Middle East News

  • The Latest: Diplomats agree to Syria cease-fire in a week

    BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest developments on the war in Syria, the refugee crisis and security talks in Munich, Germany. (all times local):

    Associated Press20 mins ago
  • IMF says West Bank economy dips on slower aid, Israel blockade

    The International Monetary Fund said Thursday that economic growth in the Israeli-occupied West Bank slowed to an estimated 2.8 percent in 2015 and was likely to remain below 3.0 percent this year. In a statement concluding a week-long visit to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the IMF said Gaza…

    AFP
  • George Clooney hopes to meet Merkel to discuss refugees

    BERLIN (AP) — Actor George Clooney says he plans to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the situation in Syria, which has contributed to the surge in refugees coming to Europe over the past year.

    Associated Press
  • AP appoints Zeina Karam news director for Lebanon and Syria

    CAIRO (AP) — The Associated Press has named Zeina Karam as its news director for Lebanon and Syria, a new position that consolidates leadership in video, text and photo coverage.

    Associated Press
  • NATO launches sea mission against migrant traffickers

    By Robin Emmott and Phil Stewart BRUSSELS (Reuters) - NATO ships are on their way to the Aegean Sea to help Turkey and Greece crack down on criminal networks smuggling refugees into Europe, the alliance's top commander said on Thursday. Hours after NATO defense ministers agreed to use their…

    Reuters
  • U.N. rights expert accuses Israel of excessive force against Palestinians

    By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - The U.N. human rights investigator for Gaza and the West Bank called on Israel on Thursday to investigate what he called excessive force used by Israeli security against Palestinians and to prosecute perpetrators. Makarim Wibisono, U.N. special rapporteur…

    Reuters
  • Aleppo victory seen giving Russia first Syria exit ramp, if it wants it

    By Andrew Osborn MOSCOW (Reuters) - Aleppo's return to full Syrian government control could give Russia an opportunity to scale back or suspend its air strikes, but Moscow is keeping its options open, experts close to the Kremlin and the defense ministry told Reuters. Russia's aim, which it…

    Reuters
  • NATO sends warships on Aegean migrant mission

    NATO launched Thursday an unprecedented naval mission in the Aegean Sea to tackle people smugglers taking refugees and migrants from Turkey to Greece, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said. The alliance will deploy at least three warships after alliance members Germany, Greece and Turkey called…

    AFP
  • Greeks at frontline of migrant crisis angry at Europe's criticism

    By Karolina Tagaris ABOARD THE AGIOS EFSTRATIOS, Aegean Sea (Reuters) - Greek Captain Argyris Frangoulis lifts his binoculars and with eyes fixed on the Aegean Sea horizon, steers his patrol boat out near the Turkish border to a dinghy full of stranded refugees. "Everybody safe, OK?" he yells at…

    Reuters
  • Nigeria faces new rift over alleged Shi'ite massacre

    By Ulf Laessing ZARIA, Nigeria (Reuters) - Piles of rubble are all that remain of the residence of Nigeria's most prominent Shi'ite Muslim leader after it was demolished by bulldozers in the northern city of Zaria. Sheikh Ibrahim Zakzaky's compound was leveled after three days of clashes between…

    Reuters
  • Australia mulls helping orphans of Islamic State couple

    Australia said Thursday it will "carefully consider" if it can help the orphans of an Islamic State fighter and their Sydney-born mother, who both reportedly died in Syria, warning the children could pose a threat later in life. Tara Nettleton, whose husband Khaled Sharrouf made headlines in 2014…

    AFP
  • Iran seeks tourism millions as nuclear chill ends

    Long seen as a destination strewn with shortcomings, Iran is making a fresh pitch for tourists, with the recent lifting of economic sanctions providing an opportunity to cash in. The tourism industry has been overlooked by successive governments in Tehran but the deal Iran struck with world powers…

    AFP
  • Pope takes bridge-building mission to Mexico

    Prior to embarking on his long-planned February 12-17 tour of Mexico, the 79-year-old pontiff will stop over in Havana for a historic meeting with the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill. The son of Italian emigrants to Argentina, Francis was not under any pressure to go to…

    AFP
  • Israeli opposition leader wants to begin separating from Palestinians

    Israeli opposition leader Isaac Herzog said Wednesday that no peace deal was possible for now and his country must begin unilaterally separating from the Palestinians "as much as possible" to restore security. Herzog made the comments while laying out his new security and diplomatic initiative…

    AFP
  • Pope on Ash Wednesday: charity's not to please ourselves

    VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis rubbed ashes on the bowed heads of prelates, nuns and ordinary Catholics Wednesday, and had them smudged on his own head, too, to usher in the Lenten season of prayer and sacrifice he said must be done out of authentic love, not to satisfy one's conscience.

    Associated Press
  • Poland to join fight versus Islamic State in return for NATO help in east

    By Wiktor Szary WARSAW (Reuters) - Poland will join the fight against Islamic State, its defense minister said on Wednesday, though he signaled that the scale of its involvement would depend on NATO's response to Russia's renewed assertiveness on the alliance's eastern flank.     The announcement,…

    Reuters
  • NATO sends 'clear signal' to Russia with eastern presence

    NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday said the alliance had approved plans for an increased presence in eastern member states alarmed by a more assertive Russia, sending a "clear signal" to any aggressors. Stung into action by the Russian intervention in Ukraine and shock 2014 annexation of…

    AFP