Thousands of Syrian refugees mass along Turkish-Syran border
Fearing bloodshed after threats from Syria's government to take revenge for the alleged deaths of 120 police officers, hundreds of residents of Jisr al-Shughur have started streaming to the Turkish border, seeking refuge. Hundreds more Syrians fearing bloodshed in their country have crossed into Turkey, officials and reports said yesterday, as authorities braced to provide shelter for even more. Pouring in through barbed wire or unguarded stretches of the border in the Mediterranean province of Hatay, the refugees included several dozen people who were hospitalized for treatment of injuries reportedly sustained in security crackdowns. The figure was expected to rise further following Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's assurances Wednesday that Turkey will keep its door open to Syrians fleeing oppression. In Yayladagi, a town near the border, the Turkish Red Crescent (Kizilay) had already set up a tent city after the first group of Syrians arrived in late April. Speaking in Ankara on Wednesday, Erdogan turned up criticism of Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime, stressing that Ankara has no plans to turn back Syrian refugees. "At this point, it is out of the question for us to close our doors," he said. The United Nations' refugee agency had said many more Syrians are ready to make the trip to Turkey if unrest escalates. Refugees crossing the border are immediately approached by security forces and led away to the tent city or sent to hospitals in ambulances, where personnel are instructed to keep the media away. Russia yesterday said it opposes the UN Security Council adopting any resolution on Syria, risking a major dispute with the West over the response to the crackdown on Syrian protestors. Britain and France have drawn up a new resolution demanding that Assad end violence against the opposition and lift the siege of protesting cities. It also calls for an arms embargo on Syria. Russia and China also said they would oppose a US-backed resolution against Syria at a meeting of the UN atomic watchdog. Washington and its Western allies have asked the 35-member board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency to find Syria in "non-compliance" with its international obligations and report it to the UN Security Council in New York.