Turkey says considering all options necessary in Syria crisis
Turkish foreign minister, whose country has been at the forefront of those calling for action against the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, said the international community needed to look at all options as the crisis in its southern neighbor unfolds, Today's Zaman reported.
"We cannot be silent when these humanitarian tragedies continue," Ahmet Davutoglu said in a news conference with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"At this moment we are talking on diplomatic and humanitarian steps to be taken. But for other scenarios, we hope that those things will not be needed but we need to think about contingencies as well," Turkish foreign minister said following his meeting with Clinton on Monday.
Clinton said in the news conference that the US backs the Arab League's latest plan for Syria, but sees challenges in winning UN approval for peacekeepers to halt the Syrian government's violent crackdown on protests.
Clinton discussed Syria with visiting Davutoglu, and agreed to discuss further steps at the inaugural meeting of a new "Friends of Syria" contact group in Tunisia on Feb. 24.
The Arab League on Sunday threw its support behind Syria's opposition and called for a joint UN-Arab peacekeeping force to quell the violence, boosting pressure on Russia and China which on Feb. 4 vetoed UN Security Council action on the crisis.
Clinton said the United States would work to tighten international sanctions on the government of Assad and seek ways to deliver humanitarian aid amid what she said was a "deplorable" escalation of violence by government forces.
"We have heard the call of the Syrian people for help and we are committed to working to allow the entry of medical supplies, of emergency help to reach those who are wounded and dying," Clinton said.
But she suggested that the Arab peacekeeper proposal would be tough to get through given Russian and Chinese support for Damascus.
"There are a lot of challenges to be discussed as to how to put into effect all of their recommendations and certainly the peacekeeping request is one that will take agreement and consensus," Clinton said.
"We don't know that it is going to be possible to persuade Syria. They have already, as of today, rejected that."