Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Turkey will give refuge to Syrians

- Turkey on Wednesday opened its doors to refugees and urged Syrians to Damascus to stop violence against civilians, after thousands of people fled a village near the border for fear of a military assault. With public opinion in the West puzzled by the violence in Syria, Britain and France were preparing a Security Council resolution for the UN to condemn the repression of President Bashar al-Assad, but it seems that there is no consensus for military intervention.

The Syrian government has accused armed groups of killing dozens of security forces in Jisr al-Shughour and has promised to send the army to fulfill their "duty to restore national security." Tanks and troops were deployed near the city, prompting the flight of much of its 50 thousand inhabitants.

"We are monitoring the developments in Syria with concern," said Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who in the past has maintained warm relations with Assad. "Syria should change its attitude toward civilians and their attitude should lead to a more tolerant as soon as possible," he added.

Erdogan, who has distanced himself from Assad since the uprising began, said Turkey would not "close its doors" to refugees who escape from Syria. After mobilization of troops and the death of 120 security forces in a confusing episode appears increasingly likely the risk of escalating violence that has left more than 100 thousand killed since the popular revolt began three months ago .

Some 170 Syrians crossed the Turkish border on Tuesday, said the official Turkish news agency. Some wounded were taken to hospitals. Syrian residents indicated that most of those who escaped were left in villages inside Syria. Turkish villagers reported seeing Turkish troops and ambulances picking up Syrian who crossed the border earlier.

Adding the new crossing with the previous figures of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, nearly 500 Syrians have entered the country since March. France and Britain, allies in the war against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Wednesday proposed a Security Council resolution, UN Assad condemning the repression of the protesters, said British Prime Minister David Cameron.

"If somebody votes against the resolution or veto attempts should be on your conscience," he added. A draft resolution condemns the repression and demand humanitarian access, Cameron said from London. But it is still unclear what the Russian vote, which has veto power. Citing unfinished NATO bombing over Tripoli, Moscow says it will not support in the Security Council for military intervention against Syria.

Western diplomats said the latest draft will be presented at a meeting at 19:00 GMT, but do not expect a vote on Wednesday. The original draft resolution, which diplomats said was barely changed from last month, urging countries not to supply weapons to Damascus, but not for an arms embargo or other specific punitive measures.

At the same time, a senior European diplomat told reporters in Washington that European Union nations are preparing a third round of sanctions against Syria aimed against some of their companies. In Jisr al-Shughour, residents said they were seeking refuge and preparing for attacks. Rami Abdulrahman, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the soldiers had arrived in the villages around Jisr al-Shughour.

Residents said about 40 tanks and armored vehicles were seven miles of Jisr al-Shughour, now nearly empty, except for young demonstrators.

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