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Erdoğan will bring Syria’s usage of chemical arms up during his US visit as clashes with refugees on the border kill a police officer

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Smoke rises after shelling on al-Turkman mountains in the Latakia province, western Syria on April 25, 2013. The Syrian government has used chemical weapons against rebels, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said. The White House has also said that Syria had likely used chemical weapons against rebel forces on a "small scale." Prime Minister Erdoğan says he will discuss the usage of chemical weapons with US President Obama. AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA

Smoke rises after shelling on al-Turkman mountains in the Latakia province, western Syria on April 25, 2013. The Syrian government has used chemical weapons against rebels, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said. The White House has also said that Syria had likely used chemical weapons against rebel forces on a "small scale." Prime Minister Erdoğan says he will discuss the usage of chemical weapons with US President Obama. AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL MEDINA

The Syrian government has used chemical weapons against rebels, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said, adding that he would discuss the issue with U.S. President Barack Obama during his upcoming visit to Washington. “We will discuss the use of chemical weapons during the meeting with President Obama,” Erdoğan told Japanese daily Nikkei.

Erdoğan also discussed the latest developments in Syria with British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President François Hollande over the phone late May 2, the office of the prime minister has said.

Meanwhile, a Turkish police officer was killed and 11 others were injured in a clash between Syrians who wanted to cross the border and security forces in the southeastern district of Akçakale.

“Some 1,000 Syrians wanted to cross the Akçakale border gate without passports, but security forces would not allow them to do so. When they were sent back, they started to throw stones and started a fire in our offices at the buffer zone, but we managed to extinguish it,” Akçakale Mayor Abdulhakim Ayhan said, adding that the group had been dispersed after the incident.

“We pulled out, thinking the incident was over but then they started to fire bullets. Now it is calm but there is unease in the district.”

The group believed to be smugglers clashed with the Turkish police at the buffer-zone, and the bullets fired by the Syrians ricocheted into the Turkish side, a Turkish official said on condition of anonymity.

The assailants used long-barreled rifles, according to officials. Three policemen, five soldiers and four civilians were wounded, and security was beefed up after the incident. One police officer, who was critically wounded, died later.

Erdoğan will meet with Obama in Washington on May 16. Obama said April 30 there was evidence that chemical weapons had been used during Syria’s two-year conflict, but that it was not yet known how the chemical weapons were used, when they were used and who used them.

‘Opposition dominates on land’

The usage of chemical weapons in Syria would be a “game-changer” for the entire international community, not just the United States, the president said, bolstering the argument that use of chemical weapons in Syria as a “red line” for Washington.

“We are taking the necessary precautions as we have received unconfirmed information on the use of chemical weapons,” Reyhanlı Mayor Hüseyin Şanverdi told Reuters.

“So far I have not received confirmation from medical institutions but there is a possibility that the weapons were used and we have to act with caution in case,” he said.

Erdoğan also assessed the situation on the ground. “The opposition dominates on land, but al-Assad uses chemical weapons, war planes and helicopters. The only field the regime is superior in is in air-backed operations. The regime is living its final moments, but we don’t know when it will topple. This is a situation that will happen suddenly,” the prime minister said.

Fighting in Syria, now entering its third year, has intensified in the last month with government forces attempting to roll back rebel advances. Some 70,000 people have now been killed in the civil war.

May/03/2013

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mara mcglothin

5/6/2013 5:53:20 PM

ILKER Some of us have simply learned that good deeds rarely go unpunished like in Iraq. Everyone is crying about the evil USA. You can't have it both ways. VARGEN Didn't you know that all the World's ills are perpetrated by the West? Regardless of what we did in the past, I say no more interference. Let the ME take care of their own, IF they can stop fighting among themselves for even a moment. I am not optimistic.

Baris

5/4/2013 9:23:46 PM

So, Vargen Vargen, what you're saying is your earlier statement "Erdogan did not allow US to use Turkish land when they left Iraq" is not quite correct. You could have made your point regarding the "west haters", etc., without making it look like Erdogan (some will see this as Turkey) is an enemy of the West. He has many faults and deserves criticism for those faults, but some people blame him and Turkey for everything under the sun, and that's not fair.

ilker avni

5/3/2013 11:55:03 PM

According to New York Times Israel is watching closely how Obama reacts to Syria to see any clues on how he will react to Iran,weither he would use boots on the ground,and use Syria as a stepping stone to invade Iran .

Vargen Vargen

5/3/2013 11:04:11 PM

Baris. What happened when US wanted to withdraw was that they requested permision, but the administrative issues in Turkey were slow and many were relucatant and US did not want to wait and went for other solutions. But it is still striking that the "west haters" here at the forum hates US with equal intensity regardless if the DO get involved (as Afghanistan, Kuwait, Iraq) or if they DONT. The same haters do not seem to believe that the countries in the region have any responcibility.

Not Here

5/3/2013 9:08:08 PM

"a Turkish police officer was killed and 11 others were injured" is a serious matter. Who invited them to come here and make problems including killing Turks? Something needs to be done soon. Step up.. stop waiting for the Americans to do something. You damn the Americans if they do, and damn then when they don't. Try to be part of a solution.

ilker avni

5/3/2013 7:47:03 PM

@ mara Thats typical comeing from you and Americans unless its in your own interest you can sit back and watch,while denying the Syrians they basic human rights to self defence,we saw the same in Bosnia,untill the shame of concentration camps and the rapeing shamed the Europeans and America to finaly do some thing thanks in part to Mr Blair.Accprding to your logic mara you would have allowed the nazis to carry on gasing Jews WW11 America should have stayed out and let them carry on.mmmmm

Baris

5/3/2013 6:08:23 PM

That's right, Mara, on the way in, not on the way out as Vargen was implying. Leaving aside the 2003 invasion being based on false evidence, hence possibly being illegal, and costing the Iraqis and the Americans dearly, the decision to not let the invasion take place through Turkey was a democratic one. It required the parliament's concession which was not given. However, Turkey allowed the use her territory and the American bases on its soil for logistics support and troop rotation.

mara mcglothin

5/3/2013 5:48:39 PM

Yeah BARIS What about on the way in to Iraq. I clearly remember Turkey not allowing us to use our own bases, that supply a lot of money to the areas where they are built????

mara mcglothin

5/3/2013 4:37:29 PM

Can't have it both ways ILKER . YOu come on a daily basis to trash the "West" and now we are needed? Let the ME take care of the problem, afterall, the peopleo of Syria for the most part are their "brothers". Right?

mara mcglothin

5/3/2013 4:35:45 PM

I do believe that RTE will have a hard time convincing anyone in America of anything. We are also a bit gun shy. I would guess that we would have to see gruesome shots coming out of Syria similar to the ones coming out of N Iraq when Sadaam was using chemical weapons. You don't need hospital tests to prove the use of chemical weapons, AND EVEN then I don't know it the America people will back any intervention this time. How did it work for us in the past? SPot on VARGEN.
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