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Syrian journalist killed covering fighting: Al Mayadeen TV

DUBAI (Reuters) - A Syrian journalist has been killed covering clashes between government forces and opposition fighters in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor, a regional broadcaster said. Beirut-based Al Mayadeen said on its website that its cameraman Omar Abdelqader was shot in the neck on Saturday and was pronounced dead in hospital shortly afterwards. Syria was the deadliest place for journalists in 2013 for the second year, the Committee to Protect Journalists, a media rights group based in New York, said in December.

Charity video turning London into Syria goes viral

A charity's video transposing the effects of the Syrian civil war onto an ordinary girl growing up in London has gone viral on the Internet. Save the Children UK's 94-second clip, released on Wednesday, had racked up around 14 million hits on the YouTube video-sharing website by Saturday. The clip invites viewers to imagine "if Britain were Syria". Starting with the smiling girl blowing out nine candles on a birthday cake, it shows one-second glimpses of her life, which slowly changes from playing with toys and learning the recorder as war takes hold.

Six dead in Syria raids on Yabrud

Syrian helicopter gunships killed at least six people Friday when they dropped barrel bombs on the strategic rebel stronghold of Yabrud, close to the Lebanese border, a monitoring group said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the attacks followed a string of raids by regime warplanes around the town, which the army is trying to recapture. The raids came a day after loyalists backed by Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite movement, killed at least 17 Islamist fighters in the battle for Yabrud.

Syrian warplanes pound key rebel area

Syrian warplanes pounded an area near the rebel-held town of Yabrud near the Lebanese border Friday, a day after at least 17 jihadists were killed in fighting there, a monitor said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Islamist fighters were killed during an offensive by loyalist forces backed by Hezbollah, aimed at seizing hills surrounding Yabrud, which is north of Damascus. Regime aircraft launched six raids on the Al-Aqaba region on Friday, according to the Britain-based watchdog, which relies on reports from activists and medics on the ground.

World powers responsible for failing to stop Syria war crimes: U.N.

By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - All sides in Syria's civil war are using shelling and siege tactics to punish and starve civilians and big powers bear responsibility for allowing such war crimes to persist, U.N. human rights investigators said on Wednesday. The independent investigators, presenting their latest report documenting atrocities in Syria, called again on the U.N. Security Council to refer grave violations of the rules of war to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for prosecution.

Assad holding kin of opposition peace talks team

The Syrian regime has arrested relatives of the opposition's delegation to the Geneva peace talks, a US official said Wednesday, calling for their immediate release. Washington was "outraged" by reports that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad "has arrested family members of the Syrian opposition coalition delegation to the Geneva II peace talks, designated delegates as terrorists, and seized delegates' assets," said State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

UN Security Council unanimously adopts Syria aid resolution

The UN Security Council on Saturday adopted a unanimous but non-binding resolution calling for humanitarian aid convoys to be allowed access across war-torn Syria, but diplomats immediately voiced doubt about its effectiveness. Syria's staunch ally Russia, with support from China, has blocked three previous resolutions aimed at pressuring the Damascus regime since the crisis began in March 2011, with an estimated half of all Syrians urgently awaiting immediate help.

Islamists order women to don veil in eastern Syria

BEIRUT (Reuters) - Islamist rebels in eastern Syria have ordered women to put on the Islamic veil, warning that anyone not doing so would be held to account, in a concerted new attempt by hardliners to impose their strict views on society. In a statement, an organization calling itself the Islamic Law Council of Deir al-Zor gave women until Saturday to don the face veil. It did not say what punishment would befall women who fail to comply with the order.

Looking for Syria options, U.S. remains cool to using force

By Steve Holland and Lesley Wroughton WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Despite a forthcoming review of options in the deteriorating Syria crisis, the White House on Tuesday signaled that President Barack Obama remains wary of any direct U.S. involvement in the three-year-old civil war. With peace talks between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government and his armed opponents having failed for now, and Russia unwilling or unable to pressure its ally Assad to cede power, U.S. policy toward Syria appears to be approaching a crossroads.

Activist, lawyer's daughter arrested in Syria

A prominent human rights activist and the daughter of a well-known lawyer have both been arrested near the Syrian capital Damascus, human rights lawyer Anwar Bunni told AFP on Tuesday. "Jihan Amin and Ranim al-Maatouq were arrested yesterday night at their respective homes in Sahnaya by the military security services," said Bunni, referring to an area 15 kilometres south of the capital. He said it was unclear why the two women had been arrested.
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