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Traditional music returns in Syria's war torn Aleppo
14 February 2018 - Traditional musicians in Syria's Aleppo say their art is flourishing again 13 months after fighting in the city ended, as new students learn the techniques of 'Qoudud' singing. At the National Choral Institute in Aleppo, singing coach Ahmed Kedah said he has between 30 and 50 pupils, including both school children and university students. The Qoudud style has a long history in Aleppo and is famous across Syria. (more)

Syria formally joins Paris climate agreement: U.N.
14 November 2017 - Syria has formally jointed the 2015 Paris deal aimed at slowing climate change, the United Nations said on Tuesday, leaving the United States as the only country opposed to the pact. Syria, racked by civil war, and Nicaragua were the only two nations outside the 195-nation pact when it was agreed in 2015. Nicaragua's left-wing government, which originally denounced the plan as too weak, signed up last month. (more)

Syrian schools grow edible playgrounds to boost children's diets
29 August 2017 - School playgrounds across Syria are being transformed into vegetable gardens where children whose diets have been devastated by six years of war can learn to grow -- and then eat -- aubergines, lettuces, peppers, cabbages and cucumbers. So far the 17 primary schools, which began planting in May, have produced 12 tonnes of fruit and vegetables. Another 35 schools are expected to start transforming their playgrounds soon in Aleppo and in rural areas around Damascus. (more)

Syria truce largely holds as aid preparations begin
13 September 2016 - A new ceasefire in Syria brought a full day with no combat deaths in the war between President Bashar al-Assad and his opponents, a monitoring body said on Tuesday, as efforts to deliver aid to besieged areas got cautiously under way. Twenty-four hours after the truce took effect, United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura declared the situation had improved dramatically, saying U.N. aid access should be possible soon including to eastern Aleppo, the rebel-held half of the city that is under blockade. (more)

France helps Syrian archaeologists restore world famous antiquities
25 May 2016 - Young Syrians tasked with restoring their country's world famous archaeological heritage, ravaged by five years of war, are getting a helping hand from French experts. Syria's antiquities chief, Maamoun Abdulkarim, has already moved thousands of artifacts from the ancient city of Palmyra and other historic sites into safekeeping. He has now invited the experts to spend a year training Syrian architects and archaeologists in restoration techniques. (more)

Russia to start clearing Palmyra of mines this week
28 March 2016 - Russia will be sending troops and equipment later this week to demine the archaeological site in the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra which was recaptured from Islamic State fighters last week. Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier this month ordered the bulk of Russian forces in Syria to withdraw. (more)

Russia, U.S. agree to speed up Syria peace effort
25 March 2016 - Russia and the United States agreed at talks in Moscow on Thursday to use their influence over the sides in the Syria conflict to speed up progress towards a political solution. The atmosphere at the talks was less frosty than in previous encounters. Russian President Vladimir Putin cracked jokes, and afterwards, both U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov tried to accentuate the common ground in their relationship, rather than their many differences. (more)

Guns fall silent as delicate Syria truce takes effect
27 February 2016 - Guns mostly fell silent in Syria and Russian air raids stopped on Saturday, as a cessation of hostilities appeared to hold for its first day, described by the United Nations as the best hope for peace in five years of civil war. 'Let's pray that this works because frankly this is the best opportunity we can imagine the Syrian people has had for the last five years in order to see something better and hopefully something related to peace,' United Nations Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said at a midnight news conference in Geneva. (more)

Composer brings music to children 
in refugee camps
8 December 2015 - A composer and Edinburgh University music professor has travelled to Syria and Lebanon to hold arts workshops for refugee children caught up in the Syrian civil war. Professor Nigel Osborne, an emeritus professor and former Reid Professor of Music at the university, is spending at least a week every month working in refugee camps in Lebanon on the Syrian border to help bring stability to a generation of young people who have lost access to formal schooling. He is also involved in a flagship project with children within Syria. (more)

