France welcomes Syria ambassador
PARIS – France on Saturday welcomed a member of the Syrian opposition as the country’s ambassador, a bold bid to confer legitimacy on the week-old opposition coalition and encourage other Western nations to follow suit.
The new envoy, Mounzir Makhous, appeared before the press after talks at France’s presidential palace between President Francois Hollande and the head of the newly formed Syrian opposition coalition.
Saturday’s surprise announcement came even before the brand-new coalition has named its provisional government.
France recognized the coalition days after it was formed last Sunday – and so far is the only Western country to do so.
Turkish cameraman freed by Syrian captors
ANKARA, Turkey – A Turkish lawmaker says one of two journalists captured in Syria has been released by his captors and will return to Turkey. There was no news about the second journalist.
Cameraman Cuneyt Unal of Turkey and his colleague Bashar Fahmi – a Jordanian citizen of Palestinian origin – had been missing since August. They were believed to have been captured by Syrian government forces. Both were working for the U.S.-based Alhurra TV.
Opposition legislator Hasan Akgol said Saturday that Unal was in Damascus and would return to Turkey later in the day with a Turkish delegation that negotiated his freedom.
Pakistan struggles to develop drones
KARACHI, Pakistan – Pakistan is secretly racing to develop its own armed drones, frustrated with U.S. refusals to provide the aircraft, but is struggling in its initial tests with a lack of precision munitions and advanced targeting technology.
The development of unmanned combat aircraft is especially sensitive in Pakistan because of the widespread unpopularity of the hundreds of U.S. drone strikes against Taliban and al-Qaida militants in the country’s rugged tribal region bordering Afghanistan.