When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

SYRIA STEPS (Syria), AL ARABIYA (Saudi Arabia), BBC (UK), AP (US), LE MONDE (France)

Worldcrunch

PARIS - Over 100 countries gathered for the Friends of Syria conference in Paris on Friday, hoping to broker a diplomatic solution to the on-going violent conflict and to bring an end to Bashar al-Assad's regime. The conference opened after reports that a senior Syrian general who fled to Turkey on Thursday has defected and is headed to France.

"Bashar al-Assad must go," French President François Hollande said, according to Al Arabiya. "It's in the interest of Syria, of its neighbors and everybody who wants peace in the region."

French Foreign minister Laurent Fabius confirmed that Brig General Manaf Tlas, a senior Syrian regime member, has defected and is headed to France. The BBC reports that similar rumors spread earlier in March proved to be false. The defection would be the most significant since the Syrian uprising started last year, as Tlas was in Bashar al-Assad's inner circle and is from a powerful Sunni Muslim family, but it remains to be seen if this will weaken the regime.

The website Syria Steps, considered close to the government, reported that Tlas "was pursued by Syrian intelligence." What the site quoted as a "high-ranking intelligence source" added that: "Syrian intelligence has a complete file about his contacts with foreigners, and his supervision of terrorist operations inside Syria."

The Friends of Syria are a group of Western and Arab countries that support the uprising against the current regime. Senior representatives and diplomats are meeting with the Syrian National Council (SNC) in order to facilitate a political transition in Syria, but previous conferences in Tunis and Istanbul yielded little results.

SNC head Abdulbaset Seyda is asking for increased humanitarian aid under chapter 7 of the United Nations charters, which was used in Libya last year and allows the use of military force. But Le Monde reports that Russia and China, the two main supporters of Damascus who also hold Security Council vetoes, are absent from the conference. United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had strong words for the two absentees.

Earlier this week Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari also told the Associated Press that he had "solid information" about al-Qaeda fighters flowing from Iraq to Syria, but he did not elaborate further.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