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CUMHURIYET (Turkey), HÜRRIYET (Turkey), BBC NEWS (UK)

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has finally responded to last month's shooting down of a Turkish plane after it entered Syrian airspace, saying he regretted the incident.

"We learned that it the jet belonged to Turkey after shooting it down. I say 100 percent: "if only we had not shot it down"," Assad told the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet in an interview published on Tuesday. He said that he believed the plane was flying in an area previously used by Israel's air force.

His comments emerge as fighting rages throughout Syria in what the Turkish daily Hürriyet says is increasingly taking on the character of an all-out civil war, fueled by sectarian hatred.

On Tuesday, 85 Syrian soldiers, including 14 senior officers, defected across the Turkish border -- one of the biggest defections since the beginning of the uprising in Syria in March 2011, according to BBC News.

Meanwhile, Syria is being accused of practising a widespread policy of state-sanctioned torture, as part of an effort to crush dissent, a Human Rights Watch report says. The New York-based human rights organization calls the system of torture centers in Syria a "torture archipelago," a reference to Soviet dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn's novel "The Gulag Archipelago" in which he described Siberian gulags.

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Society

Whispers In The Abbey: How Long Can King Charles III Hold On To The Crown?

It's passed down by bloodline, and Charles has publicly vowed to a life of service. But is a rather un-beloved old white man with a complicated past the right royal for this moment? Even if a monarchy is undemocratic by design, popular opinion matters today more than ever. Just look at the Spanish monarchy.

King Charles III during the ceremonial procession from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Hall on Sept. 14

Sophia Constantino

-Analysis-

Grappling with the loss of its Queen, Britain is simultaneously embarking on a rapid process of transition — and that begins with a face and few key words. Postage stamps, speeches, national anthems: all of it will change visage and verbiage from Queen to King, Her Majesty to His Majesty, as Elizabeth’s son Charles III takes power.

But these differences are just scratching the surface of potentially far deeper changes afoot, and a looming sense of trepidation only being whispered about, as the nation joins together to try to assure a smooth transition of royal power.

Yet there are questions that will only grow louder: Will the aging son pale in comparison to his mother’s lifelong standard? How far has society evolved since Elizabeth took the crown in 1952? Will Charles' past as prince come back to haunt him?

Put a tad more bluntly: How long will his reign last?

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