Syria will 'eliminate terror'

Syria's President Assad said his government had a duty to "eliminate terrorists" to protect its people. He also ruled out any solution to the crisis imposed from outside the country.

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Syrian refugee count set to double

The U.N. refugee agency doubled its forecast for the number of refugees who will flee Syria this year to 185,000 and said it would need more than twice as much money as previously thought, the U.N. coordinator for Syrian refugees Panos Moumtzis said.

Refugee numbers have doubled to 96,000 since March, forcing the United Nations to revise its forecast.

U.N. humanitarian agencies and their partner organisations now say they need $193 million (£124 million pounds) to help the refugees, more than twice the $84.1 million (£54.2 million pounds) they appealed for in March


Smoke billows from Syria's highest court

Thick billows of smoke are clearly visible over the Palace of Justice in Damascus - Syria's highest court.

The building appeared intact as firefighters doused cars that were on fire and ambulances arrived at the scene.

Smokes rises after an explosion was heard near the Palace of Justice in central Damascus Credit: REUTERS/SANA/Handout

Witnesses have told Reuters that at least 20 cars were burned but it is now known whether there are any casualties.

The car park is used by lawyers and judges working at the Palace of Justice.

Turkish military convoys head towards Syrian refugee camp

A Turkish military convoy including anti-aircraft missiles left a base near the Syrian border today and headed for a Turkish province housing a large camp for Syrian refugees, local agencies said.

Video from the DHA agency showed the convoy, of about 12 trucks and transporters, filing through the gates of the base past the hanging Turkish red flag emblazoned with white crescent moon and star.

The Dogan agency said the convoy, from the 5th Mechanised Armoured Brigade, headed for Kilis province, site of a large container refugee camp. Traffic was closed on some roads to allow the convoy through.


Syrian opposition won't accept UN plan without Assad exit

Syrian opposition groups say they will not accept a political transition plan proposed by international envoy Kofi Annan unless it explicitly required President Bashar al-Assad to step down ahead of the formation of a unity government.

According to diplomatic sources at the United Nations, Annan's proposal, aimed at ending the 16-month conflict in Syria, does not stipulate Assad's resignation, although it does say the unity government could not include figures who jeopardise stability.

Samir Nashar, an executive member of the international Syrian National Council, said:

The proposal is still murky to us but I can tell you that if it does not clearly state that Assad must step down, it will be unacceptable to us.

Turkey PM: Syrian military moving towards border could be target

Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan said any military element moving towards the Turkish border and deemed threatening would be declared a military target.

The size and power of air defence weapons in the convoy suggested Turkey was preparing for any possible approach by Syrian helicopters or warplanes.

State-run Anatolia news agency said armoured military vehicles were being transported to military installations in Sanliurfa, in the middle of Turkey's border with Syria and Hatay, a panhandle province that juts down into Syria.

Turkey confirms troop movements to Syrian border

A convoy of about 30 military vehicles, including trucks loaded with missile batteries, has arrived in Turkey's coastal town of Iskenderun and deployed near the the Syrian border 50 km (30 miles) away, Turkish agencies said.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan announced he would take precautions after a Turkish jet was shot down by Syrian forces last Friday.

A Turkish official said he did not know how many troops or vehicles were being moved but said they were being stationed in the Yayladagi, Altinozu and Reyhanli border areas of Turkey's southern Hatay province. He said anti-aircraft guns were being stationed along the border.

The White House condemns violence in Syria

The White House has condemned all acts of violence in Syria, including attacks on elements favouring the government of President Bashar al-Assad.

The condemnation comes follows an insurgent attack on a pro-government television station near Damascus.

"We condemn all acts of violence, including those targeting pro-regime elements," White House spokesman Jay Carney told a regular daily briefing. He called on all parties to end hostilities in Syria.

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