News24

Turkey demands Syria safe havens

2012-08-31 09:43

New York - War-torn Syria's frustrated neighbour Turkey demanded that world powers set up refugee camps within the country to stem the massive outflow of refugees fleeing the fighting.

Syrian rebels, meanwhile, claimed to have downed a regime jet, underlining the mounting ferocity of the civil war as ministers met at the United Nations to seek ways to deal with a looming humanitarian catastrophe.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the UN Security Council to act "without delay" to set up safe havens, warning that 80 000 Syrians are already in camps in Turkey, with 4 000 crossing the border each day.

"How long are we going to sit and watch while an entire generation is being wiped out by random bombardment and deliberate mass targeting?" demanded Davutoglu, slamming the Security Council's failure to agree action on Syria.

"Let's not forget that if we do not act against such a crime against humanity happening in front of our eyes, we become accomplices to the crime."

Controversial

The opposition Syrian National Council also renewed its call for the Security Council to impose no-fly zones on Syria to even the odds on the battlefield, where only the regime has access to air power.

But France and Britain warned that the envoys meeting at UN headquarters in New York were unlikely to reach an agreement on safe zones, as this would imply authorising a highly controversial protective military operation.

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague held a joint news conference with France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to warn that there are "considerable difficulties" with the idea of protected enclaves for civilians.

"We are excluding no option for the future. We do not know how this crisis will develop," Hague said. "It is steadily getting worse. We are ruling nothing out; we have contingency planning for a wide range of scenarios.

"But we also have to be clear that anything like a safe zone requires military intervention and that of course is something that has to be weighed very carefully."

UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson warned that the calls for humanitarian corridors "raise serious questions and require careful and critical consideration".

The Security Council remains bitterly divided over how to deal with the 17-month-old conflict, which has split the country into warring pro- and anti-regime camps and which rights groups say has left 25 000 dead.

Tensions

But Russia and China have vetoed three separate draft resolutions which would have threatened sanctions to force the regime to the negotiating table, and would almost certainly block any outside intervention.

The conflict has also stirred tensions in the wider Middle East. Clashes have erupted in Lebanon between factions linked to Syrian groups, while Turkey and most Arab countries have lined up behind the rebels.

Iran, meanwhile, backs Syrian President Bashar Assad, as does the Lebanese Hezbollah militia.

Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi caused a storm on Thursday with a speech at a Non-Aligned Movement summit hosted by Syria's ally Tehran, slamming Damascus and urging support for the opposition.

"Our solidarity with the struggle of Syrians against an oppressive regime that has lost its legitimacy is an ethical duty, and a political and strategic necessity," the Egyptian leader said.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem accused Morsi of seeking to ignite further bloodshed, and ordered his delegation to walk out.

The director of the Tishrin military hospital in Damascus said more than 8 000 members of the security forces have been killed since the uprising against Assad's rule broke out in March 2011.

"I estimate that at least 8 000 soldiers and members of the security forces have been killed since the beginning of the crisis," the director said.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which says more than 25 000 people have been killed in the 17-month-old uprising, puts the figure of soldiers and members of the security forces killed at nearly 6 500.

Syrian activists have called for the usual Friday protests to be held this week under the banner of "Daraya, a flame which will not go out", after a massacre of hundreds of people in the town of Daraya last week.

Comments
  • sansagain.sansagain - 2012-08-31 09:57

    Wow, that is unbeleivable . Turkey supports rebels by weapons and in everything that causes a lot of refugee and yet they demand something.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-31 15:43

      Clearly, you have little to no idea what has been happening in Syria.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-08-31 19:57

      If Patrick agrees with you, based on what he is posting on this site, it's a dead-cert you're on the wrong track.

      sansagain.sansagain - 2012-09-01 06:48

      Thanks Patrick. Sure I understand it as I have first hand news from Syria and Turkey. And I got my experience not answer such narrow-minded and not honorable people like fred.frase and antony. Moreover I am not sure that they are real persons. By their very very uniform answers it seems they are bots.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-01 07:48

      Um, the refugees are there because their friends and families are being butchered by Assad. Shows how much you know. Are you suggesting the world do nothing ?

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-01 09:03

      Sanseagain,Sanseagain and again and again, Not only has your comment no truths in it, it is also plain childish. To suggest that because you are closer to Syria and Turkey, than say someone in JHB,and therefore ' have first hand news ' what is happening in Syria, is total ludricacy. If one has acces to the internet, and knows how to use it, one can be in Antartica, and have better knowledge to what is happening in Syria, than say someone 200 km from the Syrian border. And obviuos anyone outside of Syria, because of the strict Syrian media restrictions, has better knowledge to what is happening, than if you would be living in Damascus. So, if you really want to show how clever and informed you are : Try again and again !!!

