At a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu made a call for camps to be created inside Syria for refugees fleeing the country's 17-month war.
As many of 4,000 refugees are fleeing Syria and heading into Turkey every day, and Davutoglu said his country is having "serious difficulty" keeping up. More than 80,000 refugees have already entered Turkey, and another 10,000 are waiting at the border.
"The UN should initiate the establishment of [internally displaced persons] camps within Syria without delay. Needless to say these camps should have full protection," Davutoglu said.
"The scale of the tragedy is growing so out of proportion that Turkey finds it increasingly difficult to cope with the ensuing challenges all by itself."
Turkey's plea was met with a lukewarm response at the UN. Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson said that Turkey's proposal "raises serious questions and requires careful and critical consideration."
Antonio Guterres, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, added that experience has shown "that it is rarely possible to provide effective protection and security in such areas."
In a joint news conference with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said that while no option was being taken off the table, the safe zones for refugees would require much deliberation.
"We also have to be clear that anything like a safe zone requires military intervention and that of course is something that has to be weighed very carefully," he said.
Egypt takes a side
Meanwhile, comments made by Egyptian President Mohammad Morsi at a summit of non-aligned countries in Tehran have put his country on the side of the rebels in the Syrian conflict.
On Thursday, Morsi said his country had a "moral obligation" and "political necessity" to show "solidarity with the Syrian people against a regime that lost its legitimacy."
His comments prompted the Syrian delegation to walk out of the meeting. Egypt is now at odds with Iran as well, which has lent its support to Assad's regime in Syria.
However, after the meeting, Ahmadinejad issued a statement in which Morsi was quoted as saying that the Syrian crisis could only be resolved "with the help of influential countries in the region like Iran."
mz/ccp (dpa, AFP, Reuters)