London: Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayipp Erdogan has stepped up pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, saying that his government was on a “knife-edge” and that Ankara was suspending joint oil exploration and considering stopping electricity supplies to its neighbour.
“Our wish is that the Assad regime, which is now on a knife-edge, does not enter this road of no return, which leads to the edge of the abyss,” The Telegraph quoted Erdogan, as saying.
“No regime can survive by killing or jailing. No one can build a future over the blood of the oppressed,” he added.
Erdogan warned Assad that the brutal crackdown threatens to place him on a list of leaders who “feed on blood”.
A foreign policy adviser to the Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, seemed to confirm that a buffer zone might only now need approval from other neighbours, which looks more likely following the Arab League vote.
“The protection of civilians is certainly very important. But what matters is an international resolution on the issue. It seems out of the question for us to do that on our own,” the adviser said.
The situation in Syria itself has dramatically worsened since the Arab League suspension.
This is the first time; a senior Turkish official openly discussed the possibility of imposing a buffer zone on the Syrian side of the border to give sanctuary for refugees.