China's top paper says Syria 'safe zone' would not work

By REUTERS
September 3, 2012 06:10

 
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BEIJING - China's top newspaper said on Monday that a Turkish proposal for a Syrian "safe zone" under foreign protection for civilians fleeing intensifying violence there would not help resolve the worsening humanitarian crisis in the country.

China has repeatedly condemned any plan which hints at outside interference in the Syrian crisis or proposes "regime change." Both China and Russia have vetoed proposed UN Security Council resolutions intended to put pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Turkey fears a mass influx of refugees similar to the flight of half a million Iraqi Kurds into Turkey after the 1991 Gulf War.

But the People's Daily, the mouthpiece of China's ruling Communist Party, said safe zones would not work.

"The contributions of countries which neighbor Syria to appropriately looking after refugees deserves support, and it is understandable they are coming up with ideas to lessen the pressure on themselves," it wrote. "But setting up 'safe zones' in Syria is not a good policy. As UNHCR chief António Guterres has clearly stated, the lessons from history show so-called 'safe zones' can provide next to no real protection for refugees."

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