Turkey says 1,000 Syrians fled in last 24 hours

By REUTERS
March 15, 2012 16:16




GUVECCI, Turkey - A government offensive in Syria's northwest has sharply increased the flow of refugees into Turkey, with about 1,000 crossing in the last 24 hours, Turkish officials said on Thursday.

The numbers fleeing were expected to grow further as long as fighting continued around the town of Idlib, close to the Turkish border, one Turkish official said; but he declined to say how many more Turkey was expecting.

Turkey is wary of any military interventions in Syria, fearing a broader civil war could spill over its borders; but it has signaled that a tide of refugees is one of the factors that could trigger efforts to establish a 'safe zone' inside Syria.

Officials have said that the other red line for Turkey would be if Syrian President Bashar Assad's forces began massacres in Syrian cities. Turkey has said it would not take unilateral action and any initiative should come from the Arab League.

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