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An estimated 150,000 people have died since the Syrian uprising began in March 2011. More than two million people have left the country, fleeing fighting between government forces and opposition fighters. Follow the latest news from the ground and diplomatic developments here.

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  • Activists in Syria have claimed that government forces used chlorine gas in an attack on a village near the city of Hama.

    Amateur footage uploaded by activists on Friday showed dozens of villagers from Kafr Zeta struggling to breathe as a result of a toxic substance.

    Other footage online showed an unexploded canister suspected to contain chlorine gas. Al Jazeera cannot independently verify the images.

    Rebels and the government blamed each other for what is supposed to be third alleged gas attack in the country in the past week.

    Chlorine gas - used extensively in the First World War - attacks mucus membranes and can kill in high concentrations.

    Read the details:

    Syrian activists allege new gas attack

    Government forces accused of using chlorine gas in village near Hama, the third alleged gas attack in the past week.


  • Push by President Bashar al-Assad's troops in the central city comes as bomb explodes outside a mosque, killing 14.



  • Syrian army forces advanced on Friday around rebel-held areas of the Old City of Homs. Around 1,200 rebel fighters and nearly 200 civilians are believed to be inside the rebel-held parts of the Old City, under army siege for nearly two years.

    The army, which began a broad offensive there on Tuesday, "is progressing daily by capturing buildings and tightening the noose around the terrorist groups", a security source said. [AFP]
  • A bomb went off in front of a mosque and killed 14 people in Homs, Syrian state television said on Friday, with forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad looking close to wresting the symbolic central city back from rebels.

    "Fourteen people were killed and dozens wounded in a terrorist bomb in front of the Bilal al Habshi mosque ... as people left the mosque," state television said. The mosque is in a government-controlled part of Homs.

    Syrian authorities generally refer to attacks by rebels as "terrorist", but there was no way to verify who was responsible for the blast. The Lebanese Al-Mayadeen TV station, which has reporters in Syria, said it was a car bomb.

    [Reuters]
  • AFP's Mussa Hattar writes that Syrian refugees in Jordan are so miserable that they would rather face "inevitable death" in their war-torn country than live in conditions that have sparked riots.

    With Syria's war now in its fourth year, many of the 100,000 refugees in the sprawling desert Zaatari camp in northern Jordan feel the world has forgotten their struggle to survive.

    "Syrian refugees would rather go home and face inevitable death than swallow the bitterness of displacement," Abu Isam, 52, told AFP before his cousins and other refugees boarded a bus back to Syria.
  • S. Secretary of State John Kerry met U.N. Special Representative for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi in Switzerland on Thursday, where talks focused on Syria's devastating civil war.

    Brahimi said that a deal between trapped fighters and civilians in Homs city and the Syrian authorities had broken down, as government forces appeared close to retaking the besieged opposition area.

    Homs, a religiously-mixed city, was the scene of early protests against President Bashar al-Assad in 2011 and has become a symbol of the destructive nature of Syria's civil war, with many of its neighbourhoods leveled by army shells.

    A deal agreed at peace talks in Geneva this year allowed some civilians to leave but further negotiations broke down following heavy fighting this week.

    Brahimi issued a statement Thursday, apologizing for the break down in talks.

    "It is a matter of deep regret that negotiations were brutally stopped and violence is now rife again when a comprehensive agreement seemed close at hand," Brahimi said in a statement.

    "It is alarming that Homs, whose people have suffered so much throughout these past three years is again the theater of death and destruction."

    [AP]
  • Syrian rebels on Thursday attacked one of the largest military barracks in the country, in northern Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

    "Rebels, including fighters from Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic Front, launched an assault today on the barracks in Hanano in Aleppo," Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said, adding that the fighting was ongoing.

    State media, meanwhile, reported that the army had "foiled an attempt by terrorist groups to infiltrate the barracks" and killed a number of them.

    Abdel Rahman said the barracks is one of the largest in Syria.

    "It's strategically important because it's on a hill that overlooks parts of northern Aleppo," he added.

    Once Syria's economic hub, Aleppo has been divided between regime control in the west and rebel control in the east since shortly after combat began there in mid-2012.

    Abdel Rahman said the attack began when "rebels detonated explosives in tunnels they had dug beneath army positions around the barracks".

    State television also reported that the rebels had "detonated explosives in three tunnels around the barracks".

    [AFP]
  • Candidates for Syria's presidential election can begin registering on April 21, when the date for the vote will be announced, a government source told AFP on Thursday.

    "On Monday April 21, the Council of the People (parliament) will meet to open registration for presidential candidates and set a date for the election," the source said.

    Syria's government has insisted it will go ahead with presidential elections this year before the end of President Bashar al-Assad's term on July 17.

