Newspaper article International New York Times

U.S. Takes Tough Stance with Both Sides in Syria ; Alert on 2 Rebel Groups Comes amid Military Exercises with Jordan

Newspaper article International New York Times

U.S. Takes Tough Stance with Both Sides in Syria ; Alert on 2 Rebel Groups Comes amid Military Exercises with Jordan

Article excerpt

The United States conducted military exercises with Jordan and designated two leaders of Syrian jihadist groups as "global terrorists."

With Syria peace prospects in a basic state of collapse, the United States has sought to project a toughened posture, conducting military exercises with Jordan and designating two leaders of Syrian jihadist groups as "global terrorists" -- a warning that they should be ostracized by other members of the Western-backed insurgency fighting President Bashar al-Assad.

The developments came on Wednesday, a day after Lakhdar Brahimi, the top United Nations diplomat assigned to mediate a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict, now in its fourth year, quit in frustration, blaming both the Syrian government's intransigence and the inability of the Security Council to take assertive action to support his efforts and alleviate civilian suffering.

In a new sign of the conflict's insidious effects, international refugee officials reported Wednesday that a record 33.3 million people worldwide had now been displaced by war, and that Syria was the leading cause -- ahead of new displacements from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Nigeria, Sudan and South Sudan.

The report by the Norwegian Refugee Council's Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre said that about 9,500 people a day -- approximately one family every 60 seconds -- were being displaced inside Syria.

"We have surpassed the darkest, bleakest days of the 1990s," which were dominated by genocide in Rwanda and war in the Balkans, Jan Egeland, the secretary general of the refugee council and formerly the top relief official at the United Nations, said in an interview. The displacements in Syria, he said, exposed "an astronomic failure of humanity, nationally and internationally."

Jordan's official news agency, Petra, said the joint military exercises with the United States included ground and air forces. …

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