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The Syrian uprising began in March 2011, now fighting has spilled across the country's borders as the battle of key towns and cities continues.

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  • Britain will make it easier for police to seize passports from citizens fighting overseas, increase air travel checks and tighten controls on the movement of suspected fighters under plans announced by Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday.

    Cameron was addressing the House of Commons after Britain on Friday raised its terrorism threat level to "severe" because of concern about possible plots by fighters returning from Iraq and Syria with battlefield experience.

    [AFP]

  • Philippine UN peacekeepers safe after 'greatest escape'

    Dozens of Filipino UN peacekeepers performed the "greatest escape" from besieging Syrian rebels, slipping away under the cover of night after rebels rammed their Golan Heights outpost with armed trucks, the Philippine military said.

    All 75 soldiers serving with a United Nations peacekeeping force in the Middle East flashpoint zone reached safety after the rebels, some linked to al-Qaeda, surrounded them and demanded their weapons on Thursday, Philippine military chief General Gregorio Catapang said on Sunday.

    Catapang called it "the greatest escape" and praised the soldiers.

    "Although they were surrounded and outnumbered they held their ground," he told reporters.

    However the fate of 44 UN peacekeepers from Fiji remained unknown. [AFP]


  • UN peacekeeper trapped by Syrian rebels have successfully escaped. Read our full report here.
  • A woman along with her ​​three children were killed during an airstrike by the Syrian regime warplanes on a residential neighbourhood in the eastern town of Arbeen in East Ghota of Damascus. 


  • Nearly three dozen U.N Peacekeepers from the Philippines trapped by fighters in Golan Heights were successfully extracted in firefight- U.N officials.

    [Reuters]
  • Seven people were killed in old shiekh Najar district in Aleppo on Saturday, after the government's barrel bomb assault on the area, activists reported . 

    In Damascus, activists said six air raids targeted Jobar today and killed two people, while
    clashes intensified between rebels and government forces on the front line.

    Rebels claimed that they killed several government forces.

  • Islamic State fighters beheaded a Lebanese soldier who was one of 19 captured by hardline Syrian Islamists when they seized a Lebanese border town for few days this month, a video posted on social media showed on Saturday.

    The soldier, recognisable as Ali al-Sayyed, a Sunni Muslim from north Lebanon, was shown blindfolded with his hands tied behind his back, writhing and kicking the dusty ground while a
    fighter announces he will be killed. Another fighter then beheads him.

    The Lebanese army declined to comment but security and Islamic State sources confirmed the latest beheading.Hours later, the group posted a second video showing nine other soldiers begging for their lives, urging their families to take to the streets in the next three days to demand the release of  prisoners as a condition to escape al-Sayyed's fate.

    [Reuters]

    by Diana.AlRifai edited by Rahul Radhakrishnan 8/30/2014 2:04:06 PM
  • Several dozen Yazidi women kidnapped by Islamic State fighters in Iraq have been taken to Syria, forced to convert and sold into marriage to fighters, a monitoring group said Saturday.

    The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Britain-based NGO, said it had confirmed that at least 27 Yazidi women had been sold for around $1,000 each to IS fighters.

    The group said it was aware that some 300 Yazidi women had been kidnapped and transported to Syria by the fighters, but it had so far documented the sale into marriage of 27.

    [AFP]
  • A member of the U.N. Disengagement Observer Force carries binoculars at an observation post in the Golan Heights [Reuters]

  • Syrian rebels holding dozens of Fijian UN peacekeepers hostage attacked Filipino troops in the Golan Heights on
    Saturday, Philippine officials said.

    Philippine peacekeepers at one UN encampment were attacked, but those at another were "extricated", Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin told reporters in a series of text messages, adding that the attack started early Saturday Syrian time.

    Philippine military spokesman Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala told reporters, "There is an ongoing firefight, but all Filipinos are safe."

    There were 40 Filipino troops in the encampment that came under attack, and 35 in the second, according to the Philippine military.

    Source: AP
  • US Secretary of State John Kerry called on Friday for a global coalition of nations to combat Islamic State fighters' "genocidal agenda" in Syria and Northern Iraq.

    One week ahead of a NATO summit in Wales that will gather leaders from across the Western world, Kerry advocated "a united response led by the United States and the broadest possible coalition of nations" in an op-ed in the New
    York Times.

