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Sunday, January 13, 2013
Excerpts: Russia confused re Syria. UN predicts 1 million Syrian refugees in 6 months. Israel de-mining near Jordan border January 13, 2013

Excerpts: Russia confused re Syria.UN predicts 1 million Syrian refugees in
6 months. Israel de-mining near Jordan border January 13, 2013

+++SOURCE: Saudi Gazette 13 Jan.’13:”Russia in a confused state over Syria”,
Agence France Presse
SUBJECT: Russia confused re Syria
QUOTE:”Despite Friday’s (11 Jan.]talks the violence raged unabaited”

FULL TEXT:DAMASCUS – Russia called Saturday[12 Jan.] for a political
transition in Syria, a day after peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met diplomats
from Moscow and Washington and as the deadly conflict claimed yet more
lives.

The outskirts of the capital were rocked by violence despite Friday’s[11
Jan.] talks, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

A day after UN-Arab League special envoy Brahimi met Russian Deputy Foreign
Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns,
Moscow reiterated its long-held position that only Syrians can decide their
own fate.

“In our opinion, the priority task is to immediately stop any violence and
bloodshed as well as provide Syrians including internally displaced persons
and refugees with humanitarian aid,” a foreign ministry statement said.

But it also added: “At the same time it is necessary to secure the launch of
a political transition process in Syria aimed at enshrining in law
guaranteed and equal rights of all ethnic-confessional groups of this
country.”

Moscow, a key Damascus ally, also reiterated its support for a transition
plan that was agreed in Geneva on June 30, 2012, but has since split world
powers.

“We proceed from the fact that this consensus-based document remains fully
relevant as the only platform to overcome the protracted crisis in Syria,”
the foreign ministry said.

In a separate statement, the ministry said Bogdanov also met a Syrian
delegation led by Michel Kilo, a prominent anti-regime activist who opposes
foreign intervention.

“A common opinion was expressed that the priority task is to immediately
stop any violence and launch a nationwide dialogue” in accordance with the
Geneva communique, the statement said.

Bogdanov pledged to continue “active contacts” with both Damascus and the
opposition, it added.

Despite Friday’s talks, the violence raged unabated. – AFP

+++SOURCE: Naharnet(Lebanon) 13 Jan.’13:”UNHCR:200,000 Syrian Refugees
Currently in Lebanon”
SUBJECT: UN predicts 1 million Syrian refugees in 6 months

FULL TEXT:More than 200,000 Syrian refugees have fled the bloody conflict in
their home country for Lebanon, according to figures released by the United
Nations High Commissioner for Refugees on Saturday.

“195,000 Syrians are currently receiving aid from the Lebanese government,
the United Nations and non-governmental organizations,” a statement released
by the U.N. said.

According to the report around 139,000 refugees are registered within the
agency and more than 55,000 are waiting to be registered.

The statement pointed out that around 1,500 displaced Syrians are daily
registered through the four registration centers that the UNHCR established
across Lebanon.

Recently, sharp differences emerged between Lebanese officials over a
proposal by Free Patriotic Minister Jebran Bassil to close the border
between Lebanon and Syria, as those who oppose this move argue that the
refugees would use the illegal border crossings.

There are currently 70,751 refugees in north Lebanon, 53,351 in the Bekaa
and around 15,173 Syrians in Beirut and south Lebanon.

The intense fighting between forces loyal to President Bashar Assad and
rebels battling to overthrow him has sparked a huge exodus of Syrians and
Palestinians to neighboring countries.

The United Nations has appealed for $1 billion to fund refugee operations
until June.

A United Nations report published in December predicted that the number of
Syrian refugees would double to more than one million in the next six
months.

According to the statement issued by the UNHCR on Saturday[12 Jan.], the
biggest challenge that the agency and its partners is providing the Syrian
refugees with a shelter

+++SOURCE: Jordan Times 13 Jan.’13:”Israel to conduct de-mining operations
near border”

SUBJECT: Israel de-mining near Jordan border

FULL TEXT:AMMAN — Israel will remove and detonate anti-tank mines near its
border with Jordan this week in the area opposite Damia/Central Ghor,
according to a source from the Jordan Armed Forces Central Command.

The operation will begin at 8:00am on Sunday[13 Jan.] and end at 6:00pm on
Tuesday[15 Jan.]

==========
Sue Lerner - Associate, IMRA

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