Turkey recommends its nationals leave Syria

AFP, Friday 16 Mar 2012

Turkish Foreign Ministry 'strongly recommends' that its nationals leave Syria after PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his government was mulling pulling the Turkish ambassador from Syria due to serious security risks

Erdogan
U.N. peace envoy Kofi Annan, left,and Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan are seen during a meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, March 12, 2012. (Photo: AP)

Turkey's foreign ministry said on Friday it "strongly" recommended that Turkish nationals leave Syria due to serious security risks in the violence-wracked country.

"Developments in Syria pose serious security risks for our nationals," the ministry said in a statement. "Therefore it is strongly recommended that Turkish nationals currently in Syria leave and return home."

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday his government was mulling pulling the Turkish ambassador out of Syria.

"We are considering all options including the withdrawal of the ambassador from Syria," Erdogan told reporters.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's crackdown on dissent has claimed more than 8,000 lives since the uprising erupted a year ago according to UN estimates.

Turkey broke its former alliance with the Damascus regime and called on Assad to quit.

The number of refugees fleeing the unrest has escalated sharply after the latest crackdown in rebel stronghold neighbourhoods near the Turkish border.

Some 270 Syrians flocked into Turkey Friday according to official government figures, raising the total number of Syrians in border provinces to 15,000.

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