Ninety-six per cent of Syria's declared chemical weapons destroyed - UN-OPCW mission chief
4 September 2014 - The Special Coordinator for the Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations (OPCW-UN) told the Security Council on 4 September that 96 per cent of Syria's declared stockpile, including the most dangerous chemicals, had been destroyed and preparations were underway to destroy the remaining 12 production facilities. (more)

Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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A proven solution to the Syrian crisis
25 September 2013 - President Obama said, '. . . my administration has tried diplomacy and sanctions, warning, and negotiations--but chemical weapons were still used by the Assad regime.' Even if Assad gives up his chemical weapons and joins the Chemical Weapons Convention, prohibiting their use, the Syrian crisis will still not be solved, write Teresa Studzinski and Dr David Leffler in International News. Obama's previous actions and any future military actions are based largely on conjecture. It is particularly dangerous to base actions on guesswork, especially in the Middle East--a massive regional firestorm could erupt. If President Obama has the political will to order his military to deploy an effective, scientifically-validated approach--Invincible Defense Technology--he no longer needs to base actions on guesses, and the US could create lasting world peace (more)

Syria: Business institute, national media feature Transcendental Meditation for health and executive performance
17 September 2009 - A leading business institute hosted a series of seminars in Syria last month on the Transcendental Meditation Programme (TM) for peak executive performance. Syria's Teachers of Transcendental Meditation have created a wave of interest and media coverage since inaugurating the nation's first TM Centre earlier this summer. (more)

Syria, Lebanon see progress in establishing Maharishi's programmes
23 July 2009 - On 13 July 2009, as part of the extended celebration of Guru Purnima in MERU, Holland, Raja Lucien Mansour, Raja of Invincible Syria and Lebanon for the Global Country of World Peace, offered brief summaries of recent progress towards achieving invincibility in these countries of his domain. (more)

Syria: Students and staff at Armenian school learn Transcendental Meditation Programme
30 January 2009 - The National Directors of Syria for the Global Country of World Peace have taken the first steps in introducing the Transcendental Meditation Programme into an Armenian school within their country. (more)

Syrian magazine article features benefits of Transcendental Meditation Programme
26 January 2009 - A comprehensive four-page article on the Transcendental Meditation Programme was recently published in a Syrian magazine, the first of a series of articles on the programme and its benefits for all aspects of life. (more)

Short Summaries of Top Stories

Cornered in Syria, IS lays groundwork for a new insurgency
6 February 2019 - The Islamic State gunmen came out of hiding in the middle of the night and set up a checkpoint on a rural road in eastern Syria. For several hours, they stopped those passing and searched through their mobile phones to check their allegiances, until they vanished again into the desert. One young man, an education worker, got through the checkpoint safely. But when he got to his destination in the next village, the threat was waiting for him. An IS loyalist told him: Don't remove pro-IS graffiti from school walls or you will pay the price. (more)

7 years on, Syrians despair over a country in pieces
15 March 2018 - For Syrians marking seven years of war, their country has never looked as helpless or fragmented. President Bashar Assad has decimated the rebellion, thanks to massive military aid from Russia and Iran, but foreign powers have carved out zones of influence across the country. Hundreds of thousands of Syrians are trapped in besieged areas, and heavy fighting is underway in the suburbs of Damascus and in the north, where al-Qaida-linked militants are clashing with rival insurgents and Turkish troops are battling a Syrian Kurdish militia. (more)

Thousands flee violence in mass exodus from Syrian towns
15 March 2018 - Tens of thousands of terrified men, women and children streamed out on foot and in pick-up trucks Thursday from besieged enclaves on two fronts, fleeing bombings from the Syrian military near the capital, Damascus, and Turkish troops in the country's north. It was the largest single-day exodus of civilians from fighting in Syria's civil war and a reminder of how the conflict that sparked the world's worst humanitarian catastrophe continues to hit new lows as it enters its eighth year. (more)