    The top US diplomat said he and Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel would "meet with our counterparts from our European allies. The goal is to enlist the broadest possible assistance," on the sidelines of the NATO summit.

    US President Barack Obama has said he is still developing a comprehensive plan to defeat IS, which has overrun large swathes of Iraq and Syria, where it has declared a "caliphate" and unleashed a spate of atrocities.

    Source: AFP
  • Here's our latest video report on the situation in the Golan Heights

  • The UN says it has been told by Syrian rebels that they captured 44 Fijian peacekeepers in the Golan Heights "for their own protection". Here's Al Jazeera's latest story on the incident.


  • Syrian government soldiers advance in the Jobar neighbourhood of Damascus, where they were engaged in heavy fighting against anti-government forces, according to Syrian state television.
  • Syrian government soldiers advance in the Jobar neighbourhood of Damascus, where
    they were engaged in heavy fighting against anti-government forces, Syrian state
    television says.


    [Reuters]
  • AFP news agency is reporting that the Dutch government says it wants to strip people who go to fight in Syria or Iraq of their passports, even if they have not been convicted of a crime.

    The move comes amid growing fears that Western fighters who joined the Islamic State group and other armed groups in the Middle East will return home to carry out attacks.

    "The law will be toughened with the aim of withdrawing Dutch nationality from jihadists who have joined an armed terrorist group, even without a criminal conviction," the government said in a summary of a letter to parliament from Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten.

    The action could however only be taken against Dutch citizens with dual nationality, as "no one should be left stateless", the government said.

    Many Dutch Muslims from immigrant families have dual nationality, particularly Moroccan.

    "Taking away Dutch nationality means these people are no longer welcome in this country, that they cannot return," Opstelten told journalists in The Hague. He said he will submit the draft law on Friday afternoon.

    An estimated 130 Dutch citizens have gone to fight in Syria and Iraq, Dutch authorities say. Around 30 have returned while 14 were killed in the fighting, according to the Dutch intelligence service AIVD.
  • British Prime Minister David Cameron said that he planned to introduce new legislation to make it harder for Britons to travel to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside armed groups such as the Islamic State.

    Cameron said he would detail his plans in parliament on Monday to confiscate passports.

    "I will be making a statement in the House of Commons on Monday. This will include further steps to stop people travelling, with new legislation that will make it easier to take people's passports away," Cameron said.
  • Britain has raised its international terrorism threat level to the second highest level of "severe" on Friday in response to possible attacks being planned in Syria and Iraq, Home Secretary (interior minister) Theresa May said.

    "That means that a terrorist attack is highly likely, but there is no intelligence to suggest that an attack is imminent," May said in a statement.

    "The increase in the threat level is related to developments in Syria and Iraq where terrorist groups are planning attacks against the West. Some of those plots are likely to involve foreign fighters who have travelled there from the UK and Europe to take part in those conflicts."
  • Melissa Fleming, spokesperson for the UNHCR's high commissioner, spoke to us from Geneva about what the agency calls the biggest humanitarian emergency of our time.


    Audio: UNHCR spokesperson Melissa Fleming
    by Rahul Radhakrishnan
  • According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights , Syrian warplanes targeted several IS positions in Raqqa and its outskirts. No casualties have been acknowledged so far.
  • The number of refugees who have fled the Syrian civil war has reached three million; which is around 5,000 people a day. 

    The United Nations says this is the biggest humanitarian emergency of our time, and that not enough is being done to help.

    By December 2012, the UN Refugee Agency said the number of Syrians who had left the country had crossed the 500,000 mark.

    But that figure doubled just three months later, when the one millionth Syrian was registered as a refugee. It then took only six months, September 2013, for that number to swell to two million.

    Now, a year later, three million Syrians have crossed the border in search of safety. The bulk of them are in Lebanon and Turkey. 

    The rest have settled in Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.

  • Reports claim that heavy shelling on al-Nusra Front Sites in Jobar, located in the suburbs of Damascus, has taken the lives of 150 people and wounded rebel fighters today.

    Al Jazeera cannot independently verify this report. 


    by Diana.AlRifai edited by Rahul Radhakrishnan 8/29/2014 12:59:36 PM
  •  
    UN says Syria refugees top three million mark [Reuters] 


  • French leader calls Assad a 'jihadist ally'
    by Al Jazeera English via YouTube

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