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Turkey Seeks Fresh UN Resolution On Syria As Crackdown Continued

Turkey has urged the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to endorse a resolution that would include taking necessary measures to protect Syrian people as a U.N.-Arab League brokered peace plan failed to end violence in that Arab country.

A Turkish Foreign Ministry statement on Tuesday said Syria's commitments to U.N.-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan seeking an end to the use of heavy weapons and troop pullout from population centerers were not honored.

Syrian tanks and soldiers remained in most major flashpoint towns and cities across the country, with military operations reported in the Damascus suburbs, the central regions of Homs and Hama, Idlib and Aleppo in the north and Daraa in the south, the statement said.

Syrian troops defied the cease-fire plan, launching fresh attacks on rebellious areas, but Annan said there was still time to salvage a truce that he described as the only chance for peace.

More than a year into the Syrian uprising, the international community has nearly run out of options for halting the slide toward a civil war. Annan, however, insists that his peace initiative remains "very much alive" in part because there was no viable alternative.

The United Nations has ruled out any military intervention of the type that helped bring down Libya's Moammar Qadhafi, and several rounds of sanctions and other attempts to isolate President Bashar al-Assad have done little to stop the bloodshed.

"If you want to take (the plan) off the table, what will you replace it with?" Annan told reporters after visiting a camp of Syrian refugees at Yayladagi in the Turkish border province of Hatay.

Even though the Syrian government said it was withdrawing the military from certain areas, including the rebellious central province of Homs, activists, the U.S. and Turkey said there was no sign of a withdrawal.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry statement, quoted in media reports, also alleged that military crackdown on civilians also spilled over to the Turkish border and there were shootings on a Syrian refugee camp in southern Turkey.

Meanwhile, Turkey dispatched its diplomats and senior politicians to lobby UNSC members for a new resolution on Syria with the hope that it will bring an end to the deadly crackdown on the Opposition in the 13-month-old uprising against Assad.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that Turkey may use military force to set up a buffer zone within the Syrian territory if Assad forces Turkey to take that step. His warning came on the heels of Monday's shooting by Syrian forces into a Turkish camp near the border that killed at least two Syrians. On an official visit to China, Erdogan said he thought that the UNSC should present a new package on Syria at this stage. "For that to happen, the necessary meetings are going to be held. We will demand that they [UNSC members] take whatever steps they ought to under these circumstances," he told reporters traveling with him in Beijing.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who accompanied Erdogan on the China visit, cut short his trip and returned to Turkey on Tuesday. This was in response to mounting tensions with Syria, after Syrian forces fired across the border at a refugee camp in Turkey on Monday. He also spoke on the phone with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Monday on the eve of the latter's meeting in Moscow with visiting Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem.

Before departing for Turkey, Davutoglu also spoke with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and his counterparts from three other UNSC member- nations. He told Clinton that the latest developments on the Turkish-Syrian border were worrying, Turkey's Anatolia news agency reported.

by RTT Staff Writer

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