Christmas joy missing in rubble of Syria town

With Christmas approaching, Nabil al-Aash dusts off religious books as he attempts to tidy up the war-scarred Saint George Church in the town of Arbin, northeast of the Syrian capital Damascus. Retaken in the spring by forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad during a brutal offensive to capture the rebel stronghold of Eastern Ghouta, Arbin is anything but festive.

Syrians in government areas vote in first local polls since 2011

Syrians in government-controlled areas cast their ballots in the first local elections there since 2011, when the country’s ill-fated uprising erupted against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule. More than 6,550 voting centres opened at 7:00 am (0400 GMT) across government-held parts of the country with more than 40,000 candidates competing for 18,478 seats on local administrative councils, state media reported.

Exiled Syrians put on dance performance at Paris art festival

Posters denouncing the government of Bashar al-Assad, paintings on Syrian jails and choreography to evoke the trauma … These artists in exile have Syria in their skin and they tell through their work, by commitment or because they do not know any other way to express their stories. Their work was presented at the third edition of the festival “Syrien n’est fait” in Paris, at Les Grand Voisins (14th), organized by the NGO ASML / Syria.

Idlib residents react to threats of a Syrian regime attack

Residents in Syria’s Idlib react to President Bashar al-Assad threatening to march on opposition forces in the densely populated northwest province bordering rebel ally Turkey.

Strikes make us yet more determined to ‘fight terrorism’: Assad

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is determined show he is unfazed by Western strikes on government military installations, saying they only make him more keen to fight back against his “terrorist” opponents. IMAGES

Canada stands with allies on Syria strikes: Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin expresses his support for punitive strikes carried out by the US, Britain and France against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime. SOUNDBITE