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Syria opposition meeting in Riyadh sees no role for Assad in transition


RIYADH/AMMAN Syria's main opposition stuck by its demand on Thursday that President Bashar al-Assad play no role in an interim period under any U.N.-sponsored peace deal, despite speculation it could soften its stance because of Assad's battlefield strength.

Russia likely to reduce troops in Syria before year-end - military chief 12:53am GMT

SOCHI, Russia The size of Russia's military force in Syria is likely to be significantly reduced and a drawdown could start before the end of the year, the chief of the Russian military general staff said on Thursday.

Merkel ally calls Russia's new Syrian peace push 'height of cynicism' 23 Nov 2017

BERLIN A top member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives on Thursday dismissed Russian President Vladimir Putin's push to host a new Syrian peace process with the backing of Iran and Turkey, calling it "the height of cynicism."

Iraq launches operation to clear desert near Syria of Islamic State 23 Nov 2017

BAGHDAD Iraqi forces launched an operation on Thursday to clear the desert bordering Syria of Islamic State in a final push to rid Iraq of the militant group, the military said.


Iraqi militia indicates will hand heavy guns to army after IS quashed 23 Nov 2017

BAGHDAD A prominent Iraqi militia indicated on Thursday it would give any heavy weapons it had to the military once Islamic State was defeated and rejected a proposed U.S. congressional bill designating it a terrorist group.

Iran Guards ready to help rebuild Syria, Hezbollah will not disarm - TV 23 Nov 2017

ANKARA Iran's Revolutionary Guards are ready to help rebuild Syria and bring about a lasting "ceasefire" there, chief commander Mohammad Ali Jafari said, adding that disarming Lebanon's Hezbollah is out of the question, state TV reported on Thursday.


Besieged Syrians eating trash, fainting from hunger - U.N. survey 22 Nov 2017

GENEVA Syrians in the besieged enclave of Eastern Ghouta are so short of food that they are eating trash, fainting from hunger and forcing their children to eat on alternate days, the U.N. World Food Programme said in a report on Wednesday.


Putin wins backing from Iran, Turkey for new Syria peace push 22 Nov 2017

SOCHI, Russia/RIYADH Russia's Vladimir Putin won the backing of Turkey and Iran on Wednesday to host a Syrian peace congress, taking the central role in a major diplomatic push to finally end a civil war all but won by Moscow's ally, President Bashar al-Assad.


Mladic verdict carries message for Syria and beyond - UN's Zeid 22 Nov 2017

GENEVA The conviction of former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic for genocide and crimes against humanity serves as a warning to others such as Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the United Nations' human rights chief said on Wednesday.


Russia-hosted summit could be decisive for Syria peace - Erdogan 22 Nov 2017

SOCHI, Russia A three-way summit on Wednesday between the leaders of Russia, Iran and Turkey could produce decisive steps towards ending the bloodshed in Syria, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said at the start of their talks.

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Russia casts 11th U.N. Syria veto, again blocking inquiry

Russia vetoed on Friday a Japanese-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution to extend by one month an international inquiry into who is to blame for chemical weapons attacks in Syria. Nathan Frandino reports.