Syrian army take town, round up rebels, but thousands flee to Turkey; Vietnam outlines war policy over South China Sea; North and South Sudan agree demilitarisation of disputed border region; Greek debt downgraded to lowest level; and more
Top of the Agenda: Flight from Northwestern Syria
After taking the northwestern rebel town of Jisr al-Shughour yesterday, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's army rounded up hundreds (Reuters) of civilians in nearby villages before advancing toward Maarat al-Numaan, another anti-government stronghold in the province.
By official counts, nearly seven thousand Syrians have fled (WSJ) across the border into Turkey since the government began a renewed assault on a three-month pro-democracy uprising. Thousands more wait to cross over from the Syrian side.
The burgeoning refugee crisis, coupled with reports of deadly violence by the Syrian government, has led Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to publicly endorse European efforts to sanction Syria (al-Jazeera) with a UN Security Council resolution.
The unrest in northern Syria is also exposing sectarian tensions (NYT) between the Sunni Muslim majority and minority Alawite sect, of which Assad is a part.
On Foreign Affairs, Michael Bröning, Tony Badran, Mara E. Karlin, and Andrew J. Tabler discuss the increasingly brutal crackdown in Syria, the durability of the Assad regime, and the reaction of the US
The Guardian's Chris Doyle discusses the reasons why foreign intervention in Syria would not be welcomed as it was in Libya.
The FT's Gideon Rachman argues that the West's reluctance to intervene militarily in Syria--coupled with serious NATO deficiencies--will ultimately allow Syria to get away with its brutal crackdown.
PACIFIC RIM: Vietnam Issues Military Decree
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung issued an official decree outlining the country's military draft policy in the event of war, amid escalating tensions with China over the potentially oil-rich South China Sea. However, China claims it will not use force (BBC) to resolve the maritime dispute.
China: Inflation rose in May to a three-year high (Reuters) of 5.5 percent, prompting the country's central bank to raise bank reserve ratios for the ninth time since October. Inflation is a top priority for China, which is worried that rising prices could undermine its economy.