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Entries in Feridun Sinirlioglu (4)


Egypt, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi v. The Protests

Supporters and opponents of Egypt's President Morsi clash in front of the Judges Club, where the judiciary condemned Morsi's decrees, on Saturday (Photo: Hassan Ibrahim/Daily News Egypt)

See also Syria 1st-Hand: Visiting the "Deadly Stalemate" in Aleppo
Friday's Egypt, Gaza, Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Morsi, the New Pharaoh?

2113 GMT: Syria. James Miller reports, from several opposition sources, about rumours that a major helicopter base east of Damascus, Marj al Sultan (map), has fallen to the Free Syrian Army.

Blogs and microbloggers have posted claimed video of the FSA attacking the base at night, with tanks:

Another blog suggests that the FSA destroyed 2 helicopters, at least one of which appears to be on fire in this video:

A statement by the Al Habib Mustafa brigade, which is reportedly responsible for the raid, claims:

  • 1 T72 tank captured.
  • 1 BMP armored troop transport captured.
  • 2 regime tanks were damaged.
  • 2 armored personnel carriers were damaged.
  • 50 prisoners were taken.
  • 10s of Assad soldiers were killed or injured.
  • The FSA controls a nearby early warning radar (which Markito suggests is north of the base), part of the air base, and the FSA is taking the fight to the other half of the base.

If true, this would be another significant victory for the FSA, just 15 kilometres outside the capital. It would indicate that, if the regime has been sacrificing bases in the rest of the country to focus on Damascus, the strategy is not working.

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Turkey-Israel Snap Analysis: Talks Continue in Geneva, Sides Close to Agreement

Turkish diplomatic sources say that Israel and Turkey are close to agreeing on a document that will include Israel's apology and compensation for the nine Turkish citizens killed in the May attack on the Freedom Flotilla.

Questions remain. For instance, if Israel offers a clear and simple apology, will there be legal consequences? Will Turkey's immediate political gains crumble when it becomes clear that its other demands have been flatly rejected by West Jerusalem? To sweep away recent tensions and current suspicions over regional manoeuvres by both sides, will a letter of apology be enough?

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Turkey-Israel Latest: Firefighting Leads to a High-Level Meeting 

Last weekend,  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan by phone for the planes that Ankara sent to help fight fires in northern Israel.

Now the follow-up: officials from both countries met in Geneva on Sunday.

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Wikileaks Special: The Consequences for Turkey and the US

I have written often of Ankara's pro-Western tendencies, underlining that Erdogan's government is nothing short of a liberal and pragmatic organisation, seeking relative autonomy in the region without raising an eyebrow in the Oval Office. So have a look at this ridiculous quotation, taken from an adviser to the ruling AKP party and added into a US report: "Turkey wants to take back Andalusia and avenge the defeat at the siege of Vienna in 1683."

There are only two options for an analyst: either some of the American diplomats are seriously ignorant about the politics and strategies pursued in the country where they are authorized to work or they are being asked to report any shred of "information" without filtering it.

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