Middle East News

  • Pope says he angered Merkel with comments on Europe

    Pope Francis has revealed that he received an angry phone call from German Chancellor Angela Merkel after he compared Europe to a "barren woman", in an interview published Monday. In an interview with Italy's Corriere della Sera, Francis said he had received an angry phone call from Merkel…

    AFP32 mins ago
  • Turkey's Erdogan threatened to flood Europe with migrants: Greek website

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan threatened in November to flood Europe with migrants if European Union leaders did not offer him a better deal to help manage the Middle East refugee crisis, a Greek news website said on Monday. Publishing what it said were minutes of a tense meeting last November,…

    Reuters
  • Saudi offer to send troops to Syria comes with uncertainty

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Saudi Arabia's offer to send troops to fight Islamic State in Syria is as much about the kingdom's growing determination to flex its military might as it is about answering U.S. calls for more help from its allies in the Middle East.

    Associated Press
  • Call for responsive governments at Dubai summit amid turmoil

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders called on governments to be responsive to and inclusive of their citizens at a conference in Dubai on Monday, as the unrest of the Arab Spring reverberates across the Middle East.

    Associated Press
  • Dutch step up border controls as migrant flows continue

    The Netherlands has stepped up the monitoring of traffic crossing its frontiers, a government minister said on Monday, as countries across Europe move to tighten border controls in response to an unprecedented migration crisis. The move follows a decision last September to deploy mobile border…

    Reuters
  • Controversial minister to become Australia's rights envoy

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The former Australian immigration minister who began the widely condemned policy of sending asylum seekers to Pacific island detention camps will become Australia's first special envoy for human rights, the government said Monday.

    Associated Press
  • UK-bound Iranian migrants rescued from small boat in Channel

    Four Iranian migrants making a rare attempt to reach Britain by boat from France on Saturday were rescued in the nick of time after their vessel took on water and was close to capsizing, officials said. Rescuers were only alerted after one of the migrants made it back to the beach at Sangatte in…

    AFP
  • Aniseh Makhlouf, mother of Syria's Assad, dies

    BEIRUT (AP) — Aniseh Makhlouf, Syria's former first lady and the mother of current President Bashar Assad, died Saturday, the presidency announced. She was 86.

    Associated Press
  • The Latest: Attackers torch refugee center in Prague

    AMSTERDAM (AP) — The Latest on the flow of thousands of would-be refugees from the Middle East and elsewhere to Europe (all times local):

    Associated Press
  • Turkey must cut migrant flows to Europe, top EU official says

    By Robin Emmott AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Europe needs Turkey to dramatically cut the number of migrants reaching Greece within weeks or the pressure for more border closures and fences will grow, the EU's top official in charge of ties with Ankara warned on Saturday. Frustrated that refugees…

    Reuters
  • Rough seas, harsh winter, border limits add to migrant woes

    PRESEVO, Serbia (AP) — Rasul Orwani thought he had faced the worst after braving cold, rough seas in a rickety wooden boat to travel from Turkey to Greece, then came the Balkans.

    Associated Press
  • Syria rebels risk collapse after Russia-backed regime gains

    Syria's mainstream rebels risk total collapse after a Russian-backed regime advance that severed their main supply line to Aleppo city and threatens to leave them completely besieged there. Analysts said rebels and their international backers were left with few options to prevent fresh government…

    AFP
  • UN chief: 34 groups now allied to Islamic State extremists

    UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Thirty-four militant groups from around the world had reportedly pledged allegiance to the Islamic State extremist group as of mid-December — and that number will only grow in 2016, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a report Friday.

    Associated Press
  • Saudi won't dare send troops to Syria: Iran

    Saudi Arabia wouldn't dare send ground troops to war-torn Syria, the chief of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said Saturday, after Riyadh opened up the possibility of such a deployment. The Sunni-ruled kingdom, Iran's regional rival, has said it could "contribute positively" if the US-led…

    AFP
  • Thousands more Syrians rush toward Turkey to flee fighting

    BEIRUT (AP) — Thousands of Syrians rushed toward the Turkish border Friday, fleeing a fierce government offensive and intense Russian airstrikes near Syria's largest city of Aleppo.

    Associated Press
  • Pope, Russian Orthodox patriarch to hold historic meeting in Cuba

    By Philip Pullella VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Francis and the head of the Russian Orthodox Church will meet in Cuba next week in what could be a landmark step towards healing the 1,000-year-old rift between the Western and Eastern branches of Christianity. The Vatican and the Moscow…

    Reuters
  • France, Germany pile pressure on Turkey to stem migrant tide

    The massive flow of migrants into Europe must be slowed with the help of Turkey and better screening of asylum applicants on arrival on the continent, the interior ministers of France and Germany said Friday. Speaking in Athens, the ministers warned again of a real "danger" of Europe's Schengen…

    AFP