Last Updated: Sat Apr 14, 2012 14:48 pm (KSA) 11:48 am (GMT)

Syrian foreign minister accuses Turkey of plotting attack on camps in letter to U.N.

Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has accused the Turkish authorities of conspiring against Syria and plotting the attacks on refugee camps. (Reuters)
Foreign Minister Walid Muallem has accused the Turkish authorities of conspiring against Syria and plotting the attacks on refugee camps. (Reuters)

In a letter addressed to the U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid Muallem wrote that the latest attacks on the Syrian-Turkish borders were part of the “plot conducted by the Turkish government against Syria.”

In his letter, a response to a letter by Turkish ambassador to the U.N. in which condemned Syria’s violations of territory, Muallem said it was part of the Turkish strategy to support and shelter “terrorist groups that enter Syrian territories, attack civilians and destroy the infrastructure.”

Muallem said that Turkey’s “permission to grant armed groups use of its territories to launch attacks on a neighboring country is considered an assault” and should be condemned by the U.N. General Assembly.

Muallem also accused the Turkish authorities of conspiring with “armed groups” to “terrorize civilians at the borders and force them to flee into Turkey so as to create a refugees’ crisis and then request human corridors and a buffer zone be implemented.”

The Syrian foreign minister asks the U.N. chief as well as the international community to condemn what he calls Turkish violations and “interference in Syrian affairs, and to take the necessary measures to halt Turkey’s assault on Syria.”

Earlier this week, shooting from the Syrian side of the border wounded four Syrians and two Turks on Turkish soil.

“It was a very clear violation of the border,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said. “Obviously we will take the necessary measures.”

Around 25,000 Syrian refugees are currently housed in camps in Turkey’s three provinces bordering Syria, where civilians have been fleeing the government’s deadly repression of pro-democracy protests for more than a year.

Turkey maintains an open-door policy toward all Syrians escaping President Bashar al-Assad’s crackdown but refuses to call them refugees to emphasize the temporary nature of their asylum on its territory.

Fleeing Syrians are mainly housed in camps near the border, while authorities have kept ready additional accommodation in Sanliurfa province, located about halfway along the 910 kilometer (560 mile) Turkish-Syrian border.

Ankara, a former ally to Damascus, cut off contact with Assad and voiced support for the Syrian opposition and rebels after its calls for an immediate halt to bloodshed went unheeded by the regime.

(Written by Rana Khoury)

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