SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates - Agence France-Presse
Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is on a visit to United Arab Emirates. DHA photo
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that his country will "not remain silent" over Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's "crimes" against his own people.
"Every day a large number of innocent children and women fall dead in Syria," Erdogan said in a speech at the Government Communication Forum in the United Arab Emirates.
"We will not remain silent on those committing crimes against their people," he said.
"We will not remain silent on the brutal dictator in Syria," Erdogan added. "Some people are annoyed with the loud voices with which we confront world problems" but "we will not stay silent." Turkey's southern neighbour has been locked in a 23-months-long conflict in which the United Nations estimates over 70,000 people have been killed since an uprising began against Assad's regime.
Early in the revolt, Turkey broke ties with Damascus and led international calls for Assad's ouster. It has since backed the uprising by offering shelter to defectors from Assad's army and hosting opposition meetings. Some 200,000 Syrian refugees have fled the conflict in their country for Turkey, many of them living in insalubrious camps.
On February 15, Syrian state media reported that the Syrian government has sent a letter to the United Nations blasting Turkey's "destructive" role in the Syrian conflict.