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February 20, 2015 2:59 PM Snowstorm Sweeps Through Middle East

A massive storm system swept through the Middle East on Thursday night and Israel's capital awoke today to more than a foot of snow, turning the holy city into a veritable winter wonderland. Some 230 snow plows were out in force, according to Haaretz, and 400 tons of salt would be spread on main roads. Even Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu snapped a snowy 37

February 20, 2015 8:15 AM Assad's 'stoking of sectarian tensions' propelled IS | Middle East Eye

The Syrian government’s "deliberate stoking of sectarian tensions" helped to catapult the rise of Islamic State, President Barack Obama said Thursday. As Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government fomented tensions and led a "war against his own people," former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s government "helped to pave the way for ISIL’s gains 38

February 19, 2015 7:43 PM Without naming the enemy, Turkey and U.S. sign pact to train Syrians

Turkey and the United States signed an accord Thursday to jointly train and equip thousands of Syrians over the next three years in a rare sign of cooperation between the NATO allies. But the document, which wasn’t made public, apparently doesn’t spell out whom the Syrians will be trained to fight. The two countries couldn’t agree whether the rebels 13

February 19, 2015 2:03 PM 'We had to adapt': Syrian refugees inject fresh life, business into camp

An electrician-turned-entrepreneur, he knew his upstart pizza parlor needed a kick. So Abu Mohamad came up with the idea of using bikes to bring his customers their margarita, za'atar and mince pies. It's not just about coming up with business innovations or delivery options. Thinking outside the box becomes a necessity when you're essentially living 51

February 18, 2015 11:59 PM Syrians are deeply split after years of warfare, survey finds

As the United Nations’ special envoy for Syria is reporting progress toward a cease-fire in embattled Aleppo, a new survey suggests that divisions in the country have deepened and few civilians on either side see much hope in a negotiated settlement. The sampling of views across the political spectrum may not encourage the efforts of U.N. envoy Staffan 58

February 18, 2015 11:37 PM Syria prepared to suspend Aleppo bombing, says UN envoy

As fighting surged north of Aleppo yesterday, United Nations envoy Staffan de Mistura said the Syrian government was prepared to suspend aerial bombardment and artillery shelling of insurgent-held areas of the city for six weeks from a date to be announced in Damascus. At least 70 Syrian army soldiers and 86 insurgents from al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat 28

February 18, 2015 10:06 PM Why Rebels Are Wary of Assad's Aleppo Pledge

Much of the Syrian city of Aleppo is little more than rubble, damaged by the intense fighting between rebel and government forces over the last four years. The city’s homes, factories and infrastructure have been destroyed by mortars and air strikes. So when the Syrian government promised to halt its air bombardment of Aleppo as part of a UN-brokered 26

February 18, 2015 4:36 PM Once a top booster, ex-U.S. envoy no longer backs arming Syrian rebels

Robert Ford was always one of the Syrian rebels’ loudest cheerleaders in Washington, agitating from within a reluctant administration to arm vetted moderates to fight Bashar Assad’s brutal regime. In recent weeks, however, Ford, the former U.S. ambassador to Syria who made news when he left government service a year ago with an angry critique of Obama 19

February 18, 2015 4:03 PM Four years on, some in Europe support talking to Assad

BEIRUT/PARIS (Reuters) - Some European Union countries which withdrew their ambassadors from Syria are saying privately it is time for more communication with Damascus even though Britain and France oppose it, diplomats said. Those states have become more vocal in internal meetings about the need to talk to the Syrian government and have a presence in the capital 29

February 18, 2015 9:27 AM Syrian activists are heckling ISIS online

(CNN)Hidden, but vocal, average Syrians are questioning one of the most feared terror groups in the world and attempting to hold them accountable for crimes committed against the civilian population. From an undisclosed location, a Syrian activist operating under the pseudonym Rafiq spoke to CNN about the war taking place on one of ISIS's main front 14