Turkey wants U.N. to house refugees inside Syria

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 29, 2012 3:28 AM
Turkey wants U.N. to house refugees inside Syria

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday Turkey had discussed with the United Nations the possibility of housing Syrian refugees inside Syria and that Ankara expected the world body to take concrete steps towards this.

"We expect the United Nations to engage on the topic of protecting refugees inside Syria and if possible sheltering them in camps there," Davutoglu told a news conference in Ankara.

Davutoglu said Ankara discussed the issue with the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres and the U.N. aid chief Valerie Amos.

Turkey has floated the idea of a "safe zone" to be set up for civilians under foreign protection as fighting intensifies in a 17-month-old uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.

Up to 5,000 refugees a day have been crossing into Turkey over the past two weeks and the United Nations warned on Tuesday that up to 200,000 people could settle in Turkey if the conflict worsens.

Although there is no sign divided world powers are ready to back a buffer zone and no-fly zone, as rebels and aid organizations would like, U.N. Security Council foreign ministers are expected to discuss the idea at a meeting on Thursday which Davutoglu will attend.

(Reporting by Jonathon Burch and Tulay Karadeniz; Editing by Jon Boyle)