Turkey cuts off ties as 32 die in Syrian slaughter
Published 11/06/2011 | 05:00
Syria's former ally, Turkey, cut off the regime of President Bashar al-Assad yesterday as his troops moved into a rebel northern town amid another day of nationwide repression of demonstrations.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, was drawing up plans to create a buffer zone to prevent Syrian instability spilling into Turkish territory.
Mr Erdogan, who once said he would be a "brother" to Mr Assad, condemned the use of violence to put down protests as "savagery" and, in a key move, said he could support intervention by the United Nations.
His criticism came as more detailed reports emerged of a bloody police mutiny in the town of Jisr al-Shughour, near the Turkish border, and of massacres nearby.
Almost 3,000 Syrian refugees have poured into Turkey, and authorities there were preparing room for 10,000 more as fighting continued. Tanks and troops, answering to Mr Assad's brother Maher, moved into Jisr al-Shughour yesterday, arresting men they found there.
Of 32 deaths reported across Syria yesterday, most were from shelling in Maarat al-Numan, a village near Jisr al-Shughour.
One man, who had escaped across the border, said the mutiny started when local police refused to fire on protesters.
There were clashes between forces loyal to the regime and the mutineers, which led to claims by the regime that 120 men had been killed by "armed gangs" .(© Daily Telegraph, London)