    But it is unclear how it will do so during a raging civil war that has killed more than 150,000 people over the past three years, displaced nearly half the population and seen the regime lose control of large swathes of territory.

    The vote will be Syria's first multi-candidate elections, after a new constitution did away with the old process of presidential referendums.

    Assad has all but said he will stand, and is expected to easily win the vote.

    New electoral regulations, including a requirement stating that candidates must have been living in Syria for the last decade, will exclude prominent opposition figures who live in exile.

    The government's plan to hold the vote has drawn criticism from much of the international community, with UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi warning it could jeopardise further peace talks.

    Syria's opposition has insisted that Assad can have no role in the country's future and his departure from office is one of their key demands.

    [AFP]
  • The United Nations envoy to Syria says the besieged central city of Homs has become a "theater of death and destruction," urging both sides in the country's civil war to return to negotiations.

    In a statement Thursday, Lakhdar Brahimi called on Syrian government officials and opposition leaders to resume talks that broke off in February.

    The central city has seen some of the worst fighting in the 3-year-old conflict.
    An agreement on a weeklong cease-fire that allowed more than 1,000 civilians to leave Homs' rebel-held areas was hailed as the only achievement of the recent Geneva peace talks that Brahimi mediated.

    The deal did not hold, however, and fighting between President Bashar al-Assad's forces and the rebels trying to overthrow him has raged for weeks in Homs.

    [AP]


  • The Syrian regime has been accused of new attacks on civilians with improvised chlorine gas bombs, in the latest reports of chemical weapons use in the Syrian war.

    To read Al Jazeera's full article click here.


  • Report blames Syrian government for torture
    by Al Jazeera English via YouTube
    A report by a group of international lawyers and prosecutors has found evidence of what it says is systematic torture by the Syrian government.
    Warning: some of the images in this report might be disturbing.
  • The aftermath of what activists said was a barrel bomb dropped by Syrian army in Aleppo's al-Myassar neighbourhood.
    [Reuters] 
    [Reuters] 
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  • Jordanian warplanes destroy vehicles trying to cross from Syria 
    [AP/Ammonnews]
    [AP/Ammonnews] 
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  • "The devastating impact on the right to education and the systematic destruction of schools by the warring parties leave long-term implications for the growth and healthy development of an entire generation of Syrian children," the statement said.

  • Jordan's airforce hit and destroyed military vehicles trying to cross from Syria, Jordanian state television said on Wednesday.

    "The Royal Airforce destroyed a number of military vehicles which tried to cross the Jordanian-Syrian border," the television said, without giving more details. [Reuters]
  • Activists say that Syrian airstrikes have killed at least four people in the town of Zabadani, one of the last rebel-held towns on the Lebanese border.

    Activist Ammar al-Hassan says the strike occurred early on Wednesday, Associated Press reported. He says shelling also had increased on the town lying in the rugged hills of the Qalamoun region. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported on the strikes.

    Zabadani protrudes into the Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon. The town and the nearby community of Madaya are effectively the last rebel strongholds in the Qalamoun, serving as an opposition supply route. [AP]
  • The Syrian regime’s forces have mobilised hundreds of troops at the police headquarters in the heart of Homs, as a step to a ground operation to enter the besieged areas in the city, Al Jazeera Arabic quoted a military source as saying.

    The armed opposition also released a statement accusing the regime’s forces of violating the agreement reached between them, allowing the exit of fighters from the city.
  • France pushes for ICC probe into detainee torture

    [AP] 

    France has said it will table a proposal  before the United Nations Security Council authorising the International Criminal Court to investigate crimes against humanity in Syria, according to France's ambassador to the UN.

    Gerard Araud said on Tuesday that France hoped to introduce the resolution in the next few weeks, after a presentation to council members showed thousands of gruesome photographs of starved and tortured detainees in prisons run by the Syrian regime.

    "We are going to try to obtain authorisation for the ICC to act," Araud said. "We now have proof," he added.

    [AFP]

  • [AFP] 
    France's ambassador says the members of the UN Security Council fell silent after viewing a series of ghastly photographs of dead Syrian civil war victims. The pictures show people who were emaciated, with their bones protruding, and some bearing the marks of strangulation.

    Ambassador Gerard Araud says the pall of silence lingered, and then questions slowly began about the credibility of the slides of the dead, who offer mute testimony to the savagery of a Syrian civil war in which more than 150,000 have died.
    [AP]
  • Photographic evidence of torture was presented by Permanent Mission of France to the United Nations on the situation in Syria.
    [AFP] 

  • Syrian rebels fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad for the first time received at least 20 US-made TOW anti-tank missiles from a "Western source," a rebel official told AFP news agency Tuesday.

