last major area still outside regime control

Israel accuses Syria, Iran of orchestrating Gaza rocket fire

Oct 27, 2018 - 5:51 PM

The barrage of rockets triggers extensive retaliatory strikes by Israeli aircraft against Gaza that risked escalating into a wider conflict

Turkey to host Syria summit with Russian, French, German leaders

Oct 27, 2018 - 5:25 PM

The planned summit will be the first to bring together the Turkish and Russian leaders with the European Union's two most significant national leaders to 'try and find' a lasting solution to the Syrian war

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan addresses members of parliament of his ruling AK Party (AKP) during a meeting at the Turkish parliament in Ankara, on October 16, 2018.  ADEM ALTAN / AFP

Russia says 88,000 Syria rebels killed

Oct 20, 2018 - 6:42 PM

Britain-based war monitor the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says close to 365,000 people have been killed during the 7-year civil war.

WAR. Syrian rebel-fighters with the National Liberation Front (NLF) stand on a hill overlooking regime-held areas in northwestern countryside of Aleppo province on October 9, 2018. File photo by Aaref Watad/AFP

ISIS frees 6 Syria Druze women, children after 3-month ordeal

Oct 20, 2018 - 1:37 PM

(UPDATED) The release of the prisoners is the first part of a deal to exchange them for at least 60 Islamic State prisoners and $27 million

FREE. A handout picture released by the official Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) on October 20, 2018 shows a woman and 4 children among the 6 released of 27 Druze hostages held by the Islamic State (ISIS) group in a prisoner swap and ransom, upon their arrival at a government-controlled building in Syria's southern city of Sweida. Photo from SANA/AFP

Amnesty International condemns US-led coalition over Raqa civilian killings

Oct 15, 2018 - 9:11 AM

'The US-led coalition's ongoing failure to admit to, let alone adequately investigate, the shocking scale of civilian deaths and destruction it caused in Raqa is a slap in the face for survivors,' Amnesty International says in a statement

RAQA. A member of the first response team tours the courtyard of the National Hospital building in the northern Syria city of Raqa, which was the final bastion of IS fighters, on October 13, 2018. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

Rebels fire shells from Syria buffer despite heavy arms pullout

Oct 14, 2018 - 5:42 PM

Under a deal reached by opposition backer Turkey and regime ally Russia last month, rebels and jihadists alike should have pulled out all heavy arms from the horseshoe-shaped zone by October 10

Hundreds taken by ISIS from displacement camp in east Syria

Oct 13, 2018 - 6:50 PM

A number of fighters of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces dies trying to defend the camp in a battle that lasted several hours

FUNERAL. Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) attend the funeral of fellow fighters in the northeastern city of Qamishli on September 14, 2018. File photo Delil Souleiman/AFP

U.S. says no Syria reconstruction aid if Iran stays

Oct 11, 2018 - 1:33 PM

'The onus for expelling Iran from the country falls on the Syrian government, which bears responsibility for its presence there,' says US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Iran fires missiles at Syria jihadists after deadly attack

Oct 01, 2018 - 11:10 PM

The pre-dawn strike by Iran was in retaliation for a deadly attack on an Iranian military parade claimed by the Islamic State jihadist group

MISSILE. This handout photo provided by Iran's Revolutionary Guard official website via SEPAH News shows missiles being launched from an undisclosed location to target militants in eastern Syria early on October 1, 2018. Handout/Sepah News/ Iran's Revolutionary Guards Website/AFP

3 years of Russia strikes on Syria kill 18,000 – monitor

Sep 30, 2018 - 8:43 PM

Human rights groups and Western governments have criticised Russia's air war in Syria saying it bombs indiscriminately and targets civilian infrastructure

Syria calls on U.S., French, Turkish forces to 'withdraw immediately'

Sep 30, 2018 - 12:02 AM

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem says Damascus would continue 'fighting this sacred battle until we purge all Syrian territories' of both terror groups and 'any illegal foreign presence'

China, Russia denounce 'blackmail' as rift with U.S. exposed at UN

Sep 29, 2018 - 10:19 AM

The United States' relations with China and Russia continue to plummet amid President Donald Trump's accusations against the two countries

Syria's Assad blames Israel over downing of Russian plane

Sep 20, 2018 - 12:05 PM

The Syrian president points to Israel but the Russian plane was downed by Syria's Russian-made S-200 air defense system and all aboard were killed

