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Syria Presses Crackdown, Army Enters Border Village with Turkey

Syrian tanks on Saturday rolled into a village on the border with Turkey where workers are scrambling to erect a huge tent city for fear of a new exodus of refugees from the crackdown.

As families across Syria mourned 18 protesters gunned down by security forces on Friday, activists said troops backed by tanks rumbled into al-Najia village near Jisr al-Shughur, a town which the army seized on June 12 after repeated protests.

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Report: 4 Turkish Soldiers Charged in Coup Probe

A Turkish court has charged four soldiers over an alleged 2003 plot to overthrow the Islamist-rooted government and ordered them detained pending trial, Anatolia news agency reported Saturday.

Two-star admiral Mucahit Sislioglu, a colonel, and two other soldiers were questioned Friday and then charged as part of an expanding probe into a purported coup plot, codenamed "Operation Sledgehammer," that has already landed some 200 soldiers in court.

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Netanyahu Envoy Involved in Reconciliation Talks with Turkey

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has tasked Vice Premier and Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Yaalon to reconcile with Turkey, Israeli media revealed on Friday.

Yaalon held talks with two high-ranking officials in the Turkish foreign ministry, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and Channel 2 television network unveiled.

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Syrian Army Enters Village Bordering Turkey, Hundreds Flee

Hundreds of displaced Syrians poured into Turkey on Thursday after Syrian troops backed by tanks approached their makeshift camps along the border, an Agence France Presse journalist reported.

Several hundred people broke through the barbed wire marking the frontier between the two countries and were seen advancing into Turkish territory on a road used by Turkish border guards, a few kilometers from the Turkish village of Guvecci.

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Turkey's Kurds Furious over Lost Parliamentary Seat

A leading Kurdish politician warned Turkey of renewed bloodshed Wednesday after the authorities stripped a prominent Kurdish activist of his seat in parliament, Anatolia news agency reported.

"This is a decision to drag Turkey into chaos... to push our people into an environment of conflict," Ahmet Turk, head of a Kurdish umbrella organization, said in Diyarbakir, the largest city in the Kurdish-majority southeast.

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Syria's FM Rejects Foreign Interference, Calls on Turkey to Reconsider Position

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Wednesday rejected foreign meddling in his country's internal affairs while stressing Damascus is keen to maintain good ties with longtime ally Turkey.

"We are keen on maintaining good relations with Turkey with which we share a common border of 850 kilometers," Muallem told a press conference in Damascus.

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Hamas Chief Meshaal Holds Talks in Turkey

Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal held talks with Turkish officials on efforts to achieve Palestinian unity during a two-day visit to Istanbul ending later Wednesday, diplomats said.

Meshaal's talks in Turkey's largest city coincided with a four-day trip to the capital Ankara by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who heads Fatah, at a time when Palestinian officials have reported disagreements between the two groups over the formation of a unity government.

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U.S. Defends Ambassador’s Participation in Tour Organized by Assad Regime

The Obama administration has struggled to explain why its ambassador to Syria participated in a sanitized trip to the country's restive north that was sponsored by President Bashar Assad's regime to attempt to justify its military crackdown.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Monday's trip to the abandoned town of Jisr al-Shughour allowed Ambassador Robert Ford to "see for himself the results of the Syrian government's brutality."

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U.S. Tightens Libya Sanctions, Targets Banks in Turkey, Tunisia, Lebanon

The U.S. government tightened sanctions against three Libya-controlled banks in Turkey, Tunisia and Lebanon on Tuesday, ratcheting up the pressure on leader Moammer Gadhafi's support.

The U.S. Treasury Department said it had targeted three foreign Libyan-owned banks, identified six additional companies subject to sanctions, and lifted sanctions against a former Libyan oil minister who defected from the Gadhafi regime last month.

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Abbas in Turkey for Talks with Top Leaders

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas arrived in Ankara Tuesday for talks with Turkish leaders amid disagreements over the formation of a Palestinian unity government, officials said.

Abbas will have a "private program" before talks with Turkish leaders on Thursday and Friday, a Turkish diplomat told Agence France Presse, without giving other details.

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