Middle East
Latest stories
Syria Opposition Calls for Demos as Regime Forces Shell Homs

Syrian activists called for mass protests on Friday to denounce Arab countries for "abandoning" them as Syrian forces shelled rebel bastions in the central city of Homs and launched assaults in northwestern Idlib province.

"The Muslims and the Arabs have abandoned us ... but God is with us ... and our determination will carry us to victory," said a statement posted on the Syrian Revolution 2011 Facebook page, urging nationwide street demonstrations after the weekly Friday prayers.

W140 Full Story
Erdogan Urges Political Reform in Syria

Syria should heed the will of its people by implementing political reforms and allowing free elections, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on a visit to Tehran in remarks reported by Iranian media Friday.

"The Syrian regime should be receptive to the will of its people, who want elections and democracy," Erdogan said, according to an interview aired on Iranian state television late Thursday.

W140 Full Story
Khamenei Meets Erdogan: Iran Will Defend Syria

Iran will defend the regime of its regional ally Syria due to its anti-Israeli stance, supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told the visiting Turkish prime minister on Thursday.

"Iran will defend Syria because of its support for the anti-Zionist regime resistance," Khamenei said as he received Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad, state television reported.

W140 Full Story
Assad to 'Spare No Effort' to Make Annan's Plan Succeed

President Bashar al-Assad has agreed to a peace plan by international envoy Kofi Annan to end the crisis in Syria and vowed to make every effort to make it succeed, the state agency SANA said Thursday.

Assad, however, stressed the U.N.-Arab League envoy's plan would succeed only if "terrorist acts" backed by foreign powers stopped across the country.

W140 Full Story
Ban Urges Assad to Implement Peace Plan 'Immediately'

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon on Wednesday urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to "immediately" implement the U.N. six-point plan to stop bloodshed in Syria.

"I urge President al-Assad to put commitments into immediate effect. There is no time to waste," Ban told a news conference in Kuwait.

W140 Full Story
Kuwait Hails End of Iraq 'Dark Phase', Urges Syria to Halt Violence

Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Sabah was in Baghdad on Thursday for a landmark Arab summit, in the first visit by a Kuwaiti head of state to Iraq since Saddam Hussein's 1990 invasion.

At the opening of the summit, the emir called on Syria to listen to reason and cooperate with U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan.

W140 Full Story
Turkey Voices Support for Iran Nuclear Program

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday voiced his country's unwavering support for Tehran's nuclear ambitions in a meeting with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to an official statement.

"The government and nation of Turkey has always clearly supported the nuclear positions of the Islamic republic of Iran, and will continue to firmly follow the same policy in the future," Erdogan was quoted as saying in the statement issued by Ahmadinejad's office.

W140 Full Story
Arab Summit Accuses Syria of Crimes Against Humanity, Urges Regime-Opposition Talks

Arab leaders urged dialogue and an end to Syria's bloody crackdown on dissent at a landmark summit in Baghdad on Thursday, while Iraq's premier warned that arming rival camps would spark a "proxy war."

Regional leaders approved a resolution calling for an end to the government's crackdown, for the opposition to unite and for parties to the conflict to launch a "serious national dialogue."

W140 Full Story
BRICS Summit Defends Dialogue for Syria, Iran

The world's biggest emerging powers on Thursday said dialogue was the only answer to the crises in Syria and Iran, seeking to buttress their economic heft with a unified diplomatic clout.

At their fourth summit, the leaders of the BRICS countries -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa -- also pushed for the creation of a new joint development bank as a counterpoint to Western-backed aid lenders.

W140 Full Story
Kuwait Condemns Sunnis for Burning Iran Flag

Kuwait on Thursday condemned Sunni activists for setting ablaze an Iranian flag during a rally to protest a Shiite tweeter's insults against Islam's Prophet Mohammed.

A foreign ministry official expressed his "rejection and condemnation of this irresponsible action," the official KUNA news agency reported, citing a statement.

W140 Full Story