Thousands head home in Syria's Idlib after deal – monitor

Sep 19, 2018 - 9:15 PM

Many head home after a deal is reached between Russia and rebel supporter Turkey to create a demilitarized buffer zone along the front line, as the first step in a wider settlement, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says

SYRIA. A Syrian motorist drives amidst ruins in Morek, a town in the northern countryside of Hama province that links regime-held areas to the south and rebel territory in neighbouring Idlib province to the north, on September 18, 2018. Photo by Omar Haj Kadour/AFP

Syria downs Russian plane, Moscow blames Israel

Sep 18, 2018 - 12:23 PM

(UPDATED) The incident, which happened late Monday, is the worst case of friendly fire between the two allies since Russia's game-changing military intervention in September 2015

Syria war has killed more than 360,000 – monitor

Sep 13, 2018 - 10:54 PM

The toll represents an increase of about 13,000 people in the past 6 months

SYRIA BOMBARDMENT. A Syrian man carries an infant injured in government bombing in the rebel-held town of Hamouria, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, on February 19, 2018. File photo by Abdulmonam Eassa/AFP

Trump warns Syria, Russia and Iran against Idlib 'tragedy'

Sep 04, 2018 - 9:51 AM

The warning comes as Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javed Zarif meets with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in a surprise visit to Damascus ahead of the looming offensive

WARNING. In this file photo, US President Donald Trump addresses the Pledge to America's Workers event at the White House in Washington, DC. File photo by Brendan Smialowski/AFP

Pope warns of 'humanitarian catastrophe' in Syrian rebel bastion

Sep 02, 2018 - 8:06 PM

Pope Francis urges the international community and other actors 'to make use of the instruments of diplomacy, dialogue and negotiations, in compliance with international humanitarian law and to safeguard the lives of civilians'

PRIVATE AUDIENCE. Pope Francis is pictured during a weekly general audience at St Peter's square on April 11, 2018 in Vatican.  Photo by Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Gilas drubs Syria for 5th place Asiad finish

Aug 31, 2018 - 8:54 PM

The national men's basketball team pens a fairly happy ending to its dramatic Asian Games campaign

WINNING EXIT. Jordan Clarkson and the Philippine basketball team close out their campaign with a victory. Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

Gilas targets Syria win to cap roller-coaster campaign

Aug 30, 2018 - 9:51 PM

The Philippine men's basketball team shoots for a fifth-place finish in the 2018 Asian Games

FINAL MATCH. Paul Lee and the Philippine men's basketball team aims for a winning exit in the Asiad. Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

UN Syria envoy 'ready to go to Idlib' to help civilians leave

Aug 30, 2018 - 8:55 PM

A major military operation in Idlib would pose a particular humanitarian nightmare because there is no opposition territory left in Syria where people could be evacuated to

STAFFAN DE MISTURA. UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura briefs the press after speaking to a group of Syrians holding a vigil on the first day of a new round of Syria peace talks in Geneva on February 23, 2017. File photo by Philippe Desmazes/AFP

Standhardinger rues missed medal: 'We all made mistakes'

Aug 29, 2018 - 12:27 AM

The Filipino-German workhorse believes everyone – and not just head coach Yeng Guiao – is responsible for the Philippines slipping to the consolation round

SCORING MACHINE. Christian Standhardinger vents his ire against Japan with a game-high 27 points as the Philippines secures at least a sixth-place finish in the 2018 Asian Games. Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler


Iran, Russia, Turkey to hold Syria summit on September 7 – Turkish TV

Aug 27, 2018 - 6:30 PM

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will travel to Iran to meet with his Russian and Iranian counterparts Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani, state-run TRT Haber television says

ERDOGAN. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gestures as he speaks during a joint press conference with the Greek prime minister in Athens on December 7, 2017. File photo by Louisa Gouliamaki/AFP

Filipino, 2 others in ISIS beheading video blacklisted by U.S.

Aug 26, 2018 - 10:52 AM

A US Treasury official says the June 2016 video was 'part of a propaganda campaign to attract radicals to join militant terrorist groups in Southeast Asia'

 ISIS VIDEO. An Indonesian, Filipino, and Malaysian behead 3 Caucasians and call Muslims to fight the jihad in Syria and the Philippines (screenshot)

ISIS chief Baghdadi urges 'jihad' in purported new recording

Aug 23, 2018 - 8:26 AM

The 'caliphate will remain, God willing,' Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi says in the recording, addressing followers in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa

Western trio warns Syria over chemical weapons use

Aug 22, 2018 - 4:20 PM

In a joint statement, the 3 powers say they are 'gravely concerned' over the military offensive in Idlib and the resulting humanitarian consequences

