7 Apr 2012

Turkey may seek help over Syria refugees

6:53 am on 7 April 2012

Turkey has warned the United Nations it may need help if the flow of Syrian refugees does not let up, as fierce fighting within Syria continues.

Some 2,800 Syrians have fled across the border to Turkey in a little over a day. The total number of refugees from the country's violence is nearing 24,000.

After speaking to the UN secretary general, Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the refugee issue is becoming an international problem.

In later televised remarks, Mr Davutoglu said: "We have spared no efforts to accommodate Syrians fleeing the violence back home, but if they continue to arrive at this rate, we will need the UN and international community to step in."

The BBC reports that regime troops and rebels have been engaged in heavy fighting across Syria, just days before the UN hopes a full ceasefire will come into effect.

Opposition activists say at least 27 Syrian soldiers, rebels and civilians were killed in violence on Friday.

Ceasefire plan

The UN-backed peace plan calls for a troop withdrawal by 10 April and a ceasefire by 12 April.

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) said it had met a delegation from UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan and confirmed its fighters would stop shooting if President Bashar al-Assad withdraws his tanks and troops to barracks before the ceasefire deadline.

The Annan plan does not stipulate a withdrawal to barracks, saying rather that the army must "begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centres".