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Assad May Task Jumblat with Mediating with Turkey

Thursday’s meeting between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblat did not focus on the issue of Lebanon’s cabinet formation process, but rather at the possibility of tasking the Druze leader with “mediating between Syria and Turkey,” whose once warm relations have grown colder over Damascus’ violent crackdown on protesters, MTV reported Friday.

Meanwhile, OTV reported that Assad told Jumblat that “Syria has overcome the dangerous phase and that it has started to contain the situation caused by the conspiracy plotted by some major world powers and Arab states.”

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Vatican Fears Increasingly Unstable Arab World

A Vatican expression of concern over the violence in Syria this week was the latest sign of deep misgivings in Catholic circles about Arab uprisings seen as a threat for Christian minorities.

"The pope has been rather silent on the Arab revolutions," said Marco Politi, a Vatican specialist for Italian daily Il Fatto Quotidiano.

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Erdogan Accuses Syrian Regime of Committing 'Atrocity'

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the Syrian regime of perpetrating an "atrocity" against anti-government demonstrators, the Anatolia news agency reported Friday.

"I talked to Mr. Assad (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) four or five days ago. ... But they underestimate the situation," Erdogan told Anatolia.

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1,000 More Syrians Flee to Turkey amid Unrest

About 1,000 more Syrians have fled to Turkey, bringing to some 1,600 the number of people taking refuge in the country amid unrest in their homeland, a government official said on Thursday.

"According to information from local authorities, about 1,000 more people have arrived and the total is now around 1,600," the official, who declined to be named, told Agence France Presse.

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PM: Turkey Will not Close Doors to Syrian Refugees

Turkey will not close its doors to refugees fleeing the repression in Syria, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday as he expressed his sadness about unrest across the border.

Erdogan, who has become increasingly critical of the President Bashar Assad's regime, also urged authorities in Damascus to demonstrate more tolerance towards its civilians.

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Report: 10 Killed in Turkey Bus Accident

Ten people were killed on Wednesday when a passenger bus overturned and burned after hitting a road sign in northern Turkey, media reports said.

Another 29 people were injured, including four critically, a traffic official told news channel NTV. The accident occurred in the Black Sea province of Giresun, the official said, adding that it was suspected the driver had fallen asleep.

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Dozens Flee Syria Crackdown into Turkey, One Dies

One person died from gunshot wounds as 41 refugees fleeing unrest in Syria crossed the border into Turkey over the weekend, a Turkish diplomat told Agence France Presse on Tuesday.

"A man with gunshot wounds died in an ambulance heading to a hospital in Turkey, after he crossed the border in a serious condition," the diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

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Report: More Turkish Soldiers Arrested in Coup Probe

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

A general heading Turkey's air force academy was among the suspects charged with "an attempt to remove the government by force" after lengthy questioning, Anatolia said.

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Syrian Opposition Calls on Assad to Quit Immediately

Syrian opposition groups called Thursday for President Bashar al-Assad's immediate resignation, in a joint declaration at the end of a two-day meeting in Turkey.

The statement, read out in Arabic in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya, urged the "immediate resignation of President Bashar al-Assad from all functions he occupies" and asked him to "leave his powers to a vice-president," without specifying whom it was referring to.

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Syria Opposition Demands Regime Change not Amnesty

Syrian opposition groups insisted on regime change as they met in Turkey on Wednesday, a day after President Bashar Assad decreed an amnesty for political prisoners following two months of bloodshed.

The three-day gathering -- titled "Conference for Change in Syria" -- opened with the Syrian national anthem and a minute of silence for "the martyrs" killed in bloody crackdowns on street protests simmering in Syria since March.

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