Over 200,000 Syrians are estimated to have disappeared, and families have little chance of ever finding out if they’re alive or dead
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's uncle, suspected of using ill-gotten gains to build a property empire in France, has been charged with corruption, French officials say.
Rifaat al-Assad, 78, who commanded Syria's internal security forces in the 1970s and early 1980s, was charged on June 9 with receiving embezzled funds and tax fraud, a spokesman for the financial prosecutor's office said on Tuesday.
For Iran, the ongoing war in Syria is no longer a matter of regional security. The conflict now has direct effects and implications for Iran's national security. This perspective is clear in the daily statements coming from Tehran, from the images of slain Iranian soldiers and high-ranking officers laid to rest in the Iranian capital and most recently the appointment of Rear Adm. Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, as military and security coordinator of the joint cooperation group on Syria with Moscow and Damascus.
John Kerry, the US secretary of state, has warned the Syrian regime and its main military backer Russia to respect "frayed" ceasefire and said that its "patience was not infinite" amid mounting death toll.
"Russia needs to understand that our patience is not infinite, in fact it is very limited with whether or not [Bashar] al-Assad is going to be held accountable," Kerry said on Wednesday after meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.
A report released by rights group The Syria Campaign accuses the United Nations of delivering 99 percent of its aid to government-controlled territories, and calls on the UN to "restore its impartiality".
The report, based on interviews with aid workers, including current and former UN staff, finds the UN in Syria in breach of its humanitarian principles and at risk of fuelling the conflict.
Air drops to distribute aid in Syria can only go ahead only with “the benign blessing” of the Syrian government, the UN special envoy to Syria, Staffan de Mistura, has said, while insisting he was not backtracking from an apparently more assertive stance taken by the international community in May.
Syrian President Bashar Assad hardened his position on U.N.-sponsored peace talks in his first address to the newly elected parliament broadcast on state television on Tuesday.
"We will not agree to any topic outside the statement of principles we presented to the U.N. We just won't accept it," Assad told lawmakers.
The document submitted by the government delegation stresses that Syria will be ruled by a "unity government" -- not a "transitional governing body" without Assad as called for by the opposition.
The chief Syrian opposition negotiator in Geneva has resigned, citing both the international community’s failure to make concrete progress toward ending Syria’s five-year conflict and continuing hostilities by the Assad regime.
The EU on Friday (May 27) extended for another year sanctions against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime over its "violent repression" of civilians, maintaining an oil embargo and a freeze on Syrian central bank assets.
The European Council, which groups the 28-member bloc, rolled over existing sanctions in line with a decision it took in December 2014 to continue sanctions "as long as repression continues," it said in a statement.
"The Council extended EU restrictive measures against the Syrian regime until 1 June 2017," the statement said.
Geneva/United Nations: There will be no new round of Syria talks for at least two or three weeks, the office of UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura said in a statement on Thursday, after he consulted the UN Security Council for about two and a half hours.
“He briefed on his intention to start the next round of talks as soon as feasible but certainly not within the next two/three weeks,” said the statement.
It said de Mistura wanted to see progress on the ground, particularly relating to the cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access.
Kurdish-led forces have massed thousands of fighters as part of a military offensive to take over Raqqa, the northern Syrian city controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group for more than two and a half years.
The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed coalition of armed groups led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), said it has mobilised thousands of fighters in the countryside north of Raqqa.
Fighting was reportedly ongoing on Tuesday near Ain Issa, situated 55km from the ISIL-controlled city.
Syrians voted in a parliamentary election in government-held areas of the country on Wednesday in what they called a show of support for President Bashar al-Assad, while his opponents and Western powers denounced the poll as illegitimate.
The election went ahead independently of a U.N.-led peace process aimed at ending the five-year-long war. A second round of talks began in Geneva on Wednesday but an upsurge in fighting has darkened the already bleak outlook for diplomacy.