Turkey threatens military incursion into northern Syria

Friday, March 16, 2012
By Paul Martin

Turkey threatened to launch a military incursion into northern Syria after refugees fleeing alleged massacres by pro-Assad forces poured across its frontiers.

By Adrian Blomfield
15 Mar 2012

The warning came as the Arab Red Crescent predicted that as many as 500,000 Syrian civilians could seek refuge in Turkey as government forces widened an offensive in the border province of Idlib, a stronghold of the rebel Free Syrian Army.

Turkey has said in the past that a fresh surge of refugees would make it necessary to create a safe area within Syrian territory to protect civilians.

Besir Atalay, Turkey’s deputy prime minister, on Thursday said the move, which was considered but rejected last year, was again being contemplated.

Giving impetus to renewed calls for some kind of limited military intervention, Syrian human rights activists claimed that 23 mutilated corpses had been discovered near the city of Idlib, which fell to President Bashar al-Assad’s forces earlier this week.

The victims, who had been blindfolded and handcuffed before being shot, bore the marks of “extreme torture”, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

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