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Syrian regime`s actions equal war crimes: Turkey

Last Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 14:17

Davos: The Syrian regime`s bombardment of its citizens should be declared a war crime and aid groups must be given greater access to the millions who are suffering there, Turkey`s foreign minister said on Thursday at the World Economic Forum.

Syria has seen a new rise in violence in recent weeks, including a government rocket attack today in the two-year-old conflict which the United Nations says has killed more than 60,000 people.

"There should be a clear signal to the Syrian regime that what they have been doing, bombarding cities by airplanes, is a war crime," Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, adding that he expected the UN Security Council to step in "to stop this bloodshed".

"People are dying in Syria... How long will we wait?... The silence of the international community is killing people," he added.

The world has been grappling with how to deal with the Syrian war ever since protests against President Bashar Assad erupted in March 2011. But beyond calls and symbolic gestures such as last fall`s recognition by many countries of the opposition as the legitimate government of Syria, there has been no intervention on the ground.

Russia has given Assad`s embattling regime significant diplomatic cover - which has of late has been eroding - and there has been widespread reluctance in the West about arming the rebels due to concerns about the influential role of anti-Western jihadi elements in the rebellion.

Davutoglu said at the very least the world community should set up humanitarian access to cities inside Syria like Homs and Hama, which so far aid workers have found largely unreachable.
Davutoglu said one possibility was setting up a no-fly zone but another alternative would be "a clear decision by the UN Security Council declaring this a war crime and taking this to international justice".

He said Turkey was housing 1,60,000 Syrians in 16 refugee camps and up to 70,000 others in its cities, and had spent USD 500 million on housing, food, education and health services.


First Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013 - 14:17
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