The Trump administration on Wednesday ramped up pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad and his inner circle with a raft of new economic and travel sanctions for human rights abuses and blocking a settlement of the country's bloody nine-year conflict.
The State Department said 39 Syrian individuals, including Assad and his wife, had been designated for the new sanctions. Others include members of the extended Assad family, senior military leaders and business executives. Many of those on the list were already subject to U.S. sanctions, but the penalties also target non-Syrians who do business with them.Full Story
Turkey said Wednesday it has airlifted troops for a cross-border ground operation against Turkey's Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq, the first known airborne-and-land offensive by Ankara inside Iraqi territory.
The airborne offensive into Iraq's border region of Haftanin, some 15 kilometers (9 miles) from the Turkey-Iraq border, was launched following intense artillery fire into the area, said the Defense Ministry in Ankara.Full Story
Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah on Tuesday distanced his party from the rioters who ransacked central Beirut in the weekend and denied seeking a government change, as he described the dollar shortage crisis as a U.S. "conspiracy."
"When protests erupted over the rise in the dollar exchange rate and acts of violence occurred in Beirut and Tripoli, some held the Shiite duo responsible and said the Shiite duo wanted to topple the government. In the past they said this is Hizbullah’s government, so is Hizbullah stupid to topple its government? This is a sign of confusion and absurdity," said Nasrallah in a televised speech.Full Story
North Korea blew up an inter-Korean liaison office building just inside its border in an act Tuesday that sharply raises tensions on the Korean Peninsula amid deadlocked nuclear diplomacy with the United States.
Seoul's Unification Ministry said the building in the North Korean border town of Kaesong was destroyed at 2:49 p.m. It gave no further details.Full Story
Chinese authorities locked down a third neighborhood in Beijing on Tuesday as they rushed to prevent the spread of a new coronavirus outbreak that has infected more than 100 people in a country that appeared to have largely contained the virus.
The resurgence in China highlighted public health expert calls for vigilance as many nations move forward with easing virus restrictions to revive their economies.Full Story
Lebanese protesters took to the streets in Beirut and other cities Saturday in mostly peaceful protests against the government, calling for its resignation as the small country sinks deeper into economic distress.
The protests come after two days of rallies spurred by a dramatic collapse of the local currency against the dollar. Those rallies degenerated into violence, including attacks on private banks and shops.Full Story
Protests went ahead in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in far-flung parts of Australia on Saturday against the advice of government and health authorities but on a significantly smaller scale than the previous weekend, when tens of thousands rallied in cities along the east coast.
The biggest demonstration was in Perth, the Western Australia state capital, where the Australian Broadcasting Corp. estimated that 5,000 people gathered to honor George Floyd and remember indigenous Australian people who have died while in custody.Full Story
For months, Kamal Nasser, a successful plumbing contractor in Lebanon, has seen his business base erode.
There are almost no new construction projects as people save for gloomier days, and with the local currency on a downward spiral, he has not been able to import his most basic materials — tubes or plumbing valves from Europe and Ukraine.Full Story
In scenes not witnessed for years in government-controlled parts of Syria, dozens of men and women marched through the streets this week, protesting a sharp increase in prices and collapse of the currency, some even calling for the downfall of President Bashar Assad and his ruling Baath party.
"He who starves his people is a traitor," some of the protesters chanted at the protest in the southern city of Sweida.Full Story
Prime Minister Hassan Diab held an emergency Cabinet meeting Friday morning after a night of raging protests that saw demonstrators shut down roads across the country with burning tires in renewed protests spurred by a plunging national currency.
Scuffles with security forces broke out in several locations Thursday night as people spontaneously took to the streets after the pound tumbled to a new low against the dollar. Protesters in central Beirut pelted police and soldiers with rocks and smashed some storefronts, drawing volleys of tear gas.Full Story