Monday, 2nd May 2016

GREECE – Talks on concluding Greece’s bailout review to unlock new funds and debt relief are progressing only slowly and no deal is likely at a special meeting of Eurozone finance ministers on May 9, two sources close to the talks said on Monday. (Reuters)

MIGRANT CRISIS – European countries that refuse to share the burden of high immigration will face a financial charge of about €250,000 per refugee, according to Brussels’ plans to overhaul the bloc’s asylum rules. The punitive financial pay-off clause is one of the most contentious parts of the European Commission’s proposed revision of the so-called Dublin asylum regulation, due to be revealed on Wednesday. (Financial Times)

SYRIA – After Assad crossed Obama’s ‘red line’ by using chemical arms, a deal was reached to see all such weapons removed from the war-torn country. Last week however, the regime used a chemical agent – most likely sarin – against ISIS. (Haaretz)

WAR ON TERROR – The Turkish military said Monday that artillery shelling and drone attacks by the U.S.-led coalition have struck Islamic State positions in Syria and killed a total of 63 militants. (The Washington Post)

Tuesday, 3rd May 2016

MIGRANT CRISIS – In a blatant slap at the European Union’s authority, Hungary’s Supreme Court on Tuesday paved the way for a referendum defying an E.U. order to resettle tens of thousands of migrants among member states. (The Washington Post)

The European commission is poised to recommend visa-free travel for Turkish citizens in Europe’s borderless Schengen zone, one of the terms of a controversial deal over refugees struck between the EU and Turkey in March. (The Guardian)

SYRIA – The Syrian Army, on Tuesday, backing the Russian statement announced that the approach for a calmer state-of –affairs, the temporary truce, would be extended another 48 hours for the vicinity of Damascus. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

TURKEY – Turkish MPs have come to blows and thrown water at each other in parliament during talks about lifting members’ immunity from prosecution. Members of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the People’s Democracy Party (HDP), the pro-Kurdish opposition party, engaged on Monday in a second scuffle after a previous meeting on the bill was postponed on Thursday over another fight. (Al Jazeera)

Turkish warplanes hit targets belonging to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq on Monday evening, killing 18 militants, military sources said on Tuesday. (Reuters)

Wednesday, 4th May 2016

ISRAEL – In response to mortar rounds fired by Hamas toward Israeli defense forces operating outside the Gaza Strip, Israel hit five targets in Gaza with airstrikes on Wednesday, a military spokesman said. (The New York Times)

SYRIA – The United States and Russia have agreed to work with Syria’s warring parties to extend a shaky truce to the city of Aleppo, the State Department said Wednesday. “Since this went into effect today at 00:01 in Damascus, we have seen an overall decrease in violence in these areas,” spokesman Mark Toner said. (Al Arabiya)

TURKEY – A bill proposed by Turkey’s ruling party that would strip some parliamentarians of their immunity from prosecution is likely to create more violence and stifle democratic politics, the co-head of the pro-Kurdish opposition party said. (Reuters)

Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants launched a car bomb attack on a military installation in southeast Turkey overnight, killing one soldier, while Turkey’s army destroyed PKK targets in air strikes and killed more than 20 militants. (Reuters)

Thursday, 5th May 2016

EGYPT – Human rights and freedoms in Egypt should not be viewed from a “Western perspective,” the country’s president has said in what campaigners have described as “deeply troubling” remarks. (The Independent)

GREECE – Greek labor unions declared a 48-hour national walkout on Thursday as lawmakers debated unpopular tax and pension reforms Greece hopes will help persuade creditors to approve release of badly-needed bailout cash. (Reuters)

EGYPT – Human rights and freedoms in Egypt should not be viewed from a “Western perspective,” the country’s president has said in what campaigners have described as “deeply troubling” remarks. (The Independent)

LIBYA – Libya may be forced to cut oil production within days if a stand-off between eastern and western factions that has prevented loadings at the Marsa al-Hariga port continues, an official from oil firm NOC in Tripoli told Reuters on Thursday. (Reuters)

TURKEY – The Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has is to resign after tensions with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the refugee crisis, European Union deal and terror attacks by Isis and Kurdish groups created a rift between the political pair. (The Independent)

Turkish markets are struggling to find their feet this morning as the country’s prime minister is set to resign later today. Renewed political turmoil saw stocks fall 2 per cent at the opening bell in Istanbul. The sell-off came after the lira suffered its biggest daily drop of 2016, falling by more then 4 per cent last night. (Financial Times)

Friday, 6th May 2016

EGYPT – Egypt has handed over the mobile phone records of the head of a street vendors union to Italian investigators who are looking into the killing in Cairo of student Giulio Regeni, a legal source said on Friday. (Reuters)

ISRAEL – In the worst fighting in almost two years between Israel and Gaza Strip militants, repeated salvos of Palestinian mortar fire were met Friday by Israeli airstrikes deep in the coastal enclave as an escalation between the two sides reached a third worrisome day. (The Washington Post)

LIBYA – Advances by the Islamic State of the Iraq and Levant (ISIL) group along the southern coast of Libya’s third largest city of Misrata have prompted armed groups in the city to deploy militiamen to counter the offensive. (Al Jazeera)

MIGRANT CRISIS – Nearly 1,800 migrants have been rescued by Italian authorities after attempting to cross the Mediterranean from north Africa in the past 24 hours, the Italian navy said today. (Daily Mail)

SYRIA – Airstrikes on a camp for displaced people in Syria’s Idlib province were almost certainly not accidental and likely amounted to a war crime, the U.N. rights chief said Friday. Syria’s military has denied any involvement in the Thursday raids that killed at least 28 civilians. (The Daily Star)

TURKEY – A visa-free travel deal between the EU and Turkey was on the brink of collapse on Friday night, after Turkey’s president insisted he would not change his country’s anti-terrorism laws, a key condition of the agreement. “We’ll go our way, you go yours,” said Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. (The Guardian)