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Free Syrian Army fires military chief

The Free Syrian Army said Sunday it had fired Selim Idriss as its military chief, citing the "difficulties faced by the Syrian revolution" in its battle with the regime. In a video broadcast on the Internet, the rebel coalition said its military council had decided to replace Idriss with Abdel al-Ilah al-Bachir. A source inside the Syrian opposition told AFP Idriss -- who was appointed to the role in December 2012 -- had faced criticism for failings on the battlefield.

Free Syrian Army fires military chief

The Free Syrian Army announced Sunday it had fired Selim Idriss as its military chief and appointed Abdel al-Ilah al-Bachir to replace him. In a video broadcast on the Internet, the rebel coalition said its military council had decided to replace Idriss because of "the difficulties faced by the Syrian revolution" in its battle with President Bashar al-Assad's regime. ram/cc/jta

World efforts and failures to end Syria war

Several international efforts to end the nearly three-year war in Syria have failed to halt the bloody conflict that has killed more than 140,000 people and forced millions to flee. The second round of peace talks between government and opposition representatives broke off Saturday in Geneva with no progress and no date set for a third round. Here is a timeline of international initiatives and measures since the war erupted in mid-March 2011. 2011

France blames Syrian regime for collapse of Geneva talks

France on Saturday blamed the Syrian regime for the collapse of talks aimed at ending the bloodshed in Syria, saying that it had blocked any possibility of progress. "I blame the attitude of the Syrian regime, which blocked any progress on establishing a transition government and stepped up violence and acts of terror against the civilian population," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said in a statement. cr-ial/ric/gd

Russia must press the Syrian regime on peace talks

Washington called Friday on Russia to push Damascus to seriously engage in peace talks in Geneva, as a second negotiation round appeared to be fizzling out with no sign of progress. "Clearly, the Russians need to push the Syrian regime much more than they have," said State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. The so-called Geneva II process was initiated by the United States, which backs the Syrian opposition coalition, and Moscow, which supports the government in Damascus.

Thousands flee Syrian town as 'major assault' looms

By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - Thousands of people have fled a rebel-held town in Syria after it was bombed and shelled in an operation that has prompted fears of a major assault by ground troops, the United Nations said on Friday. The fighting came as peace talks in Geneva neared the end of a second round with the government and opposition sides sticking to their positions and as far from agreement as ever.

Car bomb kills at least 32 in Syria

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A car bomb killed at least 32 people in a town in southern Syria on Friday, including 10 rebel fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. The bomb, which killed at least one child, went off near a mosque in the town of al-Yadouda near the border with Jordan, the Observatory said. Syrian state TV also reported a car bomb in Yadouda, but did not give a casualty figure. Car bombs are commonly deployed as a weapon in the three-year old Syrian conflict.

Car bomb kills at least 18 in Syria

BEIRUT (Reuters) - A car bomb killed at least 18 people a town in southern Syria on Friday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported. The bomb went off near a mosque in the town of al-Yadouda near the border with Jordan, Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Observatory, said by phone. Car bombs are commonly deployed as a weapon in the three-year old Syrian conflict.

Prospects 'grim' as deadlocked Syria peace talks wrap up

Syria's warring sides are due to end another round of peace talks in Geneva Friday, with hopes of progress dim as the foes remain mired in blame-trading over the violence ravaging their country. The gridlock, which has seen the rivals fail to even agree on an agenda for the talks, has prompted Washington and Moscow to use their clout with their respective allies to help revive the process. A Western diplomat said prospects were "grim" as the second round of talks drew to a close, and UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi admitted that "failure is always staring at us in the face".

Russia, US vow to help unblock Syria talks

Washington and Moscow promised Thursday to help unblock stagnant Syrian peace talks, as Western countries demanded that Damascus keep its promise to release males detained during the evacuation from Homs. The United States and Russia have "promised that they will help both here and in their capitals and elsewhere to unblock the situation for us," UN mediator Lakhdar Brahimi told reporters in Geneva after meeting high-level diplomats from the two countries.
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