IDLIB. A Syrian fighter fires a rocket-propelled grenade as he attends a mock battle in anticipation of an attack by the regime on Idlib province and the surrounding countryside, during a graduation of new Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) members at a camp in the countryside of the northern Idlib province on August 14, 2018. Photo by Omar Haj Kadour/AFP

Saudi Arabia pledges $100M to U.S.-backed Syria rehab

Aug 17, 2018 - 6:26 PM

This contribution is the biggest single cash injection yet for reconstruction efforts in areas formerly controlled by the jihadists

Fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) walk down a street in Raqa past destroyed vehicles and heavily damaged buildings on October 20, 2017, after a Kurdish-led force expelled Islamic State (IS) group fighters from the northern Syrian city, formerly their "capital". SDF fighters flushed jihadist holdouts from Raqa's main hospital and municipal stadium, wrapping up a more than four-month offensive against what used to be the inner sanctum of IS's self-proclaimed "caliphate", which for three years saw some of the group's worst abuses and grew into a centre for both its potent propaganda machine and its unprecedented experiment in jihadist statehood. BULENT KILIC / AFP

Children among 39 civilians killed in Syria arms depot blast

Aug 12, 2018 - 9:49 PM

The cause of the blast is not yet clear, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

Kurds eye decentralized Syria in talks with government

Jul 28, 2018 - 7:37 PM

(UPDATED) The Syrian Democratic Forces alliance says it it has agreed with the government to form joint committees and forge a 'roadmap leading to a democratic and decentralized Syria'

RUBBLE. Members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) walk amidst the rubble of destroyed buildings in the northern Syrian town of Manbij on August 7, 2016, as they comb the city in search of the last remaining jihadists, a day after they retook it from the Islamic State group. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

No military cooperation with Russia in Syria for now – Mattis

Jul 25, 2018 - 9:00 AM

For the moment, the only coordination between the US-led coalition with Russia in Syria is through a special hotline to make sure there are no mishaps involving the two sides' ground forces or planes

SYRIA. In this file photo, US Defense Minister James Mattis addresses the press during a NATO defense ministers' meetings at the NATO headquarters in Brussels on February 15, 2017. File photo by Emmanuel Dunand/AFP

Israel says it shot down a Syrian warplane

Jul 24, 2018 - 11:31 PM

Israel signals the plane's infiltration may have been the result of internal fighting in Syria's civil war, but stresses it will enforce the ceasefire lines between the two countries

MISSILES. In this file photo taken on November 8, 2017, a Patriot missile launcher is pictured during the "Blue Flag" multinational air defence exercise at the Ovda air force base, north of the Israeli city of Eilat. File photo by Jack Guez/AFP

Syrian refugee return must be voluntary – UN

Jul 24, 2018 - 1:08 PM

'It is up to people to... no one should be forced to return,' UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric says following an agreement between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump to work together on the safe return of Syrian refugees

GOING HOME. In this file photo, a Syrian refugee rests on the side of the road as he returns to Syria with his family after crossing the Jordanian border near the town of Nasib, in the southern province of Daraa, on August 29, 2017. File photo by Mohamad Abazeed/AFP

Israel evacuates 800 White Helmets to Jordan in face of Syria advance

Jul 22, 2018 - 3:33 PM

The Jordanian government accepts the Syrian White Helmets rescuers and their families from Israel and plans to transfer them to Britain, Germany, and Canada

RESCUE. Syrian rescuers, known as White Helmets, recover bodies in Zardana, in the mostly rebel-held northern Syrian Idlib province, following air strikes in the area late on June 7, 2018. Photo by Omar Haj Kadour/AFP

Rebels reach north Syria after south evacuations

Jul 21, 2018 - 11:07 PM

Air strikes by regime ally Russia on a southern jihadist holdout kill 6 civilians

CONFLICT. Evacuated Syrians from the area of Fuaa and Kafraya in the Idlib province, look out of a broken bus window as it passes the al-Eis crossing south of Aleppo during the evacuation of several thousand residents from the two pro-regime towns in northern Syria on July 19, 2018. Photo by STR/AFP

Wife of new ISIS Southeast Asia 'emir' nabbed in General Santos

Jul 16, 2018 - 5:43 PM

Nafisa Pundog, identified by authorities as the wife of Abu Dar, has a standing warrant of arrest for allegedly possessing a blasting cap/incendiary device

