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Britain's government should make a decision on where to build a new runway this summer, the transport minister said on Monday, dismissing concerns it could be further delayed by a referendum on the country's EU membership. Prime Minister David Cameron could reach a deal over Britain's ties with the European Union at a summit later this month, paving the way for a public vote on membership of the bloc as soon as June. Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin said on Monday he did not think a June referendum would derail the current timetable for making a decision on expanding either Heathrow, Britain's busiest airport, or Gatwick, its second-busiest.
By Suleiman Al-Khalidi and Humeyra Pamuk BEIRUT/ONCUPINAR, Turkey (Reuters) - The Syrian army advanced toward the Turkish border on Monday in a major offensive backed by Russia and Iran that rebels say now threatens the future of their nearly five-year-old insurrection against President Bashar al-Assad. "Our whole existence is now threatened, not just losing more ground," said Abdul Rahim al-Najdawi from Liwa al-Tawheed, an insurgent group. "They are advancing and we are pulling back because in the face of such heavy aerial bombing we must minimize our losses." The Russian-backed Syrian government advance over recent days amounts to one of the biggest shifts in momentum of the war, helping to torpedo the first peace talks for two years, which collapsed last week before they had begun in earnest.
By Humeyra Pamuk ONCUPINAR, Turkey (Reuters) - As the number of Syrian refugees now amassing on the Turkish border swells into the tens of thousands, Ankara's long-standing open door to migrants may be closing. An assault by Russian-backed Syrian government forces around the city of Aleppo has sent more than 30,000 people fleeing to the Turkish border gate of Oncupinar in the past few days, and officials say tens of thousands more could be on the move. The surge has created a bitter irony for Turkey.