Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

France's top consumer group sues Internet giants

Read more

WEB NEWS

Web users pay tribute to South Korea ferry victims

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

  • Why Syria’s cash-strapped jihadists let hostages go

    Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • The Great War's unsung four-legged heroes

    Read more

  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken South Korean ferry

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • Curfew call after deadly clash at Ukraine checkpoint

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • In pictures: Good Friday celebrated across the globe

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

Middle east

Turkey asks UN for refugee camps inside Syria

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-08-31

Turkey called on the UN Security Council Thursday to create refugee camps in Syria, warning it could no longer cope with the more than 80,000 people who have fled the unrest. The UN remains deeply divided over what action to take in the conflict.

AP - Turkey appealed to a reluctant U.N. Security Council for a safe haven for thousands of Syrians facing a “humanitarian disaster” as Britain and France said they would rule out no options -- including a no-fly zone -- to aid residents fleeing an escalating civil war.

Turkish leaders, however, held out little hope Thursday for the endorsement of a deeply divided council that has been paralyzed on taking action to stop the 18-month uprising that has killed more than 20,000 people.

Fabius, Hague express doubts over safe zones

Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague and France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius highlighted the military and diplomatic hurdles blocking special zones ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on Syria's humanitarian crisis. Fabius also said "large-scale" military resources had to be found to protect refugees but said the conflict was almost certain to worsen and "then we will have to look at the different solutions."

Source: AFP
 

“How long are we going to sit and watch while an entire generation is being wiped out by random bombardment and deliberate mass targeting?” asked Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. “Let’s not forget that if we do not act against such a crime against humanity happening in front of our eyes, we become accomplices to the crime.”

Davutoglu, whose country is hosting more than 80,000 Syrian refugees, said he came to the council with hope that its members would take “long overdue steps” to help suffering people and establish camps inside Syria for those forced to flee their homes.

“Apparently, I was wrong about my expectations,” he told the council. “This meeting will not even end with a presidential or press statement, let alone a robust resolution.”

The path to the council’s agreement on a safe zone for Syrians is fraught with obstacles, headed by the reluctance of Russia and China, Syria’s most important allies. They have vetoed three Western-backed resolutions in the Security Council seeking to pressure President Bashar Assad’s government with the threat of sanctions.

Moscow and Beijing were highly critical of the no-fly zone established by NATO to protect civilians during last year’s Libyan revolt against longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi, saying its enforcement went beyond the Security Council mandate. Western diplomats said enforcing the zone required taking out Libya’s air defenses and attacking tanks and military vehicles that posed threats to civilians.

Russia and China, Syria’s most important allies, have vetoed three Western-backed resolutions in the Security Council seeking to pressure Assad’s government. They vehemently oppose any threat to Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. In addition, Russia has a military base in Syria. There are also serious political differences among council members. While the U.S., its European allies and other members say Assad must go, Russia and China oppose any effort to replace him that doesn’t have the support of the Syrian people.

Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari accused unnamed Security Council powers of “promoting imminent military intervention under humanitarian pretexts.”

“It is clear that certain states do not see the issue of humanitarian aid any way other than as part of a biased political agenda,” he said.

The humanitarian crisis in and around Syria

Before Thursday’s meeting, Britain and France announced new funding for refugees and left open the possibility of more aggressive action, including a military-enforced no-fly zone to protect a safe area for those fleeing the war.

“We are not ruling out any options for the future,” Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague told a news conference.

Hague said safe zones should remain an option, although he didn’t say when they might be seriously considered.

“We do not know how this crisis will develop ... over the coming months. It is steadily getting worse,” Hague said. “We are ruling nothing out, and we have contingency planning for a wide range of scenarios.”

Britain and France are veto-wielding members of the Security Council as well as key NATO members. Asked whether the options would include a NATO-enforced no-fly zone, without Security Council authorization, Hague said, “We are not ruling out any options.”

A U.N. diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, said the U.S. had consultations with Turkey on its safe zone proposal and the Americans, British and French are skeptical about the feasibility of NATO establishing such a zone, so “for the time being, nobody is there yet.”

In his speech, the Turkish minister told the council that that the camps established for fleeing Syrians inside the country “should have full protection.”

Davutoglu also called on the council to visit refugee camps in neighboring countries, to adopt a unified response to stop the indiscriminate bombing of residential areas, and to solve the issue of Syrians displaced from their homes and trapped within the country.

Davutoglu mentioned examples of “the cost of procrastination” including the 1995 Serb massacre in Bosnia of more than 8,000 Muslims taken from a U.N. enclave in Srebrenica and Saddam Hussein’s gassing of 5,000 people in the Kurdish village of Halabja in 1988.

Referring to the council divisions, Davutoglu said the Cold War is over and it’s time to put aside the mindset, “sterile power struggles and competition of interests” emanating from that era.

U.N. refugee chief Antonio Guterres warned the council against safe zones.

He praised Syria’s neighbors for keeping their borders open to Syrians fleeing the war, and said their right to asylum “must not be jeopardized, for instance through the establishment of so-called ‘safe havens’ or other similar arrangements.”

“Bitter experience has shown that it is rarely possible to provide effective protection and security in such areas,” Guterres said.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin strongly criticized unilateral U.S. and European Union sanctions against Syria, saying they worsened the plight of the Syrian people, and he agreed with Guterres’ skepticism about safe zones.

“He made it very clear he thought that history showed that they cannot be relied on as an effective tool for protecting civilians -- that we must work together in order to help alleviate and improve the humanitarian situation for the entire population of Syria,” Churkin said.

China’s U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong, asked about the Turkish proposal by AP, said: “I think that’s not a solution. The solution is to implement a cease-fire, cessation of violence, and implementation of a political process.”

“Humanitarian efforts must never be militarized,” Li told the council meeting.

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said more than 2.5 million people -- including Palestinian and Iraqi refugees -- “are now in grave need of assistance and protection inside Syria,” more than double the number reported in March. Guterres, the U.N. refugee chief, said as of Wednesday, 229,000 people had left Syria and registered as refugees in Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq.

He said the U.N. humanitarian appeal for Syria seeking $180 million is only half-funded.

Hague announced that Britain will contribute an additional 3 million pounds ($4.7 million), to the 27 million pounds ($42.7 million) it has already given for humanitarian aid to the displaced and to refugees. Fabius announced that France was giving 5 million Euros ($6.27 million) in addition to the $20 million Euros ($25 million) it has already contributed.

 

Date created : 2012-08-30

  • SYRIA - TURKEY

    Thousands of Syrian refugees massed at Turkish border

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    US, Turkey mull no-fly zone for Syria

    Read more

  • SYRIA

    Syrian refugee number surpasses 200,000

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)