NABBED. Nafisa Pundog is arrested in what is believed to be her safehouse in General Santos City. Military photo

Rebels, families begin evacuating Syria's Daraa city

Jul 15, 2018 - 6:56 PM

Hundreds of fighters and some of their relatives, carrying suitcases packed with clothes, board around 15 buses in Daraa city, more than 7 years after the country's ill-fated uprising erupted there

Syria state media confirms deal with rebels for Daraa city

Jul 12, 2018 - 1:23 PM

Under the deal for opposition-held areas of Daraa city, rebels are to hand over their heavy and medium-sized weapons

DEAL. Displaced Syrians from the Daraa province come back to their hometown in Bosra, southwestern Syria, on July 11, 2018. Photo by Mohamad Yusuf/AFP

Tens of thousands return home after south Syria ceasefire deal

Jul 09, 2018 - 9:28 AM

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 60,000 people have since taken to the roads from the Jordanian frontier, heading back to their homes in the east or west of the province

REFUGEE. A child is among the displaced Syrians from the province of Daraa in a makeshift camp in the area of the village of Burayqah near the border between the Israeli-occupied Golan heights and Syria. Photo by Ahmad al-Msalam/AFP

Thousands head home in south Syria after ceasefire deal

Jul 07, 2018 - 9:08 PM

Calm reigns over the region on Saturday as the two sides finalized the ceasefire deal, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

RETURN HOME. Syrian families return to their homes in towns and villages situated on the eastern outskirts of Daraa on July 7, 2018. Photo by Mohamad Abazeed/AFP

Pope fears for Christian presence in Middle East

Jul 07, 2018 - 8:47 PM

'Indifference kills, and we desire to lift up our voices in opposition to this murderous indifference,' says Pope Francis

RELIGIOUS LEADERS. Pope Francis (L) watches as Egypt's Coptic Orthodox Pope Tawadros (Theodoros) II releases a dove after a meeting with other religious leaders at the Pontifical Basilica of St Nicholas in Bari, in the Apulia region in southern Italy, on July 7, 2018. Photo by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

UN Security Council to hold emergency Syria talks

Jul 04, 2018 - 2:35 PM

Sweden, which holds the rotating Security Council presidency, requests the closed-door meeting along with Kuwait

UN SECURITY COUNCIL. The Security Council will hold an emergency meeting July 5 to discuss the Syria army's Russia-backed offensive against rebel groups. UN file photo by JC McIlwaine

8 south Syria towns return to regime control under deals – monitor

Jun 30, 2018 - 10:24 PM

The agreements for the 8 towns are reached even as regime air strikes on Saturday pounded other opposition holdouts

UNREST. Syrian government forces' soldiers hold their weapons at the back of a pick-up truck during a government guided tour in the village of al-Sourah, province of Daraa, on June 29, 2018. Photo by Youssef Karwashan/AFP

Iraq executes 12 death row jihadists in response to killings

Jun 29, 2018 - 8:43 PM

A statement from the office of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi does not specify how they were executed, but death sentences in terrorism-related cases are usually carried out by hanging

ORDER. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi talks during a campaign rally in the holy city of Najaf on May 3, 2018, ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections. File photo by Haidar HAMDANI/AFP

Syria forces declare 'curfew' in Raqa, fearing ISIS attacks

Jun 24, 2018 - 4:42 PM

Raqa International Security Forces says it had received information that terrorist groups working on behalf of ISIS have 'entered Raqa to carry out attacks against stability and security'

CURFEW. The Syrian Democratic forces (SDF) recently drove the Islamic State (ISIS) group out of large parts of northern and eastern Syria, including the onetime jihadist capital of Raqa, with help from the coalition's air strikes, weapons and special forces advisors. File photo by Delil souleiman / AFP

UN chief appeals for end to fighting in south Syria

Jun 23, 2018 - 11:19 AM

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres calls for a return to ceasefire arrangements agreed by Russia, the United States and Jordan

SYRIA BOMBARDMENT. A Syrian man carries an infant injured in government bombing in the rebel-held town of Hamouria, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, on February 19, 2018. File photo by Abdulmonam Eassa/AFP

Russia 'skeptical' over UN Syrian crimes against humanity report

Jun 21, 2018 - 7:17 PM

The report says forces loyal to the Syrian government had deliberately starved civilians during the siege between February and April, among other crimes.

SERGEI LAVROV. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov speaks during a press conference after his meeting with UN Secretary General in Moscow on June 21, 2018. Photo by Yuri Kadobnov/AFP