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NATO will do its utmost to protect Turkey, says Rasmussen

S ource: Zaman

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said NATO is closely following developments in Syria, stating that the world’s largest defense organization is ready to do its utmost to protect its ally Turkey.

Urging the international community to offer a solution to the Syrian crisis in the region, Rasmussen urged world powers to send a strong message to Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.

“The international community should send a very strong and clear message towards supporting Syrians’ demands,” Rasmussen noted, adding that NATO is following the situation and is ready to help and support Turkey.

Turkey has urged the international community to find a solution to the influx of Syrian refugees within the borders of Syria, stating that Turkey has run out of ability to cope with the current flow by itself. The number of Syrian refugees on Turkish soil amounted to 80,000 at the end of August. Currently, Turkey is accommodating the Syrian refugees in 11 camps, comprising a tent city as well as container cities. Three new camps, each with a capacity for 10,000 refugees, are under construction. Aside from that, a total of 30,000 Syrians are said to be living in different towns and cities in Turkey.

Veteran war surgeon Jacques Beres supports the establishment of a no-fly zone over Syria as one bomb dropped by the regime leaves more wounded than doctors can fix in a day. Beres insists the death toll in the Syrian conflict is higher than has been reported.

“At least 50,000 people have been killed without counting the disappeared,” Beres, a French surgeon who daily patches up dozens of people in a hospital near the front lines of Aleppo, told AFP in an interview.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which has a network of activists on the ground across Syria, has given a latest toll of at least 26,283 people killed in Syria since the revolt began in March last year — 18,695 civilians, 1,079 defectors and 6,509 troops.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary William Hague has called on the international community to accelerate planning for a post-Assad regime.

“Assad’s departure from power is now inevitable. His regime is doomed, and the international community must plan rapid support to a new government in Syria now,” Hague said in London.

The new UN envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, acknowledged on Monday that brokering an end to the civil war is a “very, very difficult task.”

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