Turkey has `lost confidence in Syrian regime`

Turkey has warned Syria that it could become the Arab Spring`s next casualty.

Istanbul: Turkey said on Sunday it had lost confidence in the regime in Syria after months of trying to broker an end to the bloodshed there and warned it could become the Arab Spring`s next casualty.

"Actually (the situation in Syria) has reached a level that everything is too little, too late. We lost our confidence," Turkish President Abdullah Gul said.

"Everyone should know that we are with the Syrian people... What is fundamental is the people," he was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan echoed his President`s comments with a warning that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad`s regime could become the latest one to tumble in a string of revolts across the Arab world.

"A regime cannot survive by force, brutality, by shooting and killing unarmed people taking to the streets. The only solution is to silence arms immediately and listen to the demands of the people," Erdogan said in a televised address to the nation.

"We saw the end of those who did not choose this way in Tunis and Egypt, and now we observe with sorrow what is being lived in Libya," Erdogan said, stopping just short of calling for his departure.

Erdogan made a similar call to authorities in Yemen.

"We remind the Syrian and Yemeni governments of this truth, as we did before with the administrations in Egypt and Tunisia," he said.

"It is necessary to know how to take lessons and stop this merciless violence against civilians, who have no other intention but to voice their demands," he said.

Ankara, whose ties with Damascus have flourished in recent years, has repeatedly called on Assad to initiate reforms.

Meanwhile, about 150 Syrian dissidents based in Turkey gathered in downtown Istanbul on Sunday to protest against Assad`s regime, chanting slogans and brandishing banners in Arabic, Kurdish and Turkish.

The protestors, including women wearing black veils and headscarves and many children, chanted "Murderer Bashar get out of Syria" and "Bashar in his last days; we want the death penalty for him".

The group included many who had recently fled the bloodshed in their country.

"I am here to side with my people," said 21-year-old Kinddy Adday, who escaped the eastern Syrian city of Deir Ezzor a month ago with his family.

The United Nations says more than 2,200 people have been killed since anti-regime protests erupted in mid-March in Syria.

Yemen has been gripped by political turmoil since an uprising against the 33-year-old rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, now recovering from bomb blast wounds, erupted in January. Hundreds have died in battles between security forces and protesters, and between security forces and al Qaeda fighters.

Bureau Report

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