Turkey calls on Syria to end the violence

August 11, 2011 09:02

Turkish PM says Syrian tanks leaving Hama and he expects reforms within two weeks.

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Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan

Erdogan 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Turkey calls on Syria to end the violence

Amateur video out of Syria shows the shelling of a mosque in the eastern city of Deir al Zour.

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The video, which could not be independently verified by Reuters purportedly was shot Wednesday, on a day the international community continues to run the heat up on Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan sent his foreign minister to Damascus on Tuesday to urge an end to the bloodshed

Erdogan said, "The Turkish foreign minister's message (to Assad) was clear: Today, the first thing you should do is to halt the bloodshed and stop all kind of violence and use of force against civilians and protesters."

While there are reports that Syrian tanks have been withdrawing from Hama, purportedly they are pressing on with an armored offensive, in Deir al Zour.

Erdogan said, "We will continue to monitor unfolding events in Syria closely within the next few days. Our ambassador visited Hama. He said Syrian tanks have begun leaving the town. Of course, this is an important development showing affirmative results of our initiative. We hope that it will all be realized in 10 to 15 days and steps towards a process of reform in Syria will be taken afterwards."

Turkey had been one of Assad's few remaining friends in the Middle East.

But as protests continue along with the violence, Turkey has become increasingly impatient over a death toll which rights activists says has exceeded 1,600 people.

Syria has barred most independent media making it difficult to verify accounts from residents and authorities.

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