Egypt, Turkey Criticize Syria’s Assad

Posted September 5th, 2012 at 7:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Egypt's president says Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad must learn from “recent history” and step down before it is too late, while Turkey's prime minister said Syria has become a “terrorist state” carrying out massacres against its own people.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi told a meeting of the Arab League in Cairo Wednesday that a resolution to the crisis is an Arab responsibility, reiterating his call for the Syrian government to resign. He said the time has come in Syria for “change and not wasting time speaking of reform.”

Mr. Morsi also said a quartet of regional states proposed by Cairo to discuss the Syrian crisis would meet. The group includes Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Egypt.

In separate comments, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced further frustration at the lack of international consensus over the chaos in Syria. He told a meeting of his ruling AK party in Ankara that Turkey does not “have the luxury to remain indifferent” to what is happening in Syria.

Meanwhile, Syrian forces and rebels clashed in several regions on Wednesday including Aleppo, the country's commercial capital.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says at least 33 people were killed in Aleppo, where Syrian forces have been pounding neighborhoods with rebel strongholds.

The Syrian government has blamed “terrorists” for much of the violence that has gripped the country for 18 months.

In another development, U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon sharply criticized the Security Council for what he called its “paralysis” on Syria.

He told the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday that a lack of decisive action harms the Syrian people and damages the credibility of the council.

The Security Council's efforts to pressure Syria have been hampered party by Russia and China. The two countries have vetoed three Security Council resolutions on Syria.

On Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi told visiting U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that his country supported a political transition in Syria. But he repeated China's opposition to foreign intervention.