Foreign Minister to Assad: Ankara poses no harm to Syria
ANKARA / DAMASCUS
A Syrian Muslim cleric stands next to mourners praying over coffins during the mass funeral of 44 people killed in blasts. AFP photoTurkey suffered from the gathering of Iraq’s opponents in other countries, said Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu when responding to criticism of Turkey’s hosting Syrian opposition.
“We paid the price of Iraqi oppositions’ gathering in other countries in later Iraq policies. It took time to develop social relations with Iraq after 2005,” said Davutoğlu, adding that the gathering of the Syrian opposition in Turkey did not mean an intervention into the country’s internal issues. He said he told Syrian President Bashar al-Assad it was better for Syria that opposition gathered in Turkey because later on Syria “knows that Turkey poses no harm to them.”
Davutoğlu also said, “If we had a sectarian approach, we would not have had a great relationship with Bashar al-Assad all these years. Our approach toward Syria has not changed because of Assad’s sect, but rather he changed his own approach toward his own people.” Meanwhile, Turkey condemned Dec. 24 two deadly bombings against Syrian security forces in Damascus, saying it considered the attacks “terrorism.”
Syrian dissidents call for UN role to end crisis
The Arab League must bring the U.N. into the effort to stop Syria’s bloody crackdown on protesters, the top opposition leader said yesterday, as security forces pressed ahead with raids and arrests around the country.
Burhan Ghalioun, the Paris-based leader of the Syrian National Council, made the plea as Arab League officials were setting up observer teams.Ghalioun said, “I call upon the Arab League to ask the Security Council to adopt its plan in order to increase possibilities of its success and avoid giving the regime an opportunity not to carry out its obligations.” He said the opposition council “holds the international community to its responsibilities and asks them to use all available means to put an end to the tragedies.” “The barbaric massacre must stop now,” Ghalioun said. The Arab League has begun sending observers into Syria. Meanwhile, the opposition Syrian National Council appealed yesterday for the Arab League to immediately send observers to the besieged city of Homs and other hotspots of a bloody crackdown on dissent. “Since early this morning, the (Homs) neighborhood of Baba Amro has been under a tight siege and the threat of military invasion by an estimated 4,000 soldiers,” the SNC said.
Compiled from AFP, AA and AP stories by the Daily News staff.