ANTAKYA, Turkey — The Islamic State released the latest in a series of propaganda videos Thursday, a slickly produced introduction to what it promised would be a multipart series on the group and the folly of efforts by the United States to fight it. The segment is a sharp departure from the IS’s recent grisly videos showing a black-clad executioner beheading Western hostages in the desert, which helped galvanize international support for wider military action against the group.
Videos show mass killing the Islamic state in Syria
BAGHDAD — Fighters from the Islamic State stripped more than 100 captured Syrian soldiers down to their underwear and marched them through the desert to a patch of sand, where they were lined up and gunned down, according to video images posted online Thursday and a fighter from the group who was reached through the Internet.
Syria declares its readiness in efforts to fight jihadists
BAGHDAD — Syria’s foreign minister said Monday that his government was ready to cooperate with international efforts to fight the extremists of the Islamic State. But in a nod to the possibility of expanded U.S. airstrikes, he warned that any action inside Syria without the government’s approval would be considered “aggression.”
Syria announces Assad’s bid for re-election as war rages
BEIRUT — The Syrian government announced Monday that President Bashar Assad will compete in a presidential election scheduled for June 3 that is widely seen as an attempt to enhance his perceived legitimacy despite a raging civil war that has pushed his government out of much of the country and displaced millions of citizens.
Rebel feuding in Syria affects northern border town
BEIRUT — A group of powerful rebel brigades in northern Syria is struggling to defuse an armed standoff pitting insurgents against an al-Qaida affiliate for control of a strategic town near the Turkish border. The conflict over the town, Azaz, has shuttered a Turkish border crossing long used to supply the rebel movement and heightened tensions between rebels who seek the ouster of President Bashar Assad and extremists who want to erase Syria’s borders and found a transnational Islamic state.
Mixed feelings for Syrians as they await a US strike
BEIRUT — In a narrow alley in the old city of Damascus, a shopkeeper who opposes the Syrian government spent Thursday as usual, drinking coffee with the other merchants who keep him company in place of long-vanished tourists. But the calm on the cobblestone street, he said, could hardly mask the fear and ambivalence over an American military strike.
Confident Syria used chemicals, US mulls action
WASHINGTON — Moving a step closer to possible U.S. military action in Syria, a senior Obama administration official said Sunday that there was “very little doubt” that President Bashar Assad’s military forces had used chemical weapons against civilians last week and that a Syrian promise to allow U.N. inspectors access to the site was “too late to be credible”.