Turkey Calls for Formation of a Coalition to End Violence in Syria
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called for an international coalition to be formed in order to stop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s deadly crackdown from escalating any further. Davutoglu stressed that “clear and decisive statements” needed to be delivered to the Syrian regime from the broader international community. Davutoglu is scheduled to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington to discuss alternative measures.
Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with officials in Damascus to discuss possible reforms and an end to violence “on all sides.” Russia continued to push diplomacy and insisted that the solution in Syria should come from the Syrian people and not from the international community. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said that outside forces should let the Syrians settle their conflict “independently” and was quoted as saying “We should not act like a bull in a china shop.”
The U.S., which closed its embassy in Damascus Monday, suggested that it was contemplating ways in which it could provide humanitarian support to the Syrian people, who are living in dire straights with little or no access basic necessities. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that while the U.S. has not taken “anything off the table,” “more arms into Syria” doesn’t appear to be the answer. An E.U. official, speaking under a condition of anonymity, said that E.U. governments are shifting toward stiffer sanctions banning the import of phosphates. Syria sells 40% of its phosphate production to European clients, the official said.
Meanwhile, the Syrian army continued its assault on the city of Homs for a fifth straight day. At least 43 deaths were reported in Homs on Wednesday.