After a two-day blackout, internet services in the Damascus area have been restored. Reports over the last two days have pointed to instensified fighting, with helicopter gunships and warplanes bombarding rebel-held areas. Fighting is heaviest in the southeastern part of Damascus leading to the airport, where many flights were turned away or canceled in the preceding days. The US called the cut on communications a sign of desperation on the part of the Assad regime.
A NATO delegation visited Adana and Hatay provinces to conduct a survey for possible Patriot missile sites. Visits earlier in the week included a survey of Malatya province. Turkey has requested Patriot missiles from NATO in defense against rising violence along its border from Syria. Some incidents have included the shelling of Turkish territory by individuals in Syria. Syria, Russia, and Iran have claimed that fulfillment of Turkey’s request would cause further instability in the region.
One of the men injured by Israeli soldiers on Friday has died from his wounds. The man was part of a group of Palestinians that approached the border fence on Friday. Israel says that the Palestinians intended to vandalize the fence. The soldiers warned the Palestinians to leave but shot at their legs when they didn’t. The “no-go” zone–the 300 meters leading up to the Israeli border–has been a “testing ground” for the Nov. 21 truce brokered between Hamas and Israel. The truce is supposed to allow Palestinian farmers to return to their land in the area, while Israel has said it would allow them to do so as long as Palestinians do not attempt a cross-border strike.
North Korea is planning to test launch a long-range rocket later this month, between December 10 and December 22. The Unha-3 could be cover for testing technology that could later be used in intercontinental ballistic missiles. Those missiles could then be used to carry nuclear weapons. Like the failed rocket launch in April of this year, this launch will likely draw condemnation from the international community. Tension will also likely increase between North Korea and the US and its allies.