Syrians pour across border

Syrians pour across border

Troops led by President Bashar Assad’s brother regained control of Jisr al-Shughour Sunday, sending in tanks and helicopter gunships after shelling the town. But residents were still terrified; more than 6,000 Syrians have sought sanctuary in Turkey, nearly all of them in the past few days from Idlib province.

In Altinozu, Turkey, two Syrian refugees gave a bleak picture of life across the frontier.
“There are 7,000 people across the border, more and more women and children are coming towards the barbed wires,” said Abu Ali, who left Jisr al-Shughour.

Savagery

Turkey’s prime minister has accused the Assad regime of “savagery” but also said he would reach out to the Syrian leader to help solve the crisis.

Arab governments, which were unusually supportive of Nato intervention in Libya, have been silent in the face of Syria’s crackdown, fearing that the alternative to Assad would be chaos. The country has a potentially explosive sectarian mix and is seen as a regional powerhouse with influence on events in neighbouring Israel, Lebanon, Iraq.

A reported mutiny in Jisr al-Shughour posed one of the most serious threats to the Assad regime since protests against his rule began in mid-March. Assad has made some concessions, but thousands of people demonstrating weekly — inspired by protests in Tunisia, Egypt and elsewhere — say they will not stop until he leaves power.

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