Syrians would accept Turkish intervention: Brotherhood leader

Protest against Syria

From Simon Cameron-Moore, Reuters:  A leader of Syria’s outlawed Muslim Brotherhood said on Thursday the Syrian people would accept military intervention by Turkey, rather than Western countries, to protect them from President Bashar al-Assad’s security forces.

Mohammad Riad Shaqfa, who lives in exile in Saudi Arabia, told a news conference in Istanbul the international community should isolate Assad’s government to encourage people in their struggle to end more than four decades of Assad family rule.

Hundreds of people have been killed this month, one of the bloodiest periods in the revolt that began in March. The United Nations says more than 3,500 people have died in the unrest.

If Assad’s government refused to halt its repression, Shaqfa said Turkish intervention would be acceptable.

"If the international community procrastinates then more is required from Turkey as a neighbor to be more serious than other countries to handle this regime," Shaqfa said.

"If other interventions are required, such as air protection, because of the regime’s intransigence, then the people will accept Turkish intervention. They do not want Western intervention," Shaqfa said. . . .

On Thursday, Turkish officials denied a report in Sabah, a newspaper regarded as close to the government, that Syrian opposition representative had requested Turkey make plans for a no-fly zone a few kilometers (miles) inside Syrian territory that would gradually be expanded to cover the city of Aleppo.

Sabah said Turkey told the Syrian opposition that three conditions would have to be met: the no-fly zone must have a U.N. mandate, Arab League support and guarantees from the United States and European Union. . . .

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe told French BFM Radio on Thursday that France was helping Syrian opposition groups become more organized. Juppe was due to visit Turkey for talks on Thursday and Friday that would focus on Syria.

Shaqfa said members of the opposition council would meet British Prime Minister David Cameron within days.

"They (British officials) have told us that they will soon recognize the Syrian National Council as a representative of the Syrian opposition and the Syrian people," he said.  (photo: Reuters)

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