Syria

They say it is impossible, but Syrians may yet uproot Assad

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 24, 2011

Only a week ago, no-one was willing to put good money on the chances of Syria being the next Arab state to be engulfed by pro-democracy demonstrations.

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Syrian ship with arms for Gaza captured by Israel

By Anshel Pfeffer, March 17, 2011

The capture of an arms shipment from Syria, bound for Gaza, revealed attempts by Hamas to obtain advanced capabilities with which to threaten Israeli shipping and natural gas installations in the Mediterranean.

The German-owned Victoria, a container-ship on a routine voyage through ports in the eastern Mediterranean, took on a shipment in the Syrian port of Latakia on Monday.

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On this day: The United Arab Republic

By Jennifer Lipman, February 22, 2011

The pan-Arab dream, which saw old rivals Egypt and Syria join forces, only lasted three years. It collapsed in 1961 when Syria abandoned it, although Egypt retained the title for another decade.

The United Arab Republic (UAR) partnership came about for many reasons, not least to limit the influence of communist-leaning politicians in Syria.

With support from North Yemen and elsewhere, for a time it appeared the union could be the start of a new Middle East.

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Lieberman: Iran warships Suez route is provocation

By Jennifer Lipman, February 16, 2011

Israel’s Foreign Minister has called the Iranian plan to send two warships to Syria through the Suez Canal tonight a “provocation”.

Avigdor Lieberman suggested that Israel would not tolerate the action by Tehran, which would see warships deployed at several areas near Israel.

He demanded that Iran called off the move and appealed to the rest of the world "to show readiness to deal with the recurring Iranian provocations”.

Mr Lieberman said: “The international community must understand that Israel cannot forever ignore these provocations."

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Hague urges Syrian support for Middle East deal

By Jennifer Lipman, January 28, 2011

William Hague has called on Syria to “support efforts towards a comprehensive peace with Israel”.

Mr Hague, who is in Syria for his first official visit as Foreign Secretary, also said that the British government’s position is to oppose settlement building and support Syria’s claim on the Golan Heights, which have been under Israeli control for 44 years.

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Foreign Office says no to MIA report

By Jonathan Kalmus, December 16, 2010

The British government is refusing to release documents which could shed light on the fate of three Israeli soldiers missing since 1982 because it says sensitive information could harm diplomatic relations with Syria.

On June 11 1982, three Israeli soldiers went missing after a battle with Syrian and Palestinian forces near the Lebanese village of Sultan Yaqub in the last moments of the Lebanon war. Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman, all in their 20s at the time, are still officially MIA - missing in action.

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Radical cleric Bakri chooses Hizbollah lawyer

By Jennifer Lipman, November 16, 2010

A radical Islamic preacher who was last week sentenced to life behind bars for terrorism charges has selected a Hizbollah leader as his defence lawyer.

Omar Bakri, who was sentenced in absentia but captured by security officials just days later in Libya, has appointed Hizbollah deputy Nawwar Sahili to represent him in a retrial.

No court date has been set yet, but under Lebanese law a retrial is necessary because the Syrian-born cleric failed to attend court.

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Life in prison for extremist preacher Bakri

By Jessica Elgot, November 12, 2010

The Islamic extremist preacher Omar Bakri – who once called for the death of Sir Paul McCartney for playing in Israel – has been sentenced to life in prison in Lebanon.

The Syrian-born cleric was sentenced in his absence at a military court in Lebanon for allegedly helping train members of Al Qaeda at a camp in Tripoli. He is currently in hiding with relatives in Lebanon.

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Ahmadinejad's Lebanon visit sparks fears in Israel

October 7, 2010

The Israeli government is worried that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's visit to Lebanon next week could signal the start of an escalation on its northern border.

Mr Ahmadinejad is scheduled to arrive on October 13 for a two-day visit. His itinerary includes a tour of towns and villages in the south of Lebanon where heavy fighting took place between the IDF and Hizbollah during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. According to some reports, the Iranian president may even take part in symbolic stone-throwing towards Israeli soldiers on the border.

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On this day: The eruption of the Yom Kippur War

By Jennifer Lipman, October 6, 2010

As Israelis marked Yom Kippur, Egypt and Syria launched a joint surprise attack. They struck the places Israel had won in 1967; in the north the Golan Heights, in the south along the Sinai Peninsula.

Although there had been suggestions for several years that Egypt might hit Israel again, the attack was a surprise and Israel was not prepared to fight the fourth war in its history.

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