Turkey raps international failure to tackle Syria aid crisis


  • World
  • Thursday, 24 Oct 2013

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Turkey's foreign minister on Thursday deplored what he called an international failure to tackle the humanitarian crisis in war-ridden Syria, saying food and medicine are running out and snipers are shooting pregnant women.

Ahmet Davutoglu said Turkey, which has received more than 600,000 Syrian refugees, would keep its border with Syria open to people fleeing the violence but said the world needed to share the humanitarian burden.

"I have to express our deep disappointment and frustration because of the absence of a proper reaction by the international community regarding the humanitarian situation on the ground," he told reporters in Kuwait during a bilateral visit.

Turkey, which shares a 900-km (560-mile) border with Syria, is a strong critic of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and a major supporter of rebels fighting to oust him.

The more than two-and-a-half-year conflict has killed over 100,000 people and displaced millions.

"Those who can come to Turkey, they are the lucky ones, those who are back in Syria, they do not have anything to eat, they do not have hospitals, medicines, anything," Davutoglu said.

In an allusion to divided global powers who dominate the U.N. Security Council, he criticised those responsible for a failure to see through a council resolution to come to grips with the Syrian crisis.

"Snipers are shooting pregnant ladies," he said, citing recent media reports. Civilians without access to food are being forced to eat cat and dog meat to survive, Davutoglu said at a news conference with his Kuwaiti counterpart.

Kuwait, which plans to host an international humanitarian aid conference for Syria in January, said countries bordering Syria were struggling to cope with the stream of displaced people and warned of violence spilling over Syrian borders.

"The situation in Syria is very dangerous, this is as we warned from the beginning, because the blood will not be contained in Syria but will spread into the region," Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Hamad al-Sabah said. "Syria is sliding towards becoming a rogue state, a failed state, a state where extremist ideas, drugs, weapons and outlaws spread."

Syria's civil war has been replete with atrocities, including chemical weapons strikes into populated areas, and al Qaeda and other radical Islamists increasingly dominate the ranks of rebel forces.

Kuwait has condemned the bloodletting in Syria but unlike some other Gulf Arab states such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar it has not thrown its weight behind Syrian opposition fighters, preferring to organise humanitarian donations.

Kuwait hosted a fundraising conference in January this year which pledged more than $1.5 billion in aid, with contributions mainly from wealthy Gulf Arab states.

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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