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Gunshots, Explosions Heard from Syria at Turkish Border

Gunshots and explosions were heard Tuesday from the Syrian side of Turkey's border with the unrest-hit Arab country, where thousands of fleeing people have massed, an Agence France Presse reporter said.

The shooting appeared to come from a hill overlooking the demarcation line at the frontier, about a kilometer from the Turkish border village of Guvecci, the reporter said.

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Syria to Allow Red Cross Access to Unrest Areas

The International Committee of the Red Cross said Tuesday after talks with Syrian authorities that it has been granted access to areas and people affected by the unrest in the Middle Eastern country.

"The Syrian officials were receptive, and agreed to give the ICRC and the Syrian Arab Red Crescent wider access to areas of unrest," said ICRC president Jakob Kellenberger.

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Turkey, Israel in New Bid to Overcome Crisis

Israel and Turkey have been holding secret talks at several levels to end their diplomatic crisis, Haaretz newspaper reported on Tuesday, quoting a senior Israeli official.

The report, for which there was no confirmation, said an official representing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Feridun Sinirlioglu, undersecretary at the Turkish foreign ministry, were involved in the discussions.

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Turkey Says Assad Speech 'Not Enough', Urges 'Multi-Party System'

Turkish President Abdullah Gul has said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should transform the autocratic regime in his country into a multi-party system, following a televised address by the Syrian leader to the nation Monday.

Gul told reporters late on Monday that Assad’s speech was “not enough.”

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Barak: Assad’s Fall Would Deal Severe Blow to Iran, Hizbullah

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak has said that Syrian President Bashar Assad has lost his legitimacy and the fall of his regime would deal a blow to Iran and Hizbullah.

In an interview with French daily Le Figaro over the weekend, Barak said: “If Assad falls, this would deal a severe blow to Iran and Hizbullah, a significant weakening of the Shiite arc.”

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Turkey Extends Aid Across Syrian Border for 1st Time

Turkey has begun extending aid across its border with Syria to help people who have massed there fleeing unrest, the emergency situations agency said Sunday.

"Distribution of humanitarian aid has begun to meet the urgent food needs of Syrian citizens waiting on the Syrian side of our border," the statement, posted on the agency's website, said.

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Miqati to Kick off Regional Tour after Confidence Vote

Prime Minister Najib Miqati is expected to kick off a regional tour that would include Syria, Saudi Arabia and Turkey after his new cabinet receives parliament’s vote of confidence.

As Safir daily said Monday that Damascus would be Miqati’s first stop. The premier might also visit France, it said.

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Assad Envoy to Holds Talks with Turkey PM

An envoy of Syrian President Bashar Assad was to hold talks on Wednesday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has been urging the Damascus regime to halt its crackdown on protesters.

Erdogan would host afternoon talks with Hassan Turkmani in Ankara on "the developments in Syria", a government source told Agence France Presse.

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Angelina Jolie Hoping to Visit Syrian Refugees

Hollywood superstar Angelina Jolie has asked to visit refugee camps in southern Turkey where thousands of Syrians who fled a crackdown in their homeland are now staying, a Turkish diplomatic source said.

Turkey's foreign ministry was "currently considering the request" by Jolie, who is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations refugees agency (UNHCR), said the source.

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Erdogan Calls Assad, Urges End to Crackdown

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan telephoned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Tuesday and urged him to stop a bloody crackdown on protesters and launch reforms, Anatolia news agency reported.

Erdogan told the Syrian leader to "refrain from violence and end the unrest" that has swept Syria since anti-regime protests erupted in March, the report said.

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