Syrians being 'fed with fears'

2012-05-12 22:00

Tallinn - Turkey's ambassador to Syria said on Saturday the people of that country were being "fed with fears" about their fate should Bashar Assad's regime fall.

Speaking at the Lennart Meri Conference in the Estonian capital Tallinn, ambassador Omer Onhon decried conditions for the majority of Syrians, who he said have been led to believe the only alternative to Assad's authoritarian regime is civil war and religious radicalisation.

"Syrian people are fed with fears by their regime and need to be assured by (the) international community that the change of regime will not make things worse," Onhon said.

Although Turkey has spoken out against military intervention in its neighbouring country, Onhon also said that could change if life becomes unbearable for a critical mass of Syrians.

"We are strongly against any military intervention in Syria, but if we find one day 200 000 people from Syria at our borders, something should be done," Onhon said.

Turkey currently shelters about 26 000 Syrians who have fled the violent crackdown in their country.

Since Syrians rose up against Assad last year, more than 12 000 people have been killed, most of them civilians, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has said.

Hundreds have died since a supposed ceasefire was implemented last month.

The Tallinn conference was also attended by Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and several international foreign policy experts.

"If the Syrian regime goes, there will be some kind of rocky turbulence for some time," Bildt said.

The Lennart Meri Conference is named after the writer, filmmaker and diplomat Lennart Meri who was Estonian president in the 1990s and died in 2006.

Read more on:    bashar assad  |  turkey  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings

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