Syria conflict

Loyal US ally Albania asked to destroy Syria's chemical weapons

Albanians protest against destroying Syrian chemical weapons in Tirana. Photo: EPA

For years, when the United States has needed to hand off a dirty diplomatic chore, one obscure nation has reliably raised its hand: Albania.

Wednesday, 13 November, 2013, 4:08am

Syrian opposition group yields to pressure, votes to join peace talks

A rebel fighter points his weapon as he stands amidst rubble and debris during clashes with Syrian government forces in the northeastern city of Deir Ezzor. Syria's main opposition coalition said on Monday it was willing to attend peace talks on the condition that President Bashar al-Assad transfer power and be excluded from any transition process. Photo: AFP

During the fractious weekend debates that ended with the main Syrian exile opposition coalition yielding to international pressure by dropping its refusal to hold peace talks with President Bashar al-Assad's government, tensions ran so high that one prominent coalition member slapped another in the face, participants in the gathering said.

13 Nov 2013 - 3:25am

Syria opposition ready to attend peace talks, with conditions

President of the Syrian National Coalition Ahmed Jarba. Photo: AFP

Syria’s main opposition grouping has said it will attend peace talks on the condition President Bashar al-Assad transfers power and is excluded from any transition process.

In a statement issued on Monday after two days of meetings in Istanbul, the key National Coalition said it would take part in mooted peace talks in Geneva “on the basis of the full transfer of power”.

12 Nov 2013 - 9:52pm

Elusive Syria peace talks delayed by rivals’ divisions

UN Joint Special Representative for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi. Photo: EPA

The UN-Arab League envoy for Syria expressed hope that a peace conference again delayed could still be held by year’s end, as the Syrian opposition remained deeply divided over its participation.

“We were hoping that we’d be in a position to announce a date today, unfortunately we’re not,” UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters in Geneva on Tuesday.

6 Nov 2013 - 3:05pm

US sceptical over Syria's chemical weapons declaration

UN vehicles carrying OPCW inspectors in Damascus. Photo: Reuters

The United States is sceptical about Syria’s declaration of its chemical weapons to an international watchdog and is still checking its accuracy, a top US envoy said on Tuesday.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad agreed to destroy all his banned chemical arms by mid-2014 as part of a Russia-US deal that headed off the threat of a US military strike.

6 Nov 2013 - 10:44am

Envoy pushes Syria peace talks as UN warns of child hunger

United Nations Peace Envoy for Syria Lakhdar Brahimi. Photo: Reuters

The UN-Arab League envoy to Syria has said no peace conference will be possible without the Syrian opposition, as the United Nations warned of rising malnutrition among children trapped in battle zones.

2 Nov 2013 - 3:31pm

Syria destroys its chemical weapons equipment before deadline: watchdog

Syrian television shows an inspector at work. The news of the equipment destruction came just before the deadline. Photo: AFP

Syria has destroyed critical equipment for producing chemical weapons and poison gas munitions, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said as fierce clashes raged in the country's north, close to one of the sites where toxic agents are believed to be stored.

1 Nov 2013 - 6:36am 1 comment

Pro-Assad group hacks Obama-linked website

Obama's Facebook page was hacked by the Syrian Electronic Army. Photo: SCMP Pictures

The Syrian Electronic Army, a hacker group sympathetic to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, seized control of an online tool used by an advocacy organisation for US President Barack Obama to redirect links sent from his Twitter and Facebook accounts.

29 Oct 2013 - 9:43pm 1 comment

Syria submits chemical arms destruction plan on time: OPCW

The offices of the noble prize winning Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the Netherlands. Photo: AP

Syria handed over a detailed plan to destroy its chemical stockpile on time, international watchdog the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said on Sunday.

27 Oct 2013 - 8:49pm

Nineteen rebel groups fighting in Syria reject Geneva talks

Al-Nusra Front fighters take part in a parade calling for the establishment of an Islamic state in Syria. Photo: AFP

Nineteen Islamist groups fighting to topple President Bashar al-Assad have rejected outright a mooted US-Russian peace initiative for Syria dubbed Geneva 2, a statement said.

27 Oct 2013 - 7:15pm

UN aid chief demands Security Council action on Syria access

UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Co-ordinator Valerie Amos. Photo: EPA

UN aid chief Valerie Amos demanded stronger action by the UN Security Council on Friday to get desperately needed aid into Syria, where 2.5 million people in need have not received help for almost a year.

26 Oct 2013 - 4:09pm

UN names Sigrid Kaag to lead chemical weapons mission in Syria

Sigrid Kaag

The head of the United Nations has named Sigrid Kaag to lead the UN's joint mission with the chemical weapons watchdog tasked with eliminating Syria's arsenal, diplomats said.

15 Oct 2013 - 3:42am

Work begins on war crime tribunal for Syrian atrocities

A man paints a multi-rocket launcher as the war drags on. Photo: AFP

When the guns fall silent in Syria and the killing eventually stops, a key part of helping a traumatised people rebuild and heal will be bringing to justice those behind years of shocking brutality.

15 Oct 2013 - 4:53am

Syria arms inspectors face unprecedented danger: UN

A UN disarmament inspectors works at an undisclosed location in Syria. Photo: EPA

The United Nations has warned that inspectors face a year-long mission of unprecedented danger in trying to destroy Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, as rebels launched a major offensive in the northwest.

9 Oct 2013 - 5:04am 1 comment

Syrian rebel factions clash as UN inspectors secure sites

A weapons inspector gets ready for the mission's first day. Photo: AFP

Deadly clashes raged on the edge of Damascus and rival rebel factions battled each other in northern Syria as international chemical weapons inspectors began to secure sites where they will work.

3 Oct 2013 - 9:10pm 1 comment