assad brothers 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Turkey will send a “warning letter” to Damascus later this week calling on
President Bashar Assad to enact reforms and rein in the violent crackdown on the
anti-regime protests that began in March, Al-Arabiya TV reported on
According to the report, a Turkish envoy will be sent to Damascus
to deliver the letter, which also calls for Assad to remove his 43-year-old
brother Maher from command of the Fourth Armored Division, which has been behind
some of the worst bloodshed during the four-month uprising. Turkey would agree
to give Maher Assad asylum or facilitate his refuge in a European country, and
work to ensure he doesn’t face charges, according to the report.
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letter would call on Bashar Assad to allow peaceful demonstrations and freedom
of expression, and remove a ban on political parties.
report has not been confirmed by officials in Ankara.
Assad will make a
speech on Monday about “current circumstances,” the state news agency said on
Sunday, his first speech since April 16 and his third since the start of an
Reuters reported on Sunday that the Syrian army is deployed
along the country’s northwestern border to slow the flow of refugees to Turkey,
quoting witnesses and a human rights activist who said pro-Assad forces were
attacking people helping the refugees fleeing the violence.
A report by
Agence France-Presse on Sunday quoted activists who said the Syrian army had
over the past two days set up checkpoints in the border areas and arrested
dozens of people trying to escape the country.
Since Syrian troops, armor
and helicopters moved in to the area of the town of Jisr al-Shughour near Turkey
two weeks ago, thousands of Syrians have fled across the border. As of Sunday,
Turkish officials said 10,114 Syrians were being housed in three refugee camps
while an estimated 10,000 were camped out just inside Syria.
weekend, the Syrian state news agency SANA made no mention of the refugee
crisis, instead focusing on “mass popular marches in the northern cities of
Aleppo and Jisr al- Shughour [that] gathered on Saturday supporting national
unity and rejecting foreign interferences in Syria.”
SANA continued, “A
march of tens of thousands organized by popular bodies headed to Aleppo Citadel
to express the participants’ full support to the national unity and their
refusal to the foreign interference in the framework of Syrian youth gathering
activities.”Reuters contributed to this story.