Turkey raises buffer zone option as more Syrians flee

ANKARA Thu Mar 15, 2012 11:01am EDT

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ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkey may consider setting up a buffer zone inside Syrian territory to protect civilians from attacks by President Bashar al-Assad's forces, a Turkish deputy prime minister said on Thursday, after a surge in the number of refugees during the past 24 hours.

Asked whether Turkey was considering setting up a safe zone inside Syria, Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay stressed Turkey's cooperation with the Arab League, but said in an interview with NTV it was "among the possible things we will probably work on in the coming period."

Some Arab governments, notably Qatar, have advocated establishing an Arab peacekeeping force and arming the rebel Free Syrian Army. Those calls may be repeated at a meeting of Western and Arab states, the "Friends of Syria", in Istanbul on April 2.

(Created by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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