Turkish Prime Minister calls for humanitarian aid corridors into Syria
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan denounced the Syrian government's brutal crackdown on anti-regime protests, describing them as "inhumane savagery," and called for the immediate establishment of humanitarian aid corridors in Syria to help civilians, Today's Zaman reported.
Erdoğan, addressing his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in Parliament, also asserted that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad will be held accountable for what he has done, unlike his late father Hafez al-Assad, who ordered massacres in Sunni cities during his rule. "His father was not held accountable for his actions in this world. But his son will answer for the massacre," Erdoğan said. "The bloodshed in Syrian cities will not be left unaccounted for." Erdoğan, once a close ally of Assad, also said the Syrian regime should start implementing an Arab League plan, proposed in January. The plan calls on Assad to hand over power to a deputy and envisages the creation of a unity government as a prelude to early parliamentary and presidential elections in a plan compared to what happened in Yemen, where President Ali Abdullah Saleh agreed to hand over power after protests.
"Humanitarian aid corridors should be established immediately. The international community should impose pressure on the Syrian government so that aid can be delivered to the people of Syria, especially in Homs. The Arab League plan should be implemented without any more delay and further loss of lives," said Erdoğan.
The "Friends of Syria," a group of about 70 nations that gathered in Tunisia last month to discuss the situation in Syria, urged the Syrian authorities to allow "free and unimpeded access by the UN and humanitarian agencies" in areas worst hit by the conflict.
There has been talk of creating humanitarian aid corridors to help the Syrian population via alternative routes, including one running from the Turkish-Syrian border. However, there are concerns that Syria will not allow the establishment of such corridors, making a sort of military intervention necessary.
Facing intense international pressure to grant access for aid, Syria allowed the International Committee of the Red Cross to enter some neighborhoods of the battered city of Homs, but the aid group said on Monday that it could not get clearance from authorities to enter the hardest-hit district of Baba Amr.
Also on Monday, UN humanitarian affairs chief Valerie Amos said the Syrian government had agreed to allow her to visit the country later this week after previously refusing to let her into the country at the expense of sharp international criticism.
Erdoğan also criticized lack of international action against Syria, a criticism that appeared to be directed at Russia and China, which vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling on Assad to leave power. "I am calling on the countries that remain silent on massacres in Syria and the international organizations that are unable to produce a solution: A single drop of an innocent child's blood is above every strategy," he said.