Turkish prime minister deplores Syrian regime's crackdown
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned the Syrian regime's violent crackdown against protesters as as refugees continued to cross the border into Turkey, the semi-official Anatolia Agency reported Friday.
"Unfortunately, they do not behave humanely," said Erdogan, referring to the government of President Bashar al-Assad in a televised interview late Thursday. The crackdown was an "atrocity."
Erdogan's comments represent his harshest critique so far of the Syrian regime's crackdown on anti-government protesters that began in March, DPA reported.
Turkey, which shares an 820-kilometre-long border with Syria and the two countries had worked on improving political and economic ties in recent years, had previously shown more reluctance to criticize the Assad government.
Erdogan said Turkey would not close its borders to Syrians seeking refuge in Turkey, but that he did not know how long the situation could continue.
The number of Syrians who have fled to Turkey in recent days reached close to 2,800 as of Friday morning, Anatolia Agency reported.
That number is likely to increase due to the Syrian army's launch on Friday of operations to "restore security" in the northwest town of Jisr al-Shaghur, where the government says 120 security personnel were killed by "armed groups" earlier this week.