More Than 1,500 Syrians Flee To Turkey, Clinton Warns Against Escalation
June 24, 2011
More than 1,500 Syrian refugees crossed the border to Turkey over the past 24 hours, as the Syrian army swept up to the frontier in its campaign to stamp out antigovernment protests.
Turkey's state-run Anatolia news agency quoted the provincial government in Hatay on June 24 as saying that the total number of refugees registered at the temporary shelter camps had reached more than 11,700, compared with just over 10,200 a day earlier.
Most of the latest influx came from people who had set up makeshift camps just inside Syrian territory, but then fled once the army appeared.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, called on Syria to pull back troops from near the border with Turkey.
"It just is very clear to us that, unless the Syrian forces immediately end their attacks and their provocations that are not only now affecting their own citizens but endangering the potential of border clashes, then we're going to see an escalation of conflict in the area," she told reporters in Washington.
Syrians are fleeing across the border into Turkey to escape military forces that have been cracking down on the three-month-old opposition movement against the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
Turkey said the Turkish and Syrian foreign ministers had consulted about the situation by telephone.
compiled from agency reports
Copyright (c) 2011. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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