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Entries in Vladimir Putin (25)


Syria Today: Europe Lifts Arms Embargo on Insurgents

Head of Free Syria Army Threatens Attacks on Hezbollah in Lebanon

The Free Syrian Army's Chief of Staff, General Salim Idriss, has warned, "If the attacks of Hezbollah against Syrian territory do not stop within 24 hours, we will take all measures to hunt Hezbollah, even in hell."

Idriss continued with the threat to intervene in Lebanon, where Hezbollah is based, "I will no longer be bound by any commitments I made, if a decision to stop the not taken and implemented," said Idriss.

Idriss said, "We are being subjected to a genocide conducted by Hezbollah," and, without giving details of specific operations said he hoped "that everyone will excuse the Free [Syrian] Army" for retaliating.

The principle sticking point involves voting. Existing members of the coalition insist that the inclusion of new members must be based on balloting by existing members only. But this would change little in a monopoly that was made possible by interference from regional countries to begin with, rather than based on consensus among Syrian opposition. The existing members were not chosen by the people to decide whether certain opposition figures should be members or not.

The second issue is the "blocking third", or the veto power held by a third of the members. This idea was advanced by the coalition's secretary general, Mustafa Al Sabbagh, and was clearly meant to maintain the monopoly of the current core group within the coalition.

Hassan argues that this stalemate may cripple the group, and will only fuel the stalemate seen on Syria's battlefields.

On the other hand, The Atlantic's Shadi Hamid argues that the political stalemate can only be solved by progress on the battlefield, and that progress has not happened because the international community is waiting for a unified leadership that will likely never occur:

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Syria Audio Analysis: Have US & Britain Changed Their Lines?

EA's Scott Lucas spoke with Monocle 24's The Briefing this afternoon about the latest US and British rhetoric on Syria.

Listen from 17:26 on The Briefing homepage or in a separate pop-out window

In a week when British Prime Minister David Cameron met Russian leader Vladimir Putin and then US President Barack Obama, have Washington and London moved from support of the insurgency to a political accommodation with the regime?

And what of others involved in the conflict --- for example, why is Iran talking so tough this week?


Syria Today: Russia Holds Off US and British Political Approach

The moment one of two car bombs went off in Reyhanli in Turkey, near the Syrian border, killing more than 40

See also Friday's Syria Today: Turkey "Backs US-Enforced No-Fly Zone"
Friday's Syria Today: Turkey "Backs US-Enforced No-Fly Zone"

1610 GMT: Deadly Bombing Inside Turkey on the Border

Leading Turkish officials have been issuing statements as the death toll from the two car bombs in Reyhanli, just inside Turkey on the Syrian border, passed 40 with more than 100 injured.

President Abdullah Gul said, "We should be careful against provocations," while Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared:

These actions could have been taken to raise sensitivity in Hatay Province. Twenty to twenty-five thousand refugees live in camps and others are our guests.

The culprits could be those who could not digest this. Or it could be those who want to provoke this fact.

I think we need to be very careful and patient.

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Syria Audio Analysis: Britain's Big Push with Russia on The Conflict --- Scott Lucas with Monocle.

EA's Scott Lucas talked to Monocle 24 on Friday morning ahead of a working meeting between UK prime minister David Cameron and Russian president Vladimir Putin in Sochi, to discuss the Syria conflict.

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Syria Today: US and Russia Propose New Political Talks

1614 GMT: Al Nusra Behind "Chemical Weapons" Attacks?

There are two developments in the case of the alleged chemical weapons attack in Saraqib. Over the last several days, arms experts we've worked with have become aware that some of the devices found at the site of two chemical weapons sites resemble Indian riot control devices. NBC's Richard Engel reports:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The device in question, analyzed by EA here, appears to resemble a riot-controlled device developed by an Indian company, "Tear Smoke Unit." We contacted TSU before the Richard Engel report, but have yet to hear back.

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Syria Live Coverage: Russia Gives Up on Assad

The message from protesters in Kafranbel today

See also Syria Analysis: Why Assad's Use of SCUD Missiles is Really Important
Iraq (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Security Forces Raid Minister of Finance's Home and Offices
Thursday's Syria Live Coverage: The Humanitarian Crisis

1531 GMT: 71 people have been killed so far today across Syria, according to the Local Coordination Committees:

24 people in Hama, 20 people in Damascus and its countryside, 10 martyrs in Idlib, 8 martyrs in Aleppo (including 5 martyrs in Marja) 6 martyrs in Homs... and a martyr in the Deir ez-Zor.

The Local Coordination Committees (LCC) is an activist network operating both inside and outside of Syria. They claim to use stringent verification processes to ensure that a member of the LCC can vouch for any information posted either on their Facebook page or their website. The LCC also populates a database of those killed in the Syrian conflict, which can be seen at the website for the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria.

The LCC's casualty figures are a mix of insurgents and civilians, and never include regime casualties. Syrian State Media has stopped reporting regime casualty figures.

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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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Syria Analysis: Turkey Adjusts Its Strategy Amid Kurdish and Russian Complications

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu meets members of the opposition Syrian National Council on Monday

Ankara is now heavily investing its political, economic, logistical, and public-relations capacity in the effort to boost the opposition agains the regime. In return, Turkey wants a guarantee that there will be no autonomous region in the new Syria.

That seems a logical strategy, but how it will work in practice ---- given that Kurds hold a significant amount of bargaining power for "democratic autonomy" --- is unclear. Given that the Syrian Kurds are already pursuing and obtaining self-governance in some areas as they fight regime forces, how can they be ignored in the transitional period? 

A conclusion? Ankara must face reality and talk to Syrian Kurds if it wants to finish Assad as soon as possible. 

But then another queston: how does Turkey talks to its own Kurds in these circumstances?

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Turkey Analysis: Discussions over Syria in Moscow --- What Do They Mean?

President Putin & Prime Minister ErdoganTurkey's link with Moscow is elevated if Russia is keen on adapting a new strategy that gives up on Assad and increase its pressure for a transitional government as agreed in Geneva in the short-term. As long as the Russian interest in Syria as a powerful bargaining chip vis-a-vis NATO is protected, Moscow is ready to give credibility to Ankara.

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Turkey Live Coverage (11 July): The Russian Challenge on Syria Awaits

1610 GMT: The main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu criticized Prime Minister Erdogan's Syria policy:

We don't want war. You have to consider the balances in the United Nations and the decisions made by the Security Council. Syria is not Libya. If you speak without paying attention to balances of power, they will turn you upside down. You can't succeed in the international arena with such incorrect policies.

1530 GMT: Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) once again states that no trace of an explosive material was found. The statement reads:

The Turkish Armed Forces found no petroleum-like residue or trace of any organic or inorganic explosive matter on the surface of the pieces from the downed jet that were taken from the sea surface.

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