    "Moderate, well-organised fighters from the Hazm movement have for the first time received more than 20 TOW anti-tank missiles from a Western source," the source said on condition of anonymity, and without specifying who had supplied the rockets.

    The Hazm movement, part of the opposition Free Syrian Army, brings together mainly ex-army officers and soldiers who defected from the military to join the revolt.

    "More have been promised should it be proven that the missiles are being used in an effective way," the source said.

    "Dozens of fighters have been trained with international assistance in the use of these missiles," the rebel said, adding that the weapons have been used in flashpoint areas of Idlib, Aleppo and Latakia provinces in the north.

    Amateur video distributed by the opposition Masarat media network showed rebels unpacking, loading and firing several missiles at unnamed locations in the Syrian countryside.

    "Most of the targets were tanks," said the rebel official, adding that "the 20 missiles have been used 100 percent effectively, always hitting their targets."

    Vastly outgunned by the army, rebels have frequently called on the West to provide them with specialised weaponry.

    "The international community needs to help stop Assad's army and Iran. We are calling for anti-aircraft weapons to be shipped over," opposition National Coalition member Louay Muqdad told AFP Tuesday.
    [AFP]
  • Hezbollah members carry the coffin of Hamza Haj Hassan, a reporter for Hezbollah's al-Manar television who was killed while covering the Syrian army's takeover, on April 14, of the Christian town of Maaloula, during his funeral in his home village in Shaath. 
    [AFP] 


  • Syrian rescue workers stand on a damaged street following reported air strikes by government forces in the Aleppo district of Ansari, in the southwest of the city.
    [AFP] 

  • Two mortar rounds landed near schools in predominantly Christian districts of the Syrian capital Tuesday, killing one child and wounding 41 other people, state media said.

    Syria's official news agency said one of the shells struck a school in the Bab Touma neighbourhood, killing one child and wounding 36 others. In a separate attack, another mortar round exploded near the Mar Elias Church in the Dweilaa district, wounding five people. The church compound also includes a school.

    Opposition fighters say they aren't specifically targeting Damascus' large Christian minority. Still, because the mortars cannot be precisely targeted, their victims have often been civilians, including children in schools.

    In the central city of Homs, 15-year-old Tarek Ghrair, a player for the country's national youth football team was killed when a mortar shell exploded near his home in the Ghouta district, according to the Syrian Football Association's president. The city's main stadium is located the neighbourhood.
    [AP]


  • Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal on Tuesday said the "grave news" that President Bashar al-Assad's forces had carried out two poison gas attacks last week was a challenge to "international will".

    Rebels and the Syrian government have blamed each other for the alleged poison gas attacks on Friday and Saturday on rebel-held Kfar Zeita village in the central province of Hama.

    Both sides said chlorine gas had been used.  

    These continuous violations by the Damascus regime require the international community to take firm action against the continuous defiance of international, Arab and Islamic will,
    Prince Saud said at a news conference in Riyadh.

    The reported gas attacks posed a clear challenge to the Security Council decision to dismantle Assad's chemical arsenal, he said. 
    [Reuters]


  • The UN's refugee agency said Tuesday it was partially lifting a call to stop returning asylum seekers to Bulgaria because conditions there had improved.

    Under current rules, European countries must return asylum seekers to the first country on the continent they arrive in.

    But in January the United Nations urged European nations to suspend all returns to Bulgaria, citing "systematic deficiencies in reception conditions and asylum procedures" after the country was swamped with refugees from war-ravaged Syria.

    On Tuesday the agency said the situation had improved, but the advice still stood for vulnerable people such as children or people suffering trauma or injuries.

    Since there have been significant improvements, we are relaxing our directive, but only partially
    UNHCR spokeswoman Melissa Fleming told reporters in Geneva.
  • Syria's army launched a major ground assault on the central city of Homs on Tuesday, state television said, with troops entering rebel-held districts under government siege for nearly two years.

    "The Syrian army and the National Defence Forces have achieved key successes in the Old City of Homs," Syrian state television said, adding that troops were advancing in several besieged neighbourhoods in the area.
    [AFP]
  • This video allegedly shows fighting between rebel and government forces in Homs.

    Al Jazeera cannot independently verify the content of this video.

  • This video allegedly shows clashes between rebel and government forces in the rebel-held part of Homs.

    Al Jazeera cannot independently verify the content of this video.

  • This video allegedly shows fighting between government and rebel forces in the Southern area of Aleppo city.

    Al Jazeera cannot independently verify the content of this video.

  • This video allegedly shows rebels at Sadkop gas depot in Southern Aleppo which they say they have captured

    Al Jazeera cannot independently verify the content of this video.

