Erdogan Says Turkey Is Considering Buffer Zone as Syrians Flee

Turkey is considering options including a buffer zone as it prepares for a possible influx of Syrian refugees who have already almost doubled in number in less than a month, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

“If this heads to 100,000 people, we can’t start building trailer camps once they arrive, you need to take the precautions before they are here,” Erdogan told reporters in Beijing, according to the state-run Anatolia news agency. “You can’t close the door on these people.”

There are 25,000 people in refugee camps along Turkey’s southeastern border with Syria, compared with 15,000 in mid-March, Erdogan said. Hosting them has cost Turkey $150 million, he said.

If Turkey acts against Syria, it will be because President Bashar al-Assad forced its hand, Erdogan said. Assad’s forces have been killing as many as 100 people a day since the Syrian president agreed to a six-point peace plan by United Nations special envoy Kofi Annan last month, the premier said. Syrian forces have also breached Turkey’s border as they pursue rebels and the Foreign Ministry is working to take steps in that regard, Erdogan said.

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