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Turkey Inspects Armenian Plane En Route To Syria

November 08, 2012

Turkish media reports say an Armenian plane flying to Syria landed in eastern Turkey on November 8 so that its cargo could be inspected to make sure it was not carrying military equipment.

The reports said the plane landed in the city of Erzurum under an agreement with Turkish authorities.

Airport officials said that the plane was allowed to leave after a four-hour search.

Another Armenian plane landed in Turkey in mid-October and was allowed to continue to Syria after authorities confirmed it was carrying aid.

Turkey is one of the harshest critics of President Bashar al-Assad's regime in conflict-torn neighboring Syria.

Turkey banned Syrian aircraft from its airspace in October after saying it found Russian military equipment on board a Syrian plane.

Meanwhile, Assad has said he doubts the West will intervene militarily in Syria.

In interview excerpts published on Russia Today's Arabic-language website, Assad warned that the cost of an invasion "would be bigger than the entire world can bear." He also said he "must live and die in Syria."

On November 8, the Red Cross said it is no longer able to provide all the aid needed by civilians trapped by the continuing conflict in Syria.

At a news conference in Geneva, Peter Maurer, the chief of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said the crisis has been deepening every day since the summer.

"We are in a situation where the humanitarian situation due to the conflict is getting worse," he said. "And despite the fact that the scope of operation is increasing, we can't cope with the worsening of the situation."

Maurer said there were "blank spots" where the Red Cross had been unable to deliver aid because of fighting. He said the agency did not know what the situation was in those areas.

In other developments, the membership of a possible new Syrian opposition leadership is expected to be discussed on November 8 at a meeting in Doha, Qatar.

Reports have said there are plans to create a new 50-member leadership body that would coordinate with rebel fighters and be ready to negotiate a political transition out of the conflict with the Syrian government.

The current main opposition Syrian National Council (SNC), largely composed of exiles and influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood, has been criticized as ineffective.

The United States has said it hopes to see a more unified opposition that includes representatives of rebels and activists who have been fighting inside Syria against the Assad regime.

The SNC has been meeting this week in Doha to select a new leadership team.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, and dpa

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/syria-opposition-leadership-qatar/24764562.html

Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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