World News Brief, Friday August 31

Syrian rebels claim to have shot down fighter jet; China to continue buying European debt; refugee boat with 150 passengers sinks off coast of Indonesia; 500,000 in Mali displaced by conflict; Greece close to agreeing to $17 billion in new austerity cuts; and more

Top of the Agenda: Syrian Rebels Claim to Shoot Down Fighter Jet

The Free Syrian Army rebel group today said it shot down a Syrian military fighter jet in Idlib province (al-Arabiya), near the Turkish border, while claiming to have destroyed military helicopters and tanks by the Tiftiaz military airport in Aleppo. The apparent attack comes as Syrian security forces continue a deadly assault on rebel strongholds throughout the country. Meanwhile, foreign ministers of member countries of the UN Security Council (al-Jazeera) are set to meet today to discuss the worsening humanitarian situation in Syria after eighteen months of conflict, though no new resolutions are expected.


Not only is the international community divided over Syria, but even those countries most supportive of the rebellion have not settled on a common strategy, while the disarray among the Syrian opposition further deepens disquiet over intervention. Whether by design or luck--or the failures of the opposition--the Assad regime may well have created a situation in which it survives for quite some time, even if in considerably diminished form," writes TIME's Tony Karon.

"Turkey has been one of the Assad regime's most vehement critics. As the number of refugees pouring across its borders has surged amid spiraling violence inside Syria--there are now more than 80,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey, according to the foreign ministry--the government in Ankara has pushed to make the refugee issue an international one," writes Newsweek's Mike Giglio.



China to Keep Investing in Europe

China plans to continue buying European government debt while coordinating more closely with the European Central Bank to help alleviate the ongoing eurozone sovereign debt crisis, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said during a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (WSJ) in Beijing today.

INDONESIA: A boat carrying more than 150 asylum-seekers bound for Australia (Australian) sank off the Indonesian coast, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. Search teams from Australia and Indonesia have rescued forty-five survivors thus far.



500,000 in Mali displaced by conflict

Greece closeto agreeing to $17 billion in new austerity cuts


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