National News

September 1, 2013

A look at Syria developments around the world

The United States is considering launching a punitive strike against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, blamed by the U.S. and the Syrian opposition for an Aug. 21 alleged chemical weapons attack in a rebel-held suburb of the Syrian capital of Damascus. The U.S. said the attack killed 1,429 people, including at least 426 children. Those numbers are significantly higher than the death toll of 355 provided by the aid group Doctors Without Borders.

President Barack Obama said he has decided that the United States should take military action against Syria but will seek congressional authorization for the use of force.

Here’s a look at key Syria developments around the world Sunday amid heightened tensions over potential military action:

UNITED STATES:

Secretary of State John Kerry asserted the United States has evidence of sarin gas use in Syria. A day after President Barack Obama stepped back from his threat to launch an attack, Kerry said in interviews that the administration learned of the sarin use through samples of hair and blood provided to Washington by first responders in Damascus.

SYRIA:

Syria’s deputy foreign minister, Faysal Mikdad, claimed that Obama stepped back from his threat because his administration lacks evidence of Syrian government involvement in purported poison gas attacks. Syria’s state-run news agency SANA quoted Assad saying that his government is capable of confronting a U.S. strike, but did not carry his exact comments.

UNITED NATIONS:

U.N. spokesman Martin Nesirky said that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asked the head of the U.N. chemical weapons inspection team to expedite the analysis of tests from samples collected from its visits to alleged chemical weapons attack sites in Syria. He said two Syrian government officials are observing the process as mandated by guidelines that safeguard the samples’ chain of custody. Nesirky declined comment on when results were expected.

FRANCE:

Francois Fillon, France’s ex-prime minister and leading figure in the opposition UMP party, said the French parliament should get the same privilege the U.S. Congress will have to vote on Syria intervention. France’s parliament is scheduled to debate the issue Wednesday, but no vote is scheduled. President Francois Hollande backs Obama’s decision for a strike. The French constitution doesn’t require such a vote unless and until a French military intervention lasts longer than four months.

VATICAN:

Pope Francis condemned the use of chemical weapons and called for a negotiated settlement to the civil war in Syria. Francis spoke with anguish about Syria: “My heart is deeply wounded by what is happening in Syria and anguished by the dramatic developments” on the horizon, an apparent reference to the U.S. and France considering a military strike against the Syrian regime.

MEDITERRANEAN SEA:

Five U.S. Navy destroyers were in the eastern Mediterranean Sea — armed with dozens of Tomahawk cruise missiles, which have a range of about 1,000 nautical miles (1,151 miles, 1,852 kilometers) and are used for precise targeting. Obama announced Friday that “we are prepared to strike whenever we choose.”

IRAN:

Iranian state TV said an Iranian parliamentary delegation in Damascus visited with Syrians allegedly injured in chemical weapons attacks that the Assad regime blames on rebels. They were also expected to meet with the Syrian prime minister and foreign minister.

ISRAEL:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu  Israel’s prime minister tried to soothe a jittery nation unnerved by the standoff between the U.S. and Syria, saying Israel is “calm and self-assured” and ready for “any possible scenario.” More Israelis lined up to receive free gas masks, fearing Israel could be targeted in retribution if Syria is hit by a punitive strike.

TURKEY:

Syrian refugees continued crossing the border into Turkey, despite the delay of a possible U.S. military strike targeting Assad’s government. Refugee Mohammed Yaser said arms shipments to rebels would hurt Assad more than a U.S. strike: “If they give us weapons, we can deal with it in one week.”

 

1
Text Only
National News
  • 5 features an Amazon phone might offer

    A report this week in The Wall Street Journal that Amazon is planning to release a smartphone has prompted industry analysts and technology blogs to muse about what the device might offer.

    April 19, 2014

  • Colorado deaths stoke worries about pot edibles

    A college student eats more than the recommended dose of a marijuana-laced cookie and jumps to his death from a hotel balcony. A husband with no history of violence is accused of shooting his wife in the head, possibly after eating pot-infused candy.

    April 19, 2014

  • Boston prepares for huge wave of marathon visitors

    With an expanded field of runners and the memory of last year’s bombings elevating interest in one of the world’s great races, the 2014 Boston Marathon could bring an unprecedented wave of visitors and an influx of tourism dollars to the area.

    April 19, 2014

  • Autopsy to ID dead boy; body cast off side of road

    All Massachusetts authorities could say for sure is that they found the lifeless body of a small boy, apparently cast off the side of a highway.

    April 19, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know: This Week’s Takeaways

    Looking back at the stories to remember from the past week:

    April 19, 2014

  • Remembering an officer slain after bombs went off

    Like many other youngsters, Sean Collier wanted to be a police officer. Unlike most, he brought that dream to life — and then died doing it, becoming a central character in one of the most gripping manhunts the nation has ever seen.

    April 18, 2014

  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87

    Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez crafted intoxicating fiction from the fatalism, fantasy, cruelty and heroics of the world that set his mind churning as a child growing up on Colombia’s Caribbean coast.

    April 18, 2014

  • 10 Things to Know for Friday

    Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Why high oil prices are actually good for airlines

    Airline executives frequently complain about fuel costs. But the truth is higher prices actually have been good for business.

    April 17, 2014

  • Armed robber was never told to report to prison

    After he was convicted of armed robbery in 2000, Cornealious Anderson was sentenced to 13 years behind bars and told to await instructions on when and where to report to prison. But those instructions never came.

    April 17, 2014