- - Tuesday, November 15, 2011

TURKEY

Erdogan tells Assad not to ‘feed on blood’

ANKARA — Turkey no longer has confidence in the Syrian regime, its prime minister said Tuesday, warning Syrian President Bashar Assad that his brutal crackdown on opponents threatens to place him on a list of leaders who “feed on blood.”

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also urged Mr. Assad to punish those responsible for attacks on Turkish diplomatic missions in Syria.


Addressing Mr. Assad disrespectfully by his first name, Mr. Erdogan said: “Bashar, you who have thousands of people in jail, must find those who attacked the Turkish flag and punish them,” a reference to burning of the Turkish flag in Saturday’s attack on the Turkish consulate in the Syrian city of Latakia.

Mr. Assad’s supporters tried to break into Turkish missions on Saturday to denounce an Arab League decision to suspend Syria’s membership over its crackdown on the eight-month uprising.

Turkey is not a member of the league but welcomed the decision.

Mr. Erdogan took pains to note that his comments were politically neutral.

“It is not among our expectations that the Assad regime meet all the demands of the [Syrian] people,” Mr. Erdogan said. “Our wish is that it, which is now on a knife-edge, does not enter this road of no return, which leads to the edge of the abyss.”

Turkey evacuated the families of diplomats after Saturday’s attacks on its embassy in Damascus and its consulates in the cities of Aleppo and Latakia.

ISRAEL

Military chief favors Gaza Strip offensive

JERUSALEM — Israeli media reported that the nation’s top military commander has said he favors a major offensive in Gaza because of rocket attacks.

The reports Tuesday said Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz told a parliamentary committee about the need to “embark on a significant offensive in Gaza.”

The reports quoted participants in the committee meeting who spoke on condition of anonymity because the session was closed.

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