  •  A child was martyred and 41 others, most of them children, were injured by "terrorist" mortar shells on schools in Bab Touma and al-Dwailaa, in Damascus, a source at Damascus Police Command said according to Syrian state news agency SANA. 

  • Hezbollah MP Hassan Fadlallah (2nd L) accepts condolences inside Hezbollah al-Manar Television building in Beirut for the death of three Lebanese journalists working for the channel. 
    [Reuters] 




  • Syrian government troops have seized the ancient Christian town of Maaloula from rebels, a day after President Bashar al-Assad said the three-year old civil war was turning in his favour.

    During the operation on Monday, Hezbollah-owned Al-Manar TV said three of its staffers were killed.

    Read Al Jazeera's full report
    here
  • Syria troops retake Christian town of Maalula
    [Reuters] 
    [Reuters] 
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  • Soldiers of the Syrian Army hold a Syrian national flag with a picture of Bashar al-Assad, as they pass Mar Bacchus Sarkis monastery, at Maloula village, northeast of Damascus, after taking control of the village from rebel fighters.
    [Reuters] 

  • An image grab from Hezbollah's al-Manar TV shows portraits of the channel's journalist Hamza Hajj Hasan (L) and cameraman Halim Allaw who were killed on April 14, 2014 in the Syrian town of Maaloula while covering the Syrian army’s takeover of the town in the Qalamun region. 
    [AFP] 

  • Hezbollah-owned Al-Manar TV says three of its journalists have been killed after they came under attack in the Syrian town of Maaloula.

    The station says the three were filming in the historic Christian town Monday after it was seized by the Syrian army.

    The TV said "armed gunmen" opened fire on the crew, using a term often employed by Syrian authorities to refer to rebels fighting to topple President Bashar Assad.

    It identified the three as reporter Hamza al-Haj Hassan, technician, Halim Allaw, and cameraman Mohammed Mantash. A number of their colleagues were wounded, it said.
    [AP]



  • Syrian army seizes towns near Lebanon border
    by Al Jazeera English via YouTube
    Fighters on both sides of the conflict appear to be making gains, and suffering losses.




  • Syrian army seizes towns near Lebanon border

    Regime forces take rebel-held towns of Sarkha and Maaloula as they seek to cut their supply lines across the border.

    Click here to read more.
  • The UN's top human rights official has condemned the "rampant use of torture" in detention facilities in Syria.

    UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said on Monday that her office has documented a "broad pattern of torture and ill-treatment" in government facilities as well as some run by rebel groups.

    The report draws on detailed testimony from victims and witnesses, Pillay added. The abuses include rape, beatings and burnings, sometimes leading to death. [AP]
  • Syrian regime forces retook the ancient Christian hamlet of Maalula in Damascus province on Monday, four months after mainly Islamist rebels overran it, a security official told AFP news agency.

    "The army has taken full control of Maalula and restored security and stability. Terrorism has been defeated in Qalamun," the official said, referring to the region in which Maalula is located.

    The recapture comes after a string of successes of the regime in the strategic Qalamun region, including the seizure of the former rebel bastion of Yabrud last month. [AFP]
  • Syrian opposition activists have posted photographs and video that they say shows an improvised chlorine bomb to back up claims that President Bashar al-Assad's forces used chemical weapons in two attacks last week.

    Rebels and the government have blamed each other for the alleged poison gas attacks on Friday and Saturday on rebel-held Kfar Zeita village in the central province of Hama, 201 km north of Damascus.

    Both sides said chlorine gas - a deadly agent widely used in World War I - had been used. The gas, which has industrial uses, is not on a list of chemical weapons that Assad declared to the global chemical weapons watchdog last year for destruction.

    It is a so-called dual-use chemical, which would have to be declared to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a spokesman said. [Reuters]
  • A site hit by what activists said was an attack by the Syrian air force in the Duma neighbourhood of Damascus.
    [Reuters] 
    [Reuters] 
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  • Syrian sides blame each other for gas attack
    by Al Jazeera English via YouTube

  • People look at a crater following an alleged air strike by the Syrian air force on the city of Douma, northeast of the capital Damascus.
    [AFP] 

  • The US ambassador to the United Nations said Sunday that reports of a poison gas attack in a rural village north of Damascus were so far "unsubstantiated," adding that the United States was trying to establish what really happened before it considers a response.

    Both sides in Syria's civil war blamed each other for the alleged attack that reportedly injured scores of people Friday amid an ongoing international effort to rid the country of chemical weapons.

    "We are trying to run this down," said Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, during an appearance Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

    So far it's unsubstantiated, but we've shown, I think, in the past that we will do everything in our power to establish what has happened and then consider possible steps in response

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