Assad defies Turkish demand to halt crackdown
In the UK and international papers today, the main Middle East story relates to the defiance of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his crackdown on anti-government protesters. The newspapers note that President Assad rejected a plea by neighbouring Turkey to halt the crackdown. Meanwhile, the Independent notes that Israeli Air Force drones are carrying out surveillance missions over the Mediterranean Sea due to security concerns from Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. The Telegraph and Financial Times report that a majority of the US Senate urged President Barack Obama yesterday to impose “crippling sanctions” on Iran’s financial system in order to halt its nuclear programme development.
In the Israeli newspapers today, all papers on the front pages note the riots taking place across London and the deployment of thousands of policemen on the streets. Haaretz notes that the US is “deeply concerned” with Israel’s approval of the construction of new housing units in East Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Post leads with the Syrian news that President Bashar Assad said yesterday that his government forces will continue to pursue against anti-government protesters in order to bring stability and security back to the country.
In other news, Haaretz and Ynetnews note that Defence Minister Ehud Barak said yesterday that the social protests were important and said the Defence Ministry can contribute by closing bases to allow for more land space and by offering better benefits to newly released soldiers. The Jerusalem Post reports that US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro toured the Iron Dome anti-missile site yesterday and said that the difficult economic times for the US will not affect its military aid and commitment to Israel’s security.