Assad Envoy to Holds Talks with Turkey PM
An envoy of Syrian President Bashar Assad was to hold talks on Wednesday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan who has been urging the Damascus regime to halt its crackdown on protesters.
Erdogan would host afternoon talks with Hassan Turkmani in Ankara on "the developments in Syria", a government source told Agence France Presse.
The Turkish prime minister has traditionally enjoyed good relations with the Syrian leader but he has been increasingly critical of the repression across the border.
In a phone call to Assad on Tuesday, Erdogan urged him to "refrain from violence and end the unrest", according to Turkey's Anatolia news agency.
Erdogan last week accused the Syrian security forces of perpetrating an "atrocity" with their treatment of the bodies of women protesters who have been killed in the regime's efforts to quell revolt.
Thousands of Syrians have crossed over into Turkey in recent days, many of them fleeing a major army operation in the town of Jisr al-Shughur, roughly 40 kilometers from the border.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was due to travel to the Hatay region on Wednesday to inspect reception facilities for the refugees and meet with Syrians crossing the border, Anatolia reported.
Davutoglu will also host a meeting on Thursday with Turkey's ambassadors in Arab capitals to discuss the Syrian crisis and the impact of the pro-democracy uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa.
Erdogan has said Turkey will "not close its doors" to the refugees.