Syria | Connecticut Public Radio
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Syria

Ryan Caron King / WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio

What’s it like to build a house, a family, a life… and then have a war take it all away?  

This hour we sit down with West Hartford, Connecticut residents Adeebah Alnemar and her son, Naji Aldabaan. They’re Syrian refugees who fled during the civil war, and came to Connecticut in 2016.

Their family is the subject of a 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoon series in The New York Times. We also talk with one of the people behind the cartoon series—New Haven-based journalist Jake Halpern.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio

What’s it like to build a house, a family, a life…and then have a war take it all away?  

This hour we sit down with West Hartford, Connecticut residents Adeebah Alnemar and her son, Naji Aldabaan. They’re Syrian refugees who fled during the civil war, and came to Connecticut in 2016.

Their family is the subject of a 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoon series in the New York Times. We also talk with one of the people behind the cartoon series—New Haven-based journalist Jake Halpern.

Updated at 5:42 p.m. ET

Four Americans were killed in an explosion while conducting a routine patrol in northern Syria, according to the Pentagon. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

Two U.S. service members, one civilian employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency and one contractor working as an interpreter died in the attack in Manbij. Three service members were injured.

A U.S. envoy says Washington has "lots of evidence" that Syrian government forces are preparing to use chemical weapons against rebel-held Idlib province.

Speaking to reporters, Jim Jeffrey, who was appointed in August as the State Department's Special Representative for Syrian Engagement, said Thursday that any such use of chemical weapons against the last rebel stronghold would be a "reckless escalation" of the conflict.

Israel says it carried out airstrikes against dozens of Iranian military targets in Syria in what it is describing as the largest such operation it has ever conducted in the region, after it says its forces came under missile attack.

The Syrian army said via state media Sunday that it had captured four villages from the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces near Syria's border with Iraq on the eastern shore of the Euphrates River, where Kurdish-led forces are in control.

In a statement to NPR, the SDF confirmed the offensive and said the regime and its allies began to target an SDF base Saturday night, beginning at the city of Deir Ezzor and ending at the Euphrates in an attempt to progress toward Kurdish-controlled areas.

Updated at 12:27 p.m. ET

A fact-finding team from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is on its way to Syria and will begin working there by Saturday, spokesperson Johan de Wittlaan said Thursday.

As the Trump administration evaluates potential military operations against Syria, the White House has declined to explain why it believes it has the legal authority to conduct them without authorization from Congress.

But the White House does have a secret seven-page memo that may make the case.

Updated at 1:09 p.m. ET

President Trump had a ready retort to a Russian threat to shoot down any U.S. missiles in Syria: "Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and 'smart!' "

Trump tweeted that news early Wednesday and added, "You shouldn't be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!"

Updated at 12 p.m. ET

Amid international outcry over an alleged poison gas attack in Syria over the weekend, Damascus said one of its air bases had come under attack, first blaming the U.S., but later Israel.

Meanwhile, President Trump says the White House will be making a decision on Syria in the next day or two, saying the reported attack was "atrocious" and "can't be allowed to happen."

Syrian American Medical Society

Syria is in its sixth year of civil war, and hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed in the conflict.

This hour, we talk about the medical crisis in Syria. Doctors are among those who’ve been targeted by the Syrian government. Many have left the country.

President Trump said he would let his generals manage the fight against the Islamic State. And so far, he's done that.

The U.S. and its coalition partners carried out more than 5,000 airstrikes in Syria and Iraq combined in August. That's the highest monthly figure since the air campaign began three years ago.

The Russian Defense Ministry says it may have killed ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in a late May airstrike on an ISIS meeting in Raqqa, Syria. But the development has not been confirmed, Russian officials said Friday. In recent years, previous reports of Baghdadi's death have proved inaccurate.

"So far, I have no 100 percent confirmation of this information," Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said, according to state-run Tass media, hours after defense officials posted a notice about the May 28 attack.

U.S.-backed fighters have launched an operation to try to seize control of ISIS' so-called capital, the city of Raqqa in northern Syria.

Raqqa is the most important stronghold for the militant group in Syria and fell under its control in 2014. Together with the ongoing fight for Mosul in Iraq, seizing control of the city is seen as a crucial goal in the fight against ISIS.

Syrian President Bashar Assad continues to deny responsibility for a chemical attack in the town of Khan Shaykhun, claiming the attack was "100 percent ... fabrication" and video evidence showing choking victims is "fake."

He told Agence France-Presse this week that he wasn't even confident the dead children shown on video were "dead at all."

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's meeting with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, started with a warning to the U.S. - don't strike the Syrian regime again. 

Back home, the consensus among Connecticut's delegation in Washington is that President Trump should have informed Congress before sending missiles into Syria. 

Rex Tillerson has touched down in Moscow. But well before his plane landed on the runway, heated words were already flying between the U.S. secretary of state and Russian officials over the situation in Syria.

"I hope that what the Russian government concludes is that they have aligned themselves with an unreliable partner in Bashar al-Assad," Tillerson said Tuesday at a meeting of G-7 foreign ministers in Lucca, Italy, shortly before he left for Russia.

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET

Russian President Vladimir Putin is calling the missile strike President Trump ordered against Syria on Thursday "an act of aggression against a sovereign state delivered in violation of international law under a far-fetched pretext."

Updated at 10:30 a.m. ET

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill want the Trump administration to outline a broader strategy in Syria following the president's decision to authorize U.S. missile strikes Thursday night in response to the apparent chemical weapons attack by Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Updated at 3:03 p.m. ET

President Trump condemned the horrific chemical attack in Syria that has been blamed on its president, Bashar Assad, signaling a shift in Trump's approach toward the country's controversial leader — but didn't elaborate on how the U.S. would respond.

President Trump issued a remarkable statement following a Syrian gas attack U.S. officials say was leveled by that country's leader against his own people.

Some 40 words of the short, 78-word statement blamed former President Barack Obama for inaction.

In an official statement, President Trump described the recent chemical attack in Syria as "reprehensible" and went on to argue the "heinous actions by the Bashar al-Assad regime are a consequence of the past administration's weakness and irresolution." In other words, he blamed former President Barack Obama.

Updated at 8:45 a.m. ET Wednesday

Poisonous chemicals are suspected of augmenting an aerial bombardment of a rebel-held town in Syria's Idlib province Tuesday, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights saying at least 20 children were among those who died. The group says the initial death toll of 58 has risen to 72, and that all the victims were civilians.

The attack was reportedly carried out in Khan Shaykhun, a town in northwest Syria that sits about halfway between Homs and Aleppo on the country's main north-south highway.