February 8th – 12th

Monday, 8th February 2016

ITALY – U.S. President Barack Obama and Italian President Sergio Mattarella met on Monday in the White House and discussed efforts to work together to combat the Islamic State in Libya. During a meeting in the Oval Office, Obama and Mattarella talked about the need to help Libya form a united government. (Reuters)

SYRIA – The Syrian army advanced toward the Turkish border on Monday in a major offensive backed by Russia and Iran that rebels say now threatens the future of their nearly five-year-old insurrection against President Bashar al-Assad. (Reuters)

TURKEY – Urals Turkey is looking to upgrade diplomatic ties with Egypt, after relations became strained when President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013. (The Jerusalem Post)


Tuesday, 9th February 2016

TURKEY – As tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing violence massed at Turkey’s border, Turkish and German leaders pledged on Monday to redouble diplomatic efforts to end the fighting around the embattled Syrian city of Aleppo and prevent more refugees making their way into Europe. (Al-Arabiya)

Some 70,000 Syrian refugees could reach the Turkish border if the military campaign there continues at this intensity, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutolgu said on Tuesday, adding Turkey will not shut its gates to the refugees. (Reuters)

WAR ON TERROR – President Barack Obama is proposing about $200 million in new military spending to confront Islamist militants in north and West Africa, U.S. defense officials said ahead of Tuesday’s budget rollouts for the next fiscal year. (Reuters)

Wednesday, 10th February 2016

CYPRUS – Christian and Muslim leaders in Cyprus Wednesday repeated their full support for ongoing talks aimed at reunifying the ethnically-split country, saying their united stand for peace serves as a strong example of cooperation in a region where conflict is often fueled by religion. (The Daily Star)

GREECE – European Union envoys agreed a new set of demands for Greece to fix its handling of irregular migrants on Wednesday, moving forward a process that could see frontier checks in Europe’s passport-free Schengen zone extended for up to two years. (Reuters)

TURKEY – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan upbraided the United States for its support of Syrian Kurdish rebels on Wednesday, saying Washington’s inability to grasp their true nature had turned the region into a “sea of blood”. (Reuters)

Thursday, 11th February 2016

EUROPEAN MIGRANT CRISIS – NATO launches sea mission against migrant traffickers. NATO ships are on their way to the Aegean Sea to help Turkey and Greece crack down on criminal networks smuggling refugees into Europe, the alliance’s top commander said on Thursday. (Reuters)

ISRAEL – Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on Thursday appeared to be lowering expectations that Israel and Turkey would soon strike a deal restoring full diplomatic relations. (The Jerusalem Post)

MONTENEGRO – Russian deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has been barred from entering Montenegro, which is facing strong pressure from the Kremlin for its plans to join NATO. (The Daily Star)

Friday, 12th February 2016

GREECE – EU member states on Friday gave Greece a three-month ultimatum to remedy “deficiencies” in controlling the influx of migrants or face border controls with the rest of the Schengen passport-free zone, EU sources said. (The Daily Star)

ITALY – As Italy prepared to bury Giulio Regeni on Friday, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi warned Egypt its friendship was on the line over the probe into the student’s unexplained death in Cairo. (The Daily Star)

SYRIA – Major powers agreed on Friday to a cessation of hostilities in Syria set to begin in a week and to provide rapid humanitarian access to besieged Syrian towns, but failed to secure a complete ceasefire or an end to Russian bombing. (Reuters)

WAR ON TERROR – CIA director John Brennan has said that ISIS fighters have used chemical weapons and have the capability to make small quantities of chlorine and mustard gas, CBS News reported on Thursday. (The Daily Star)

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