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Monday, 13 August 2012

Hillary Clinton in Turkey Wants Quick End to Syrian Conflict

As she had been telling reporters throughout the week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came through on her promise Saturday to discuss contingency plans with the Turks regarding the possible collapse of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
Following talks with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu in Istanbul, Clinton said, "There is a very clear understanding about the need to end this conflict quickly, but not doing it in a way that produces even more deaths, injuries and destruction."
Since Syria is its neighbor, Turkey is particularly interested in a fast and peaceful resolution to the 18-month-long conflict between government and rebel forces that has cost more than 20,000 lives by some estimates. Other figures put the death toll between 15,000-17,000.
Istanbul feels it has been doing most of the heavy lifting in dealing with the influx of refugees from Syria and is looking for the international community to get more involved, particularly Washington.
Still, monetary aid is coming.  The U.S. has pledged $25 million in non-lethal aid to Syrian rebels, and Clinton said on Saturday that $5 million would be donated by the United Nations to assist refugees.
Her talks with the Turkish foreign minister centered around Syrians fleeing their country to escape violence, dealing with a power vacuum should al-Assad be deposed, and what to do to keep Syria's chemical weapons arsenal out of the wrong hands.

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