Turkey breaches Syrian airspace

A Turkish television channel has reported a helicopter violated Syrian airspace to conduct a reconnaissance mission, amid speculative reports that Turkey may be considering establishing a “buffer zone” along the border.

A report published in the Turkish daily Posta on Thursday said Turkey is mulling over sending its military forces into Syrian soil to establish a “buffer zone” should the recent turmoil in Syria skyrocket into a refugee crisis that would pose a threat to Ankara.

President’s cousin offers company profits to charity

Cousin of the president Rami Makhlouf said he was going to donate the profits from his shares in telecom giant Syriatel to “charity”, at a press conference aired on Syrian state television on Thursday.

The powerful businessman said he would not in future “run any projects for personal profits and that he will dedicate himself for charity, development and humanitarian work,” and “supporting the national economy”, SANA reported.

Cabinet approves plan to reform interior ministry

The cabinet yesterday confirmed that the interior ministry will be restructured in the coming months.

According to local reports, the ministry will “upgrade its computer systems and work on combating corruption while seeking new investment plans,” according to Al-Watan.

Iraq builds refugee camp for Syrians

As Syria’s refugee crisis grew following another weekend of violence in the north of the country near the border with Turkey, Iraq announced it had set up a refugee camp for Syrians, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

Meanwhile, SANA reported the return of a number of refugees to the towns of Jisr al-Shaghour and Maarat al-Numan.

On Saturday, government forces entered the village of Bdama near the Turkish border. The move into Bdama occurred a day after Syrian forces swept into Maaret al-Numan, a town on the highway linking Damascus, the capital, with Syria’s largest city, Aleppo, according to the Associated Press.

Violent clashes have spread recently to the east of the country, to Deir ez-Zor, which sits on the Euphrates River on the main road to Iraq from central Syria.

The UN says that at least 1,100 people have died since protests began in March. Syrian rights groups put the overall death toll in Syria at 1,297 civilians and 340 security force members. The government says as many as 500 government forces have been killed and that civilian deaths are the result of violent Islamist armed gangs backed by foreign powers.

Syria Today (Syria)