More Syria flow as Turkey eyes UN help

More Syria flow as Turkey eyes UN help

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
More Syria flow as Turkey eyes UN help

Roughly 2,500 Syrians have crossed into Turkey in the last 24 hours, the largest one-day total so far, bringing the total number to nearly 24,000, officials say. AA photo

Turkey has raised the alarm over the accelerating influx of Syrian refugees over its borders, urging the United Nations and the international community to step in if the trend continues.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu made an urgent telephone call to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on April 6 to implore the international body to become more active on the issue. Davutoğlu told Ban that Syrian military activity near the border with Turkey had increased and added that roughly 2,500 Syrians had crossed into Turkey in the last 24 hours, the largest one-day total so far.

The minister also said U.N. officials could come to observe the developments from the Turkish side of the border, a Turkish diplomat told the Hürriyet Daily News, adding that Syrian security forces, backed by helicopters, were carrying out operations in regions near Turkey. “I told Ban we expect an immediate initiative and an end to the clashes,” Davutoğlu told reporters on April 6. Turkey said there were now 23,835 Syrian refugees on its territory.

Red Crescent ready

Ankara “is seriously concerned” about the escalation of the crackdown against the Syrian opposition following initial “cautious optimism” for U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan’s plan, Davutoğlu said.

As the Syrian administration’s repression continues, people are trying to escape to neighboring countries, Davutoğlu said, noting that the situation was putting pressure on Turkey. Turkey has offered to shelter Syrian refugees since it cannot remain indifferent to their tragedy, he said. “The international community should also take a clear position on these refugees.” The Turkish Red Crescent, meanwhile, said it was ready to bring humanitarian aid into Syria if such an international call is made. The Turkish Red Crescent’s chairman, Ahmet Lütfi Akar, said his organization was unable to open a humanitarian aid corridor under its own initiative. “In the event that the U.N. or countries taking joint action with Turkey decide to open an aid corridor, the Turkish Red Crescent can enter Syria and extend humanitarian aid,” Akar told Anatolia news agency April 6.

A foreign intervention in Syria would be “wrong,” and the U.S., the EU and the U.N. should join forces to stop the bloodshed and force a political transition in Syria, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said April 6. Turkey’s main opposition party has also warned the government about its role in the Syrian crisis.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy chair Faruk Loğoğlu said April 6 that the government’s policies on Syria and Iran were dragging Turkey “not only into isolation in the region but also into a future of tension.”