In Focus | Syria

Turkey warns Syria of more forceful response

War toll mounts to 33,082, rights group says

  • Gulf News Report
  • Published: 00:00 October 14, 2012
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AP
  • In this photo provided by Turkish Prime Minister's Press Service,Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, right, and Arab League Secretary General Nabil al Arabi shake hands before a meeting in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012.

Dubai: Turkey will retaliate without hesitation if its border with Syria is violated again, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Saturday.

Turkey’s armed forces have repeatedly responded in kind over the past few weeks to gunfire and shelling spilling across the border from Syria and have warned of a more forceful response if the violence is not contained.

Earlier, Turkey’s prime minister sharply criticised the UN Security Council for its failure to agree on decisive steps to end the 19-month civil war in Syria that has killed at least 33,082 people, most of them civilians.

Some 1,000 people have been killed in the past five days alone, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group said.

“This is all-out war — there is no other way to describe the violence in Syria,” Observatory director Rami Abdul Rahman said.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan told an international conference in Istanbul that the world was witnessing a “humanitarian tragedy” in Syria.

“If we wait for one or two of the permanent members ... then the future of Syria will be in danger,” said Erdogan.

Davutoglu was expected to meet UN special envoy Lakhdar Brahimi on the sidelines of the conference later.

Brahimi will visit Baghdad on Monday for talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki over the 19-month uprising in Syria, Al Maliki’s spokesman said on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi visited Qatar in the past week to discuss the fate of 48 Iranians kidnapped by rebels in Syria, a deputy foreign minister said on Saturday, according to Iran’s Fars news agency.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hussain Amir-Abdollahian did not say who Salehi met while in Qatar.

On the ground, Syrian rebels blocked army reinforcements advancing towards the town of Maaret Al Numan which has been under rebel control for nearly a week. In its bid to retake the town, strategically located in the northwest on the road from Turkey to the embattled city of Aleppo, the army used warplanes to bombard Maaret Al Numan, killing two civilians and destroying three homes.

Some 40 military vehicles, including 10 tanks, four-wheel-drive vehicles with mounted machine guns and buses full of troops were waiting some 10 kilometres south of the town, rebel fighters told AFP.

Gulf News
A Syrian refugee at Boynuyogun Refugee Camp

Blog: Gulf News in Jordan

Behind the fence: The Syrian refugee crisis