President Bashar al-Assad is gaining momentum in Syria’s civil war with aid from Hezbollah and is unlikely to fall in the foreseeable future. The government has in recent days retaken key cities in the north that have been in rebel hands more than a year. As residents return, they are finding rebels have destroyed their homes, and churches too.
Rebels desecrated St. Elias Roman Catholic Church in Qusair, after occupying the city for more than a year. Returning parishioners found the altar broken and images of Christian saints and Jesus Christ defaced. Graffiti sayings like “The religion of our master will be victorious against all tyrants” were scrawled on the walls.
With Hezbollah’s help, the Syrian Army appears poised to retake Aleppo in a battle that’s been deadlocked for over a year. Despite all the recent posturing by the White House and members of Congress (from both parties), U.S. support to rebels could make very little difference at this point, with arms “already widely available inside Syria”—as Gulf states and Turkey are supporting the rebels, while Iranian-backed Hezbollah and Russia provide armaments to government forces.
Hundreds of security forces moved into Istanbul’s Taksim Square this morning, clearing it of protesters. Turkey's Prime Ministers Recep Tayyip Erdogan defends clamping down on demonstrations, while many vowed that protests will continue.
Edward Snowden says he will fight extradition from Hong Kong to the United States after admitting he revealed he was the source of leaks to a Guardian reporter about a classified U.S. surveillance program.
NSA chief Keith Alexander briefed members of the House on the program yesterday, and appears today at 2 p.m. before the Senate Appropriations Committee. Tomorrow he is scheduled to brief the entire Senate.
Pope Francis acknowledged the existence of a “gay lobby” inside the Vatican in a private meeting with Latin American clergymen. The meeting’s content was later leaked to the press
And finally, a look at some stunning Canadian moths.