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Apr 9, 2014

Hezbollah confident in Assad, West resigned to stalemate

BEIRUT, April 9 (Reuters) – Bashar al-Assad’s Lebanese ally
Hezbollah said his Western foes must now accept he will go on
ruling Syria after fighting rebels to a standstill – a “reality”
to which his foreign enemies seem increasingly resigned.

Echoing recent bullish talk coming out of Damascus, Sheikh
Naim Qassem, deputy leader of the Iranian-backed Shi’ite militia
which is supporting Assad in combat, told Reuters that the
president retained popular support among many of Syria’s diverse
religious communities and would shortly be re-elected.

Apr 1, 2014

Egypt Muslim Brotherhood chief calls Sisi a ‘tyrant’

CAIRO (Reuters) – The top leader of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood accused Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the former army chief widely tipped to become the country’s next president, of being a tyrant and predicted he would fail to stay in power.

Speaking on Tuesday from a cage in a courtroom where he faces trial for inciting violence, Brotherhood Supreme Guide Mohamed Badie also dismissed accusations by the military-backed government that the group engaged in terrorism.

Mar 11, 2014

Insight – Al Qaeda hijacks spirit of Syria revolt three years on

KILLIS, ON THE TURKISH-SYRIAN BORDER (Reuters) – Syrian refugees in this border outpost were delighted to hear their home town of Azaz had been liberated – not from Bashar al-Assad’s troops but from al-Qaeda fighters who subjected them to a regime that included torture and public beheadings.

For Syrians who three years ago rose up against 43 years of Assad family rule, living under the hard-line Sunni jihadists who said they had come to save them from the president’s atrocities was even worse than Assad himself.

Mar 11, 2014

Al Qaeda hijacks spirit of Syria revolt three years on

KILLIS, ON THE TURKISH-SYRIAN BORDER, March 11 (Reuters) -
S yrian refugees in this border outpost were delighted to hear
their home town of Azaz had been liberated – not from Bashar
al-Assad’s troops but from al-Qaeda fighters who subjected them
to a regime that included torture and public beheadings.

For Syrians who three years ago rose up against 43 years of
Assad family rule, living under the hard-line Sunni jihadists
who said they had come to save them from the president’s
atrocities was even worse than Assad himself.

Mar 5, 2014

Insight -Turkey’s Erdogan rallies popular support in power struggle

ANKARA (Reuters) – Before cheering crowds, he dons the mantle of tragic hero, comparing his enemies to leeches, reciting a poem that once saw him jailed for sedition and invoking the memory of his political hero, toppled and hanged by the generals.

Turkish leader Tayyip Erdogan, shaken by a graft scandal he says is concocted by a former ally, is fighting to secure his political future in the run up to March polls. But more than that, he sees at stake the legacy of an 11-year drive to reshape Turkey, breaking the hold of a secular, urban elite.

Mar 5, 2014

Turkey’s Erdogan rallies popular support in power struggle

ANKARA (Reuters) – Before cheering crowds, he dons the mantle of tragic hero, comparing his enemies to leeches, reciting a poem that once saw him jailed for sedition and invoking the memory of his political hero, toppled and hanged by the generals.

Turkish leader Tayyip Erdogan, shaken by a graft scandal he says is concocted by a former ally, is fighting to secure his political future in the run up to March polls. But more than that, he sees at stake the legacy of an 11-year drive to reshape Turkey, breaking the hold of a secular, urban elite.

Feb 26, 2014

Turkish foreign minister says world has failed Syria

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey’s foreign minister said Syria’s worsening war now posed a danger to all countries because President Bashar al-Assad’s government had been allowed to continue its “crimes” while jihadists from around the world flooded in to fight him.

Ahmet Davutoglu told Reuters a robust international strategy including “real intelligence cooperation” and withdrawal of all foreign fighters was needed to end the conflict and help millions of Syrians devastated by violence.

Feb 25, 2014

Turkish PM says tapes of talk with son a fabrication

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan accused political rivals of shameless fabrication of a telephone tap of him telling his son to dispose of large sums of money on the day police raided houses in a graft inquiry into his government.

In a dramatic session of parliament after posting of the 11-minute audio tape on YouTube, Erdogan said his political enemies had penetrated encrypted state communications. He did not name the opponents but made it clear he was talking of a network run by former ally, Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Jan 23, 2014

U.N. envoy meets Syria foes to salvage talks after bitter start

MONTREUX, Switzerland (Reuters) – A U.N. envoy was to meet delegations from Syria’s government and its foes on Lake Geneva on Thursday, trying to salvage peace talks after an acrimonious start by focusing on local ceasefires and prisoner swaps rather than a political deal.

The first day of the talks on Wednesday was dominated by fierce rhetoric from President Bashar al-Assad’s government and its foes. Brought together for the first time in almost three years of war, each accused the other of atrocities and showed no sign of compromise.

Jan 21, 2014

Syria talks in disarray before they begin

GENEVA (Reuters) – Syria peace talks were in disarray on Tuesday before they began, buffeted by a botched U.N. invitation to Iran, an explosion in Beirut and new evidence that appears to show Bashar al-Assad’s government has tortured and killed thousands.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s unexpected, last-minute decision on Sunday to invite President Assad’s main foreign backer Iran – only to withdraw the invitation a day later – proved a diplomatic fiasco, undermining talks that are already given little chance of success.