Clinton in Turkey for Talks on Syria

Posted August 11th, 2012 at 2:40 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Turkey to discuss Syria, one day after Washington said it will level new sanctions against Damascus and its supporters.

Clinton flew to Istanbul early Saturday after ending an 11-day, nine-nation tour of Africa.

Officials say Clinton will meet with President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Turkish officials to discuss how to deal with neighboring Syria. Turkey is hosting tens of thousands of Syrians who have fled the violence in their home country.

The U.S. Treasury's top official on terrorism and financial intelligence, David Cohen, told reporters Friday that Washington will be tightening existing sanctions on Syria and adding new ones. Cohen accused Hezbollah and Iran of aiding in the suppression of the Syrian people.

Cohen was traveling with Secretary Clinton.

A senior state department official told reporters Friday that one of the key things on Clinton's agenda in Turkey is to compare notes with the Turks so she can sharpen her operational picture on what is happening on the ground in regard to the conflict in Syria.

The official said Clinton's conversations would shape her advice to U.S. President Barack Obama about any further types of support Washington can offer the Syrian opposition movement.

Rebel field commander Malek al-Kurdi told VOA's Persian service on the Turkish-Syrian border that the rebels desperately need international help.

Britain said Friday it will give the rebels nearly $8 million for communications equipment and medical supplies.