Assad envoy to holds talks with Turkish PM
An envoy of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was to hold talks on
Wednesday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has been
urging the Damascus regime to halt its crackdown on protesters.
Erdogan would host afternoon talks with Hassan Turkmani in Ankara on
"the developments in Syria", a government source told AFP. The Turkish
prime minister has traditionally enjoyed good relations with the Syrian
leader but he has been increasingly critical of the repression across
In a phone call to Assad on Tuesday, Erdogan urged him to "refrain
from violence and end the unrest", according to Turkey's Anatolia news
Erdogan last week accused the Syrian security forces of perpetrating
an "atrocity" with their treatment of the bodies of women protesters who
have been killed in the regime's efforts to quell revolt. Thousands of
Syrians have crossed over into Turkey in recent days, many of them
fleeing a major army operation in the town of Jisr al-Shughur, roughly
40 kilometres (25 miles) from the border.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was due to travel to the
Hatay region on Wednesday to inspect reception facilities for the
refugees and meet with Syrians crossing the border, Anatolia reported.
Davutoglu will also host a meeting on Thursday with Turkey's
ambassadors in Arab capitals to discuss the Syrian crisis and the impact
of the pro-democracy uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa.
Erdogan has said Turkey will "not close its doors" to the refugees.