Syria suffering some of worst fighting of war, UN warns
12 February 2018 - The United Nations said on Monday (12 February) the suffering of civilians in Syria has worsened since it called for a ceasefire six days ago in a humanitarian initiative that was rapidly derailed by an even more intense bombardment. ... 'The military escalation throughout Syria, including the events we have seen on the Israeli border over the weekend, is deeply worrying. It could indeed lead to a dangerous spillover,' a spokeswoman for the European Commission said on Monday. (more)

Defector says thousands of Islamic State fighters left Raqqa in secret deal
7 December 2017 - A high-level defector from Kurdish-led forces that captured the Syrian city of Raqqa from Islamic State has recanted his account of the city's fall, saying thousands of IS fighters -- many more than first reported -- left under a secret, U.S.-approved deal. Talal Silo, a former commander in the Syrian Democratic Forces ... told Reuters in an interview that the number of fighters who were allowed to go was far higher and the account of a last-ditch battle was a fiction designed to keep journalists away while the evacuation took place. At the time there were conflicting accounts of whether or not foreign Islamic State fighters had been allowed to leave Raqqa. The BBC later reported that one of the drivers in the exodus described a convoy of up to 7 km (4 miles) long made up of 50 trucks, 13 buses, and 100 Islamic State vehicles, packed with fighters and ammunition. (more)

Syria: Raqqas dirty secret (+ BBC News video)
13 November 2017 - The BBC has uncovered details of a deal that let hundreds of IS fighters -- including foreign militants -- and their families escape from Raqqa in Syria, under the gaze of the US and British-led coalition and Kurdish-led forces who control the city. Great pains were taken to hide it from the world. But the BBC has spoken to dozens of people who were either on the convoy, or observed it, and to the men who negotiated the deal. (more)

A look at Palmyra, the historic Syrian city retaken by IS
11 December 2016 - A look at Palmyra, the archaeological gem that Islamic State fighters retook Sunday from Syrian troops in a major advance after a year of setbacks in Syria and neighboring Iraq. A desert oasis surrounded by palm trees in central Syria, Palmyra is also a strategic crossroads linking the Syrian capital, Damascus, with the country's east and neighboring Iraq. Located 155 miles (215 kilometers) east of Damascus, the city was once home to 65,000 people before the Syrian civil war began. . . . (more)

Militants retake ancient city of Palmyra from Syrian forces
11 December 2016 - Islamic State militants recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra from Syrian troops Sunday, according to both sides in the battle, scoring a major advance after a year of setbacks in Syria and neighboring Iraq. In winning back Palmyra, the extremist group appeared to be taking advantage of the Syrian and Russian preoccupation with Aleppo, timing its attack to coincide with a major government offensive to capture the last remaining opposition-held neighborhoods in the northern city. (more)

Syria diplomacy: A US-Russia deal unravels and war revs up
23 September 2016 - In a New York hotel room earlier this week, Russia thought it was close to a deal with the U.S. to revive a cease-fire deal for Syria. Regardless of the differing accounts, the fallout from the failure was severe. By Thursday afternoon, as [U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry and [Russian Foreign Minister Sergey] Lavrov met with more than a dozen European and Arab foreign ministers, Russia was helping Syria's government launch a fresh offensive on the already besieged city of Aleppo. The week's breakdown in the diplomacy on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly occurred as violence in Syria accelerated. Several high-profile and deadly attacks suggested the war could be entering a darker phase. First, an errant U.S. strike on a Syrian military contingent killed dozens. Then, four medics were killed in a bombing raid, presumably by Syria or Russia. The 5 1/2-year war has killed as many as a half-million people, contributed to Europe's worst refugee crisis since World War II, and allowed IS to emerge as a global terror threat. (more)

Aid trucks hit by air strikes as Syria says ceasefire over
19 September 2016 - Air raids hit aid trucks near the city of Aleppo on Monday, a monitoring group reported, as the Syrian military declared that a week-long ceasefire was over. The attacks were carried out by either Syrian or Russian aircraft, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, adding that there had been 35 strikes in and around Aleppo since the truce ended. (more)


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