Monday, 27th April 2015

SYRIA – A coalition of Islamist rebels seized an army base in northwestern Syria at dawn on Monday after a suicide bomber from al Qaeda’s Nusra Front drove a truck packed with explosives into the compound and blew it up. The capture, reported by a rebel commander and social media videos showing militants inside the base, brought the coalition closer to seizing most of Idlib province and moving towards Latakia, the ancestral home of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. (Reuters)

LIBYA – Islamic State (IS) militants have killed five journalists working for a Libyan television station in the country’s east, an army commander said. The reporters had been missing since August, when they left the eastern city Tobruk to travel to Benghazi after covering the inauguration of the country’s elected Parliament. (Reuters)

Thursday, 28th April 2015

LIBYA – The Libyan General National Congress (GNC) on Tuesday “fully” and “unanimously” rejected a draft political agreement for the country backed by UN mediator Bernardino Leon. The announcement was made by the spokesman for the legislative body of the unrecognized parallel Government in Tripoli, Omar Hemidan, at a press conference broadcast on television. He said that the GNC “will abandon neither its principles”, nor the country’s security and sovereignty. (ANSAmed)

 

Wednesday, 29th April 2015

LIBYA  The European Union sought to reassure Libya on Tuesday that any action being considered by the 28-nation bloc to stem the deadly flow of migrants across the Mediterranean should not be perceived as an attack against the Libyan people. (Reuters)

SYRIA – The European Union’s top diplomat on Tuesday voiced the hope that Iran would play an important but constructive role in a renewed United Nations push to restart negotiations aimed at ending the four-year civil war in Syria. (Reuters)

EGYPT – Egypt’s president said that the country’s delayed parliamentary elections will take place before the end of 2015, according to a newspaper interview published Wednesday. (ABC News)

ISRAEL – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed up his first partners on Wednesday for a new coalition Government, a lawmaker and spokeswoman said, putting him on course to lead a heavily right-leaning cabinet. (Reuters)

 

Tuesday, 30th April 2015

ARMENIA Turkey‘s backlash against European countries that call Ottoman Turks’ 1915 massacre of Armenians genocide will complicate Ankara’s ambitions to join the European Union, the commissioner in charge of EU enlargement told a newspaper on Thursday. Turkey denies that the killing of up to 1.5 million Armenians in what is now Turkey, at the height of World War One, constitutes genocide and relations with Armenia are still blighted by the dispute. (Armen Press)

FRANCE Qatar has agreed to buy 24 Dassault Aviation-built Rafale fighter jets in a 6.3-billion-euro (4.55 billion pounds) deal, the French Government said on Thursday, as the Gulf Arab State looks to boost its military firepower in an increasingly unstable region. The contract – the third this year for Dassault after deals to sell Rafale jets to Egypt and India – also includes MBDA missiles, and the training of 36 Qatari pilots and 100 technicians by the French army, a French Defense Ministry official said. (Reuters)

 

Friday, 1st May 2015

SYRIA Islamist rebels and the Syrian army fought fierce battles in Latakia province overnight close to President Bashar al-Assad’s ancestral home, the army and rebels said, after weeks of insurgent gains in the country’s northwest. Rebels seeking to topple Assad have in the past sought to bring their four-year-long insurgency close to coastal areas in Government-held Latakia, heartland of Assad’s minority Alawite community. (Reuters)