News / Middle East

Turkey, Syria Tensions Rise After Attack on Pilgrims

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan chats with Head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate Mehmet Gormez (R) during the summit of religious leaders from Muslim countries and communities in Africa at the Ottoman-era Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, Nov
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan chats with Head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate Mehmet Gormez (R) during the summit of religious leaders from Muslim countries and communities in Africa at the Ottoman-era Dolmabahce Palace in Istanbul, Nov

Tensions between former close allies and neighbors Turkey and Syria continue to escalate as Syrian forces are being accused of attacking a bus of Turkish pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia on Monday. The incident comes as the Turkish prime minister launched another verbal condemnation of Syria.

Two Turkish citizens were wounded when a convoy of buses carrying pilgrims in northern Syria were attacked by gunmen, furthering tensions between Syria and Turkey. Pictures of the bus with numerous bullet holes in it were broadcast on Turkish media. The affiliation of the gunmen is not clear.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry confirmed the attack. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the end is coming for the Syrian leadership and its forces, who have led the government's eight-month-long crackdown on opposition protests.

Mr. Erdogan said Syria's leaders can remain in power with tanks and cannons only up to a certain point. He said the day will come when they will also leave.

The attack is the latest incident in a growing diplomatic divide. Last week, Syrian protestors attacked several Turkish diplomatic missions, resulting in the evacuations of diplomatic families.

Ankara has been playing a leading role in helping the Syrian opposition, hosting some key leaders and defectors from the Syrian military who are now spearheading a militia effort in Syria known as the Syria Free Army.

But there is growing concern in Turkey over Ankara's leading role against Syria. International relations professor Murat Bilhan, a former official in the Turkish Foreign Ministry, says tensions with Syria are making some in the Turkish armed forces nervous.

But the Syrian opposition is increasingly looking to Ankara to take a more active role against Damascus. The leaders of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood last week called for Turkey to enforce a buffer zone in Syria to protect opponents of the government.

Bassma Kodmani, a leader with the opposition Syrian National Council, says creating safe haven areas in Syria is vital.

"We know that there are very strong demands for the establishing [of] safe havens, for the civilian population to take refuge," said Kodmani. "Therefore, the pressure is on the Arab League, neighboring countries and international parties to consider the option for the protection of civilians."

For now though, Ankara has ruled out any direct intervention, preferring to join a growing international tide of sanctions and economic curbs against the Syrian government.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid