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Jun 15, 2012

On Turkish border, doctors keep medical aid flowing to Syria

REYHANLI, Turkey, June 15 (Reuters) – When the Syrian army
rolled into his hometown to crush rebellion there, Omar, an
orthopaedic surgeon, knew it was only a matter of time before
his field hospital was discovered by President Bashar al-Assad’s
troops.

For four days he hid inside the makeshift clinic in the
northern town of Idlib, continuing to treat the sick and wounded
along with the other staff, but as the soldiers drew closer Omar
made his escape to Turkey.

Jun 14, 2012

Syrian rebels in Turkey doubtful over new Arab arms supplies

ANTAKYA, Turkey (Reuters) – Syrian rebels resting and recovering from wounds in Turkey say that far from receiving a host of heavy weapons to take the fight to government forces, they feel forgotten by their Western and Arab backers.

Some rebels and opposition figures inside and outside Syria say there has been an upsurge in recent weeks of heavier weaponry being smuggled into Syria via Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq from suppliers in Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Jun 13, 2012

Rebels say Syrian army bombing and burning Haffeh

ANTAKYA, Turkey (Reuters) – While Syrian government helicopters and tanks are pounding the western town of Haffeh and the surrounding villages, ground troops are rounding up young men and looting houses, according to Syrian rebels who have fled to Turkey.

Recovering at a hospital in the Turkish city of Antakya, a wounded Free Syrian Army fighter described the assault on Haffeh by government forces and how he was shot trying to rescue the wounded.

Jun 11, 2012

Fires force Syrian rebels to scout new trails to Turkey

YAYLADAGI, Turkey (Reuters) – Syrian rebels are having to find new and more difficult routes to smuggle refugees and wounded civilians and fighters into Turkey after Syrian government forces began torching wooded areas along the border this month.

The deliberate fires appear to be a new tactic by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to flush out hiding rebels and stop civilians escaping. Syrian troops began laying mines along the same border months earlier.

Jun 5, 2012

Palestinian Abbas urges Israel to accept 2-state deal

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas urged Israel on Tuesday to accept a two-state solution based on 1967 borders, warning that the opportunity “may not stay on the table for a long time” given the political upheavals caused by the Arab Spring.

Abbas set out the Palestinian case for statehood and full U.N. membership at a World Economic Forum conference in Istanbul, stressing that membership of the United Nations should not prejudice negotiations with Israel.

Jun 1, 2012

Turkey tells U.N., aid donors to move to Somalia

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – The United Nations should beef up its operation in Somalia, and other countries who want to help the war-torn state should actually move in and set up bases there, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

Erdogan’s direct remarks at a international conference on Somalia in Istanbul, the second hosted in Turkey in two years, were a sign of his administration’s growing clout and ambitions in Africa.

May 29, 2012

Six Turkish generals remanded in custody over 1997 coup

ANKARA (Reuters) – Six retired generals, including former commanders of the land forces and air force, were remanded in custody on Tuesday over their alleged role in the 1997 toppling of Turkey’s first Islamist-led government, Turkish media reported.

The generals were among 10 suspects detained in a fifth wave of arrests since early April in the latest affront to the once-supreme military, and widening an investigation into the ousting of former prime minister Necmettin Erbakan 15 years ago.

May 28, 2012

Turkey approves indictment of Israeli commanders: report

ANKARA (Reuters) – A Turkish court has approved an indictment seeking multiple life sentences for four former Israeli military commanders over their alleged involvement in the 2010 killing of nine Turks on a Gaza-bound aid ship, state media reported on Monday.

The indictment, prepared by Istanbul state prosecutor Mehmet Akif Ekinci, was submitted to the court last week and its approval effectively marks the start of a trial in absentia against the four men.

May 24, 2012

Israel offered $6 million to Turk raid victims: lawyer

ANKARA (Reuters) – A Turkish lawyer said on Thursday that Israel had offered to pay $6 million to victims of Israel’s storming of a Gaza-bound Turkish aid flotilla to settle lawsuits against the Israeli military.

However, a senior Israeli official who declined to be named said that Israel, having indicated last year that it was prepared to indemnify victims without accepting blame, had not renewed its offer.

May 18, 2012

Analysis – Spat with Iraq bares Turk plunge into regional power game

ANKARA (Reuters) – A bitter rift with Iraq has exposed Turkey’s role in a wider Middle East power struggle, with Ankara acting to protect its stability and prosperity from an Iranian-Iraqi “Shi’ite axis” it fears in the wake of the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq.

Turkey, a Sunni Muslim but secular regional power bordering Iraq, Iran and Syria, long tried to play regional mediator as Shi’ite Muslim giant Iran and Sunni powerhouse Saudi Arabia jostled for sway in a region now undergoing political upheaval.