  • duncan.gill1 - 2012-09-01 21:39

    One will agree that Syria's present leader and his party have not outlived their use for Syria and its another argument if they ever did really serve Syria well,but lets agree on one thing that what the international community overseer by the US are definitely overstepping the bounds of international law and for what reason..its seems they especially the US has a bone to pick with Assad due largely to his intransigence regarding US policy in the region for quite a long time now and this is not mentioning Hezbollah who he has supported since the first Israeli invasion of Lebanon,big time!So taking this into account it is hard for any rational person to think that this international effort against Syria is nothing more than a vendetta and this in turn shows us how low has world and international politics sunk..its not surprising that Russia and China raise up their objections to what is going on as they are impartial bystanders who see it for what it is!

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-01 21:57

      Dankie, Are you on drugs ?? ""but lets agree on one thing that what the international community overseer by the US are definitely overstepping the bounds of international law """""and for what reason"""""" Let me just remind you; That this assad terrorist daddy, a member of a tiny minority tribe, came to power by violence. That for FIFTY YEARS they have terorized the Syrian population. That this current assad thug; Fires rockets from his tanks ,into apartment blocks! Bombs unarmed civilians, standing in a que to buy bread, from aircraft! uses gunship helicopters to shoot with live amunition on unarmed mothers and children! And you want to know, WHY the West has a problem with this DOG ? Are you NUTS ?? It is only because the West has weak leadership at present, that this assad war criminal , is not yet hanging from a tree !!!

      duncan.gill1 - 2012-09-01 22:18

      Anthony you gotta calm down man this forum is for people to share their views..if you see someone committing a murder and you get a gun on them just after the act..does this justify your playing judge and executioner and blasting their heads off..well do this in the US and you will go to jail for a long time..probably escape the death penalty,but count on 15 years if you don't have the money to afford a good American lawyer..so Anthony is it so hard for you to understand that America and all its stogies are allowing themselves to do exactly this....and its ok!!!Hell they did it in Libya..and nobody liked Gaddafi so why not try again..I promise you they will not do it in Syria..even they know their limits and have the sense to realize the game is over..so here's my bet nobody will do anything about Syria and when the FSA finally realize that they will not get any help besides some arms and ammunition,they will sue for peace with Assad and the Syrian people will get their freedom on their own without any foreign interference,which will probably mean it will be a real peace not a fragmented divided country like Libya is today..read your papers bud!!!

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-02 00:03

      Dunkie believes: The unelected Chinese regime, run by a Politburo and with the worst human rights record of any country on Earth, and in the history of humankind, and The neo-Soviet Russian regime led by an ex-KGB officer who imprisons his poltical opponents, slants elections in his favor and who is arming the unelected Syrian dictator in his brutal attempt to hold onto unelected power are impartial bystanders. He also believes that the West, which is doing virtually nothing to help Syrians defend themselves, much to their chagrine, are involved in Syria and overstepping the bounds of international law. Talk about wishful thinking, distorted with anti-West prejudices.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-02 01:00

      Dunkie would leave without help the heavily outgunned Syrians and their families, and Libyans and their families, to the brutal, self-serving, unconscionable dictators mercilessly murdering, torturing and raping them. Sad. Tragic. Disconnected. Apathetic.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-02 01:00

      Naive.

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-02 01:02

      Delusional

      fred.fraser.12 - 2012-09-02 01:22

      What would he be thinking and saying if his family or friends had been raped, tortured and killed. In all probability he'd be shocked, traumatized out of his delusion into the real world, vibrant, emotional, demanding change, demanding action from the world. And rightly so, instead of these dissociated, apathetic, ineffective, heartless words.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-02 07:41

      Dankie, Ok, I have 'calmed down' The first part of your comment, I don't have a clue what you on about, besides that I am going to spend 15 years in an American jail.....!!!???!!!?? ""Hell they did it in Libya......"" Did WHAT in Libya ?? I agree with you, the Syrians, will get their freedom, without any foreign intervention. That is the reality at present, besides some rifles and night goggles, the Syrians are on their own. Coming back to Libya. It is very hard for supporters of dictators, psychopaths, tyrants and mass murderers, to accept that Libya has started a new future. One without TYRANNY and FEAR, and one without thousands of shallow unmarked graves, to one , with a just and decent society. The elections in JULY, where a few million proud Libyans went to the polls for the first time in decades, showed that Libya is not much divided. And all this CRAP about terrorist organisations, like Al-Quada, having such a strong foothold in Libya, showed that this was just silly childish talk by some arrogant, dumb, uneducated bullsh.tters !!! Are there still periodically violent outburst? Sure, there are, but here in SA, after 18 years of freedom, we also still have political violence (KZN !!) And all those MILLIONS of Libyans, who 'ADORED' and 'LOVED' this gaddafi fruitcake, have ALL evaporated into hot air.....! Sorry about that !!!!

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