'Coward' Assad must quit, says former ally
Damascus: Syria's Bashar al-Assad was branded a coward by his onetime friend and ally, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who urged him to quit or face a bloody death like other dictators.
The opposition Syrian National Council said, meanwhile, that it is already pressing ahead with plans for a conference together with the Arab League to prepare for a "transitional
period" after the fall of Assad's regime.
Assad is under mounting pressure from Syria's neighbours to step down over his regime's eight-month crackdown on protests that the United Nations says has killed more than 3,500 people.
Security forces killed 12 people today, including four boys in the flashpoint central province of Homs, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.
The boys -- aged 10, 11, 13 and 15 – were "indiscriminately" gunned down in the Hula area, it said in a statement.
Three other people, including a mentally ill man, were killed in Homs city, two more, including a deserter, were killed elsewhere in the province, and three brothers were killed in Idlib in the northwest, it said.
In his fiercest criticism yet of his former personal friend, Erdogan called on Assad to "quit power before more blood is shed... for the peace of your people, your region and