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Entries in Turkey (281)


Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Better-Armed Insurgents Step Up Pressure on the Regime

Claimed footage of insurgents using a T-55 tank to attack regime forces near Taftanaz in northwest Syria

See also Kuwait Feature: A Moment of Truth for the Country?
Saturday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Deaths from the Air

2035 GMT: Kuwait. An indication of the size of the demonstration tonight:

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Bickering Begins Over "New Opposition Council"

2011 GMT: Syria. As of an hour ago, the Local Coordination Committees were reporting that 133 people have been killed so far today:

42 martyrs were reported in Damascus and its Suburbs; 32 in Deir Ezzor; 20 in Aleppo; 15 in Idlib; 8 in Lattakia;8 in Homs; 7 in Daraa; and 1 in Hama.

See our note on the casualty figures posted by the LCC.

That number will increase, possibly substantially, before the end of the day. Heavy shelling campaigns have been reported into the night, and the LCC now reports that even beyond this, the bodies of 25 people have been found in a basement in Aleppo.

The casualty figures have risen to the level that they were at before the ceasefire. Even during the ceasefire there was barely a letup in the number of deaths. For the civilians, it's only getting worse, and despite FSA victories across the country, there is no sign that the regime will fall any time soon.

1944 GMT: Syria. A Safe World for Women reports that a young female blogger, Fatima Khaled Saad, originally tortured while detained by the regime, has died of her wounds.

Fatima was a part of a network of civilian journalists, as many others did, she adopted a different name, and was known among her circle as Farah El Rayes.

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Turkey Special: A Tangled Situation --- Ankara, The Kurds, and US Messages

Recep Tayyip ErdoganAn intervention from the US Ambassador, a challenge from Washington's top military commander --- what is “Erdogan’s country” to do now? Facing the Americans, Iraq's Barzani, and the PKK --- all in the context of the evolving Syrian crisis --- will Ankara change its tough-on-Kurds inside Turkey? Will it make a move regarding Syria's Kurds? Or will it try to gain time until Ankara can see a clearer message from Washington following the US elections?

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Iran Feature: Which Tehran Officials Are Buying Up Turkish Gold? (Pamuk)

Couriers carrying millions of dollars worth of gold bullion in their luggage have been flying from Istanbul to Dubai, where the gold is shipped on to Iran, according to industry sources with knowledge of the business.

The sums involved are enormous. Official Turkish trade data suggests nearly $2 billion worth of gold was sent to Dubai on behalf of Iranian buyers in August. The shipments help Tehran manage its finances in the face of Western financial sanctions.

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Israel-Palestine Live Blog (23 October): Gaza, Settlements, Iran, and Elections

Tzipi Livni and Ehud Olmert1830 GMT: In a ceremony attended by Qatar's Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, the former laid the foundation stone for Hamad Medical City project in the Gaza Strip. 

1825 GMT: A rocket fired from Gaza hits Eshkol Regional Council. No injuries reported. 

1740 GMT: The IDF says the army is better than the intercepted Finnish-flagged Gaza-bound civilian vessel when it comes to efficiency. 

1615 GMT: Greek activists who were arrested aboard the Finnish-flagged Estelle by Israeli commandos on Saturday denounced the Israeli army's action.

Vaguelis Diamantopoulos, a Greek MP, said: "The balaclava-clad commandos from the Israeli marine carrying heavy weapons came aboard the boat and acted like a militia." 

The boat's captain Vangelis Pissias said: "They sent out the army for 30 activists."

Activists claimed that Israeli soldiers had used tasers on board. However, Israeli officials denied such accusations. 

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Turkey Feature: Syria Conflict Puts Strain on 1 Million Alawites

Photo: Ayman Oghanna/New York TimesHatay, Turkey's southernmost province, is home to most of the country's Alawites. At around one million, they represent a small but vocal minority leading the opposition to the government's role in the conflict in neighbouring Syria.

"When something is happening in Syria we feel it," said 31-year-old Kemal sitting in a park in central Samandag. "We have Turkish citizenship, but our origins are Arab."

He spoke in a Syrian dialect of Arabic, like most Turkish Alawites are able to. Although ethnically Arab, the community leaves little doubt about its strong patriotism for the modern Turkish state and its secular model of government.

When asked whether he felt more loyal to Syria or Turkey, Kemal presented his upturned forearms: "Cut open my veins and I assure you Turkish flags will pour out."

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: At Least 44 Dead in Airstrike on Ma'arat al-Numan

2250 GMT: Syria. We have to end today's coverage, and we will continue it tomorrow, but it has been a terrible day - in Lebanon, but even more so in Syria.

Still, if two words could summarize the spirit of the Syrian opposition, they might be "brave defiance." Today, despite the shells and gunshots, falling bombs, tanks, and massacres, people still protested.

This video was taken today in Douma, a major suburb of Damascus - the protesters brought the remnants of a cluster bomb to the streets:

But just a few miles away, in the Damascus suburb of Saqba, civilians try to dig their friends and family out of the rubble as shells land and buildings collapse:

Bravery, defiance, and death...

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: A New Diplomatic Initiative?

See also EA Video Analysis: How to Use American Deaths to Win a Presidential Election
Libya Report: Militias "Massacred" Qaddafi and His Loyalists
Tuesday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: UN Envoy Brahimi Moves Through the Region
The Latest from Israel-Palestine (16 October): Netanyahu's Threats That Will Dominate the Elections

1921 GMT: Syria. Another plane shot down? This video was reportedly filmed over Hanano, Aleppo. At least one parachute is clearly visible:

We'd like to see multiple angles, just so we can compare it to other videos of planes being shot down. However, if confirmed, this is another sign of how weak Assad's air forces are becoming.

The Guardian and C.J. Chivers think so too.

Last August, Chivers wrote that Syria’s fleet of Mi-25 Hind-D attack helicopters, which numbered 36 at the start of the conflict, was insufficient to hold back the rebels.

He also cited estimates that only half the regime's helicopter fleet may be operational at any given time – "maintenance technicians are struggling to keep the machines aloft" – and that some of the original 36 helicopters have been cannibalised for spare parts.

That was late August --- but Assad is now losing helicopters and airplanes at a rate of one to two per day.

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Syria Interview: Free Syrian Army Commander Riad Al-Asaad "The Revolution is on the Right Track Now" 

From the beginning when we established the Free Syrian Army, our goal was to unify the fighters. It has a great name and we kept working on it --- we did a really good job....Until recent months, when some people appeared and tried to hijack the revolution or use it....We really don’t know what their aim was.

So they accused us, and tried to cut off all our support from the outside, but thank God they couldn’t cut it....We are calling for unity. We are the ones who want unity. If anybody wants unity, it’s the Free Syrian Army.

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The Latest from Turkey (12 October): Ankara's Dangerous Game with Moscow

See also The Latest from Israel-Palestine (12 October): What Will Israeli Elections Bring?
Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Feuding About a Plane --- Meanwhile, 200+ Die

1600 GMT: Turkey halts civilian flights over Syria.

1430 GMT: A motion submitted by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) to censure Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu over accusations that he conducts a dangerous and risky foreign policy was rejected by the Parliament.

1235 GMT: Following the bombardment of the Syrian border town of Azmarin by Syrian helicopters, two Turkish jets departed to the border.

Dozens of Turkish tanks located at various districts of the south-eastern province of Sanliurfa have targeted the Syrian border.

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