Syria Refugees Will Not Be Turned Away, Says Turkish Prime Minister
Syria’s refugees will not be turned away from Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday as he expressed his sadness about the cross-border Syrian conflict, reports AFP.
Erdogan, whose criticism of President Bashar al-Assad's regime has been ever-increasing, also urged authorities in Damascus to practice more tolerance toward its civilians.
Around 120 Syrian refugees from the northwestern town of Jisr al-Shughur crossed over into Turkey late Tuesday.
Reprisals have been feared in Jisr al-Shughur after officials said 120 policemen had been killed there.
Speaking to reporters, Erdogan said that there were no plans to curb the flow of refugees crossing into southern Turkey.
"At this point, it is out of question for us to close the doors," Erdogan was quoted as saying by the Anatolia news agency, AFP reports.
Reiterating a call for the implementation of democratic reforms by Assad, he said, "The developments in Syria are really sad, we are following them with concern.”
"We wish Syria to be more tolerant to civillians and (further) the reform steps he has already taken, as soon as possible in a more convincing way,” Erdogan added.
Erdogan has traditionally enjoyed good relations with Assad but has pressured the Syrian leader in recent weeks to initiate a democratic transition.