Russia Withdraws Military Personnel From Syria

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Secretary of State John Kerry returns to Israel. See Jerusalem Post, Times of Israel, and Washington Post updates.

2. Israel disputes Western assessments that Bashar Assad has turned the tide of fighting. Haaretz writes:

The source said President Bashar Assad cannot swing the balance to his side in the conflict since he and the rebels have reached a stalemate, and neither side has the military strength to prevail . . .

The overall number of fatalities Hezbollah suffered in the fighting in Syria so far appears to exceed 500 – close to the number of dead it counted in the 2006 war . . .

The era of a united Syria under Assad’s rule is over.”

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3. According to Russian media reports, Moscow’s withdrawing its military personnel from its naval base in Tartus.

The source added that the withdrawal was prompted not only by the increased risks caused by the ongoing military conflict, but also by the fact that in the current conditions any incident involving Russian servicemen would likely have some unfavorable reaction from the international community.

4. French Court Convicts Philippe Karsenty: Judge says media analyst’s criticisms of the Mohammed al-Dura video defamed France 2 and reporter Charles Enderlin. Simon Plosker explains What Karsenty’s conviction doesn’t prove:

This setback in a French court must not be allowed to become the accepted narrative. We must do everything in our power to ensure that the report of the Israeli government, while thirteen years too late, becomes the definitive narrative of events.

The Blankfeld Award for Media Critique

Israel and the Palestinians

Bungled headline of the day, courtesy AP:

Associated Press

You’ll be forgiven for thinking Israel’s launching new communities around the West Bank. The reality is that the Jerusalem municipality gave a green light for 69 homes to be built in the already-existing suburb of Har Homa. And as we’ve explained before, Jerusalem is not a settlement. Contrast AP with Reuters‘ more reasonable header:


‘EU labels settlement goods but doesn’t label Hezbollah as terrorists’

For commentary/analysis, see:

  1. Jeff Jacoby on Israeli and Palestinian demographics.
  2. Forbes on Israeli and Palestinian economics.
  3. Khaled Abu Toameh on Hamas losing power.
  4. Kimberly Marten on Palestinian in-fighting.

Rest O’ the Roundup

Turkey wants to clamp down on anti-government Twitter use, reports Reuters. Ankara asked the microblogging service to open an office in Turkey, but Twitter’s apparently not keen on the idea.

Transport and Communications Minister Binali Yildirim told reporters on Wednesday that without a corporate presence in the country, the Turkish government could not quickly reach Twitter officials with orders to take down content or with requests for user data . . .

• Foreign Policy explains why Bashar Assad has a problem publicly acknowledging Hezbollah’s help.

My heart bleeds for the Beeb — not.

Daily Mail

For more, see yesterday’s Israel Daily News Stream.

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