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INTERNATIONAL > Turkey, Arab states seek urgent steps to protect Syrians

RABAT - Agence France-Presse

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The Turkish-Arab talks came ahead of an Arab League meeting on the Syrian crisis in Rabat. AA photo

The Turkish-Arab talks came ahead of an Arab League meeting on the Syrian crisis in Rabat. AA photo

Turkey and members of the Arab League called Wednesday for "urgent measures" to protect Syrian civilians from violent repression by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

In a statement issued after a Turkish-Arab coooperation forum in Rabat, they also declared they were "against all foreign intervention in Syria".

"The forum declares that it is necessary to stop the bloodshed and to spare Syrian citizens from new acts of violence and killing, and demands that urgent measures are taken to ensure the protection of civilians," the statement said.

"Ministers also stressed the importance of Syria's stability and unity and the need to find a resolution to the crisis without any foreign intervention," it said.

The Turkish-Arab talks came ahead of an Arab League meeting on the Syrian crisis in Rabat amid growing signs the Assad regime is losing its grip on power with disaffected soldiers attacking a military base near Damascus.

The meeting is intended to discuss further measures against Syria which was suspended by the 22-member bloc last weekend after it failed to implement an Arab peace plan.

Syrian regime risks isolation over crackdown: Turkey

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime will be isolated by the Arab world if it does not halt the deadly crackdown on its own people, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said Wednesday.

"The cost for the Syrian administration of not fulfilling the promises it made to the Arab League is its isolation in the Arab world as well," Davutoğlu said at a meeting with Arab League foreign ministers.

"The Syrian administration should read the messages given by the Arab League, immediately put an end to the violence against its own people and open the way for an inevitable transformation process," he added.

"It is not possible for any administration to win the fight against its own people.

"Time is ticking against the Syrian regime. All the credit and hands extended to Syria thus far have been wasted."

Turkey, once a close ally of Syria, has become increasingly outspoken in its criticism of Assad's regime since the Syrian uprising began.

"A future cannot be built on the blood of the innocent, otherwise history will remember those leaders as the ones who feed on blood," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Tuesday.

Turkey has already announced a halt to joint oil exploration with Syria and has threatened to cut electricity exports there.

November/16/2011

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