Syria's Assad says West wants to weaken Russia

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accused the West of trying to weaken Russia by turning Ukraine into a puppet state, a tactic he said had also been used against his own country.

Israel says Golan resident spied for Syria

 Israel on Friday charged a Druze resident of the occupied Golan Heights with spying for Syria, the Shin Bet internal security service and police said.

Turkey Army Chief visits historic tomb inside Syria

Turkey`s Army Chief General Necdet Ozel and top commanders have for the first time visited the new location of a historic tomb inside Syrian territory, the military said on Friday.

Assad says Syria open to dialogue with US

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is open to dialogue with the United States, the leader said in an interview with US television network CBS.

Arabs inch closer to old dream of joint Arab force

Arab leaders meeting this weekend in this Egyptian Red Sea resort are moving closer than ever to creating a joint Arab military force, a sign of a new determination among Saudi Arabia, Egypt and their allies to intervene aggressively in regional hotspots, whether against Islamic militants or spreading Iranian power.

'Syria's Assad says open to dialogue with US'

 Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is open to having a dialogue with the United States, but there can be no "pressuring of the sovereignty" of his country, he said in an excerpt of an interview with CBS` "60 Minutes" that aired on Thursday.

440,000 Syrians besieged in `savagery` of war: UN

 About 440,000 Syrians are now trapped in areas besieged by fighting, more than double the total from last month, as the war reaches "breathtaking levels of savagery", UN aid chief Valerie Amos said Thursday.

US has no policy to protect Syrian force after training: General

 Syrian opposition forces being trained to fight Islamic State militants will need support from the U.S.-led coalition when they return home, but the Obama administration has yet to decide what protection to offer, a top US commander said on Thursday.

At least 71 dead as rebels advance on Syria's Idlib: Monitor

Islamist fighters have seized 17 checkpoints from Syrian forces in clashes around the city of Idlib that have cost at least 71 lives, a monitor said today.

UK MPs warn against growing number of British jihadists

A committee of British lawmakers chaired by Indian-origin MP Keith Vaz has warned the government that it is not doing enough to prevent youngsters leaving the UK to join Islamic State extremists in Iraq and Syria.

UK to train Syrian opposition forces to fight IS group: minister

 Britain will begin training Syrian "moderate opposition forces" in Turkey and other regional countries within weeks as part of its efforts to fight Islamic State militants, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced on Thursday.

Arabs to consider joint military force at Egypt summit

 Saudi-led strikes on Yemeni rebels are set to dominate an Arab summit that will consider forming a joint military force as several countries in the region teeter on the brink of collapse.

Saudi-led action in Yemen is "blatant aggression": Syrian media

 The Syrian state news agency said a Saudi-led military operation launched in Yemen on Thursday was an act of "blatant aggression".

Syria, Iraq conflicts send asylum-seeker numbers up 45%: UN

The number of asylum-seekers in industrialised countries rose by nearly half last year, driven by the devastating conflicts in Syria and Iraq, with Germany the top destination, the UN refugee agency said Thursday.

In Syria, race to save antiquities from looting, damage

Workers at Syria`s National Museum of Damascus carefully wrap statues and place them in boxes to be transported to a safe place, hoping to save the priceless pieces from theft or destruction.

Syria destroys three chemical weapons sites

 Syria has destroyed three of its 12 chemical weapons production sites but is unable to dismantle three other facilities because of security conditions, the OPCW chemical watchdog said in its latest report.

Kerry brands Assad `a brutal dictator`

 US Secretary of State John Kerry branded Bashar al-Assad "a brutal dictator" Wednesday, a week after suggesting that it would be necessary to negotiate with the Syrian president to forge peace.

Syrian rebels seize historic town in south: Monitor

 Insurgents seized a historic town in southern Syria from the government on Wednesday, a group monitoring the war said, part of a rebel counter-attack to stop Damascus reclaiming the border zone near Israel and Jordan.

Syria`s Assad meets far-right Belgian politician

Syria`s President Bashar al-Assad on Wednesday received a delegation of Belgian lawmakers led by far-right Flemish nationalist Filip Dewinter, state media reported.

Syria returnees likely behind Indonesia chlorine bomb: Police

Indonesian militants believed to have returned from fighting with the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria are suspected of being behind an attempted chlorine bomb attack in a shopping mall last month, police said Wednesday.