Turkish borders to remain open to fleeing Syrians: PM

Turkish borders to remain open to fleeing Syrians: PM

KILIS, Turkey - Agence France-Presse
Turkish borders to remain open to fleeing Syrians: PM

AA Photo

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan vowed today to keep his country's borders open to refugees fleeing a bloody crackdown on dissent in neighbouring Syria.

"God willing, a new process will begin in Syria ... sooner or later," Erdoğan told a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Gaziantep near the Syrian border.

"Until the will of the people comes to power in Syria, we will continue to defend the rights of our brothers coming from there, and to host and embrace them," he added.

The Turkish prime minister's remarks came shortly before he is due to visit the Kilis refugee camp bordering Syria, and which is one of several camps hosting some 23,000 Syrians who have sought refuge in Turkey.

The camp was target of controversy when ricocheting bullets from crossfire between Syrian troops and rebel forces wounded four Syrians and two Turks in early April. Two of the wounded Syrians later died, witnesses had told AFP.

Turkey, once a strong ally of Syria, broke with Damascus after Bashar al-Assad's regime began cracking down on dissent in mid-March last year.

More than 11,000 people have perished in the violence, activists estimated.

Turkey, border, Syria