Today NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has told reporters that he considers Assad’s defeat to be “only a question of time”. He said this after he and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced the deployment of two Patriot missile systems to Turkey’s border with Syria.
According to a U.S. official, pro-Assad forces have fired short-range Scud missiles at rebel groups, accusations which were later denied on the Syrian state TV.
This happened on the same day on which the Russian deputy Foreign Minister, Mikhail Bogdanov announced that Russia “cannot rule out the victory of the Syrian opposition”. He also mentioned plans for the evacuation of Russian citizens from the country. According to BBC’s Steve Rosenberg these comments are “significant”, since this is the first time that Russia has openly admitted the possibility of Assad being defeated by the Syrian opposition. This does not mean however that Russia has changed its official stance towards Syria.
According to the Japanese defense ministry Japan scrambled eight F-15 fighter jets after a Chinese government plane intruded in – what Japan considers to be – its airspace around the two disputed islands in the East China Sea, which are known as Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in Chinese. Japan’s chief cabinet secretary also told reporters that “Chinese government ships have entered our territorial waters for three days in a row” and stated that Japan has protested through “diplomatic channels”. Relations between the two countries have gone downhill ever since Japan bought the islands from a private Japanese owner.