Saturday, March 3, 2012

Turkey steps up rhetoric on Syrian 'massacre'

Rescued journalist tells of being abandoned in tunnel as China urges government and rebel to end all acts of violence

Peter Beaumont, Saturday 3 March 2012

"Turkey has called the violence in Syria "a crime against humanity" on the scale of the 1990s bloodshed in the Balkans, as a Red Cross convoy was once again barred from entering the Homs suburb of Baba Amr.

The comment by Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu follows similar remarks from the EU on Friday, which called for the documentation of war crimes in Syria.

"No government, no authority, under no circumstances, can endorse such a total massacre of its own people," Davutoglu said. "The international community must speak louder. The lack of international consensus is giving Syria the courage to continue."

The criticism came at the end of a week in which the UK and France closed their embassies in Syria, and China and Russia appeared to shift position in calling for President Bashar al-Assad's regime to admit UN humanitarian chief Valerie Amos.

"The situation in the field seems to resemble Sarajevo or Srebrenica. This seems to be the way we are heading," Davutoglu said at a joint news conference with Giulio Terzi, Italy's foreign minister. "We believe that diplomatic pressure on the Assad regime must be increased. We say this not only from the point of view of the EU. We believe all international institutions must do this."...."

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