Peace Plan agreed ~
Fighting to stop soon
The parties meeting at the Peace talks in Munich Germany on Thursday 11th February issued a dramatic statement saying that fighting in Syria would end within a week.
Twelve nations participated in the talks, however Russia said it would continue its action. Sergei Lavrov, the Russian Foreign Minister said it was only a firt step towards peace and that his countrfy was still pressing ahead with its campaign of airstrikes.
The Da'ish (IS), al Nusra and several other terror groups were not involved in the talks so are not expected to observe the truce.
Cyprus rescues more refugees
Refugees on board a sailing boat were winched to safety by helicopters after their craft began sinking off Cyprus. The overnight rescue operation took place off Cap Greco near Famgusta. The refugees were taken to hospital and were treated for hypothermia.
Cyprus has not seen many refugees landing, partly because it is not in the Shengen area and rarely gives asylum. The 115 refugees who landed at RAF Akrotiri in October have been rioting in protest at being kept in tents and not flown to the UK.
Russia confirms Assad position
Russia's Foreign Affairs Minister has said it is not crucial that Assad remains in power, but it was a matter for the Syrian people to decide. On being asked if President Assad remaining in power was a matter of principle, Maria Zakharova said
Absolutely not, we have never said this.
She also spoke about new peace talks, incolving Iran and the USA, taking place later in the year.
US & Russian pilots talk
Pilots from the Russian and American Air Forces have now taken part in joint radio tests over Syria to ensure communications protocols work during future engagements. A senior Russian military official confirmed that the test was designed to
to train crews and ground services for incidents of dangerous proximity of aircraft
Family trapped at border
Hundreds of Syrian refugees have been left stranded at a border crossing when Austria refused them access. Around 400 refugees were left in the open without light, heat or food and in very bad weather. The refugees had been accompanied to the Austrian border by Slovenian military on Monday and abandoned there. Eighty of the refugees are young children, including a dozen or so babies. They are being held behind barbed wire fences and razor wire by armed Austrian soldiers.
Support for Free Syrian Army
The Russian Air Force in Syria said that it is now ready to provide cover for the Free Syrian Army. The announcement came in an interview on Russia's ROSSIYA 1 TV channel and was made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Mr Lavrov reached agreement in Vienna with his US counterpart John Kerry to explore new ways to reach political agreement. Foreign ministers of Turkey and Saudi Arabia also attended the meeting.
The Syrian Free Army rejected the offer of help from Russia saying "Only if they stop attacking our bases can we talk about future co-operation." The southern branch of the SFE said that they did not turn down the offer, but were just rejecting it for now.
Israeli sailors save Arabs
A party of Israel weekend sailors rescued a dozen Syrian and Iraqi refugees from the sea after their boat sank while en-route to Europe on Sunday. Members of the Poseidon Sailing Club were having a leisurely sail out when they found first one and then finally 11 refugees in the water, several miles offshore. One of those rescued was a mother and her dead baby who had perished in the waves. Four children were saved and 8 adults.
Shlomo Asban, the captain of the Israeli yacht said "I have never seen anothing like it, in forty years at sea. We heard one guy calling to be saved and eventually brought twelve of them into our boat. The mother told me she had held her baby's body all night." The Jews, all from Ashod, said the refugees were surprised by their compassion. "We simply gave them water and let them use our cellphones to call their families." said Captain Asban.
EU leaders discuss refugees
The leaders of the EU countries met in Brussels and discussed how best to reduce the refugee problem, and relations with Turkey. Most of the 1.2million migrants into Europe came via Turkey. There are now over 3 million refugees in Turkey, fleeing the Syrian crisis.
Norway to return refugees
The Norwegian Government has announced that it is to return some of the 1200 refugees who have entered their country via Russia this year. "Some of them have lived for some time in Russia, they already were safe in Russia and are not really asylum seekers, simply economic migrants," said Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende.
China - Syria talks
The Syrian Presidential Political and Media Advisor Bouthaina Shaaban met the Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhang Ming and discussed with him the latest developments regarding the crisis in Syria and the counter-terrorism efforts it is exerting. Mr Shaaban stressed the need for cooperation to prevent the spread of terrorism, thanking the Chinese government for its balanced positions and its support for peoples’ rights.
World Leaders discuss Syria at UNGA
Iran, Russia and Iraq
ally with Syria
The Government of Iraq announced that its military is working with Russia, Iran and Syria in the fight against ISIL. The pact was announced just hours before major UN conference in New York on the Syrian conflict, attended by 170 nations, including the US, the UK and Russia. President Putin demanded that President Assad be involved in the solution to the Syrian crisis.
The Russian news agency (Interfax) announced that the new Baghdad Coordination Centre will be led on a rotating basis by officers of the four countries.