Turkey warns of civil war in Syria

AFP , Friday 18 Nov 2011

Turkish Foreign Minister says if the Arab league imitative is not successful, there is always a risk of civil war or high level tension in Syria

The conflict in Syria risks turning into a civil war, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told AFP Friday.

Davutoglu pointed to the new attacks by army defectors, "therefore I say there is a risk of transforming into civil war. It is now the right time to stop this massacre, and therefore the Arab initiative is important," he said.

The Arab League has given Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a deadline to halt his "bloody repression" of anti-regime protests or risk sanctions.

"If it is not successful of course there is always a risk of civil war or high level tension in Syria," Davutoglu added.

Up until now the Turkish dipolmat said it has been "difficult to call it a civil war because in civil war there are two parties attacking each other.

"But in this case usually civilians are being attacked by the security forces."

The eight-month revolt in Syria has turned increasingly violent, with the Free Syrian Army, made up of army defectors, mounting a daring attack this week against a military intelligence base near the capital and the opposition becoming more militarised.

Davutoglu also said that Turkey was prepared to help the opposition Syrian National Council to develop its relations within Syria and with the international community.

"At this stage it is important that the (opposition council) has access to the international community, the Syrian people, and that it has a solid base as an organisation of the Syrian people," he said.

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