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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Turkey May Set up Buffer zone at Syrian Border

RIA Novosti

19:54 15/03/2012

ANKARA, March 15 (RIA Novosti) - Turkey is considering the creation of a buffer zone at the Syrian border to support refugees fleeing the conflict-stricken country, Turkish deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay told the NTV channel on Thursday.

“A buffer zone will be considered, depending on how the situation develops,” Atalay said, adding that 1,100 people from Syria had fled to the Turkish Hatay province, on the border between the two countries over the last 24 hours

“Currently, there are more than 15,000 Syrian citizens in Turkey.” Atalay said.

Hundreds of Syrians are fleeing the city of Idlib, which was taken by government troops in a bloody fight that left dozens of people dead. This comes after a series of brutal massacres in the city of Homs, which is now under the control of the forces of President Bashar al-Assad.

A spokeswoman for the Istambul-based opposition Syrian National Council, Basma Kadmani expressed hope on Thursday that “Turkey would cooperate with other countries to set up a safety zone at the Syrian border in case Assad refuses to cooperate with Annan [UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan].”

Kofi Annan met with Assad in the Syrian capital, Damascus at the weekend, however, this did not ease the violence there.

According to UN estimates, more than 7,500 people have lost their lives since anti-government protests broke out in Syria last March, instigated by popular uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa.

Thursday marked one year since a wave of simultaneous demonstrations against Assad’s authoritarian rule took place in major cities across Syria on March 15, 2011.

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