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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)

Syria: Sarin gas chemicals destroyed
14 August 2014 - The international chemical weapons watchdog says that all the precursor chemicals for sarin gas removed from Syria have been destroyed. The 580 tonnes of chemicals were neutralized on board a specially built American ship in the Mediterranean Sea. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said the ship's crew have now begun to neutralize 22 tonnes of sulphur mustard. (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

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)

Al-Qaida, hard-line rebels seize Alawite village in Syria
12 May 2016 - Al-Qaida fighters and other ultraconservative Sunni insurgents seized a predominantly Alawite village in central Syria on Thursday, sparking fears of sectarian violence as families from the village were reported missing by activists. Ahrar al-Sham, an ultraconservative Sunni militant group, led the assault on Zaara, along with the Nusra Front, al-Qaida's Syrian franchise, which often fights alongside opposition factions. The Observatory, which covers both sides of the conflict through a network of local activists, said families disappeared from Zaara after the militants took over. Syria's conflict began with peaceful protests against President Bashar Assad but escalated into a civil war after a brutal government crackdown and the rise of an armed insurgency. It became increasingly sectarian with the rise of Sunni insurgent groups and the arrival of Shiite militants from across the region to fight alongside Assad's government. (more)

Retaking Syria's Palmyra reveals more shattered antiquities
28 March 2016 - The recapture of Syria's ancient city of Palmyra from the Islamic State group has brought new revelations of the destruction wreaked by the extremists, who decapitated priceless statues and smashed or looted artifacts in the city's museum. Experts say they need time to assess the full extent of damage in Palmyra, a UNESCO world heritage site which once attracted tens of thousands of tourists every year. The Sunni extremist group, which has imposed a violent interpretation of Islamic law across the territory it controls in Syria and Iraq, claims ancient relics promote idolatry. But it is also believed to have profited from looted antiquities. (more)

Syrians flee to Turkish border as Aleppo assault intensifies
6 February 2016 - Russian and Syrian government forces on Saturday intensified an assault on rebel-held areas around the Syrian city of Aleppo that has prompted tens of thousands to flee to the Turkish border to seek refuge. (more)

Syrian refugees struggle to buy food as aid dwindles
4 February 2016 - Perwin Shamsaddeen Ali, a Syrian refugee living in a tent camp in northern Iraq, has been reduced to cooking one meal a day for her family of four. As aid agencies struggle to keep pace with the worst refugee crisis since World War II they have been forced to cut back on assistance, including food rations. With no end in sight to the Syrian war, and regional host countries increasingly overwhelmed, many refugees see the perilous crossing to Europe as their only option. (more)

Number of Syrian refugees on Jordan border reaches 20,000
31 January 2016 - The number of Syrian refugees stranded on Jordan's border and waiting for permission to enter has risen to 20,000, with 4,000 to 5,000 more arriving in the remote desert area every month, the head of the U.N. refugee agency in the kingdom said Sunday. In recent months, Jordan has permitted only several dozen refugees to enter each day, leading to rapidly growing crowds of Syrians, including women and children, who are stuck in two areas along the Syrian-Jordanian border. (more)

Activists: IS kills at least 75 in attacks in eastern Syria
16 January 2016 - Islamic State militants on Saturday killed dozens of people, most of them pro-government militiamen, in wide-scale attacks on government-held areas of the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, opposition activists said. The Islamic State group controls most of the province and provincial capital with the same name, while the government controls a few neighborhoods in the northern part of the city and the adjacent military airport. The state news agency SANA said IS militants committed 'a massacre,' killing dozens of civilians in Baghaliyeh village. It did not elaborate. It said the group took more than 400 civilians hostage. (more)


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