Turkey may take ′steps′ after Syria cease-fire deadline | News | DW | 08.04.2012
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Turkey may take 'steps' after Syria cease-fire deadline

Turkey's premier has said Ankara will wait to see whether the violence in Syria stops after a Tuesday deadline. Otherwise, his country, which has opened its borders to Syrian refugees, may take unspecified action.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that Ankara could take certain "steps," if Syria did not abide by the cease-fire deal brokered by UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan, which requires the government to pull out of towns and cities by April 10.

More than 24,000 Syrians had taken refuge in Turkey from the fighting by Saturday, he said, adding that the number was rising.

"We are taking measures for this, though we will not close the gates," Erdogan told reporters. "The United Nations, however, has to toughen its stance. In particular Kofi Annan has to hold firm. He announced a deadline of April 10. I believe that he should monitor the situation very closely."

Turkey has in the past vetted the idea of setting up a buffer zone on the Syrian side of the border. It said it would request UN assistance if the number of refugees continued to rise.

As the deadline approaches, the Syrian government and rebels accused each other of ramping up their assaults. The military reportedly killed more than 100 people, of whom at least 86 were civilians, on Saturday alone.

The UN estimates that more than 9,000 people have been killed in the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad's regime, which began more than a year ago.

ncy/ai (AP, Reuters)