Turkey blasts Assad regime as Aleppo toll rises


Turkey lashed out against Syria as the death toll from a missile strike on Aleppo rose to 58 Sunday, while a US official urged the opposition to reconsider its boycott of international meetings.

France meanwhile confirmed that a French photographer wounded in the conflict had died of his injuries.

“Every day a large number of innocent children and women fall dead in Syria,” Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday during a visit to the United Arab Emirates.

“We will not remain silent on those committing crimes against their people…. We will not remain silent on the brutal dictator in Syria,” Erdogan, a key backer of Syria’s opposition, added.

Turkey’s southern neighbour has been locked in a 23-month-long conflict in which the United Nations estimates more than 70,000 people have been killed.

On Sunday alone, according to a toll compiled by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least 105 people were killed in violence across the country.

The Britain-based monitoring group also updated its death toll from Friday’s missile attack on the northern city of Aleppo, saying it killed at least 58 people, including 36 children.

Early in the revolt against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, Turkey broke ties with Damascus. It led international calls for Assad’s ouster, has offered shelter to defectors from the army and hosted opposition meetings.

About 200,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Turkey, many of them living in squalid camps.

A senior US official on Sunday urged the Syrian opposition to rethink its decision to pull out of the 11-nation Friends of Syria meeting in Rome this Thursday, which new US Secretary of State John Kerry will attend.

“We are stressing… that they have an opportunity in Rome, to see the countries that have been their greatest supporters and to present to all of us how they see the situation on the ground in security, humanitarian, political and economic terms,” said the official.

Already Saturday Washington had condemned the Assad regime for the Aleppo strikes.