Switzerland on Tuesday, officials said, as Washington sees Damascus increasingly isolated over its crushing of pro-democracy protests.

"/> Switzerland on Tuesday, officials said, as Washington sees Damascus increasingly isolated over its crushing of pro-democracy protests.

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SYRIA

Clinton to meet Syrian opposition in Switzerland

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will meet Syrian dissidents in Switzerland on Tuesday, officials said, as Washington sees Damascus increasingly isolated over its crushing of pro-democracy protests.

Clinton to meet Syrian opposition in Switzerland

A State Department official told reporters on condition of anonymity on Monday that Clinton will meet with seven political opponents of President Bashar al-Assad when she visits Geneva following a stop in Vilnius, Lithuania.

The official did not identify the group or disclose the agenda of the talks at a time when Washington seeks ways to support the opposition in its bid to oust Assad, whose family has ruled Syria with an iron fist for decades.

Clinton met for the first time with members of Syria’s disparate opposition in Washington on August 2nd.

The United States, which has called for Assad to step down, welcomes what it sees as the growing isolation of Assad’s regime, particularly after the 22-member Arab League and non-Arab Turkey imposed sanctions against it.

But, with an increase in armed opposition attacks, the United States and others are concerned that Assad is driving the country to sectarian strife and even civil war because of his deadly suppression of protests.

More than 4,000 have died in the Syrian regime’s continuing crackdown on dissent and protests which erupted in mid-March, according to the United Nations.

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SYRIA

Swiss woman stands trial for attempting to join Islamic State

A 31-year-old woman from Winterthur who tried to travel to Syria to join Islamic State (IS) is standing trial under Swiss anti-terror laws.

Swiss woman stands trial for attempting to join Islamic State
The federal criminal court in Bellinzona. Photo: Swiss Confederation/OFCL

The alleged ‘jihadi tourist' appeared before Switzerland's federal criminal court in Bellinzona on Friday, the Swiss news agency SDA reported. 

In December 2015, the woman, accompanied by her four-year-old child, attempted to travel to Syria via Greece and Turkey in order to join IS, the authorities allege. 

Her intended destination was Raqqa, which was at the time an IS stronghold in Syria.

The woman was prevented from continuing her journey by the Greek authorities and was arrested at Zurich airport on her return to Switzerland in January 2016. 

The Swiss attorney general's office filed an indictment against the Swiss national for offences under the federal law that bans terror groups including Isis. 

According to the indictment, the woman radicalized herself through internet propaganda after converting to Islam in 2009.

It says the Swiss national believed it was the duty of all Muslims to support IS.

She said she rejected western values.

This is only the second case concerning a so-called ‘jihadi tourist' to go before Switzerland's federal criminal court. 

The first prosecution of its kind took place in 2016, when a 26-year-old man was found guilty of attempting to travel to join Isis and given an 18-month suspended jail sentence.

Islamic State has been banned in Switzerland since 2014.