– Saudi Arabia and Qatar plan to provide arms to Syrian rebels despite the cautious approach advocated by the U.S. and European countries who fear that providing weapons could fuel a civil war and regional instability.
– The United States sees “no fracturing” of the Syrian regime and assesses that President Bashar al-Assad could remain in power for some time to come if the situation on the ground does not change.
– Syrian National Council leader Burhan Ghalioun announced yesterday he creation of a military council to tighten links with the loose network of army defectors also known as the Free Syria Army.
– A Red Cross aid envoy in Syria is preparing to enter the Baba Amro district of Homs after the Syrian government announced the area was “cleansed” following weeks of intensive shelling by the Syrian military and a withdrawal of rebel forces on Thursday.
– Energy Secretary Stephen Chu said yesterday that global oil producers appear to have enough spare capacity to make up for Iranian exports curtailed by new sanctions.
– Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urged Iranians o vote in large numbers as the country held parliamentary elections Friday, saying a high turnout would send a strong message to the enemies of the nation in the nuclear standoff with the West.
– Thirteen years after a NATO bombing campaign targeted Belgrade in response to “ethnic cleansing” in Kosovo, on Thursday, European Union (EU) leaders granted Serbia official candidate status to join the EU.
– A top Pentagon commander revealed that U.S. special forces are present in five South Asian countries, including a India, for counter-terrorism cooperation but the U.S. embassy in Delhi clarified that there were “no special forces stationed in India.” The spokesperson added that a unit from the U.S. 25th infantry division was in India to hold an exercise with Indian forces.