Military Backlash Sends More Syrians Fleeing to Turkey

Posted June 8th, 2011 at 2:45 pm (UTC-5)
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A rising number of Syrians in the north are fleeing into neighboring Turkey amid fears of possible military retaliation for the killing of Syrian security force members amid an anti-government backlash.

News organizations say at least 130 more Syrians entered Turkey on Wednesday, raising the number who have crossed in recent days to at least 350.

Residents began to leave a region near the Turkish border after the Syrian government accused “armed gangs” of massacring 120 security force members, last week, and vowed to take decisive action. There were media reports of Syrian forces moving to fortify positions in the north on Wednesday.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Syria to take a more “tolerant” position towards its civilians as his nation faces the increasing tide of Syrian refugees.

Meanwhile, the United States says it is backing a draft United Nations Security Council resolution that condemns the Syrian government's “repression” of its citizens.

State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Wednesday the measure is designed to put additional pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime. Britain and France are the resolution's main sponsors.

Rights groups say at least 1,100 people have been killed in the Syrian crackdown against the anti-government campaign that began in March. More than 10,000 people have been arrested.

Also, the United States and its allies are drafting a separate United Nations resolution that says Syria has failed to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency on its nuclear program. Syria has failed to allow international monitors to inspect its facilities to determine if they are being used for military purposes.