Turkey's prime minister met Syrian
refugees Sunday for the first time since his country opened its doors to
tens of thousands of Syrians fleeing their government's crackdown on a
Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to defend the rights of the Syrian people,
saying they were close to achieving success. He was greeted by joyous
Syrians at the largest refugee camp near the border.
Erdogan has urged Syrian President Bashar Assad to quit and
has encouraged the Syrian opposition to unify and present a credible
His visit to the border region comes before a
parliamentary election in neighboring Syria, where the government's
heavy-handed reaction to civilian protests more than a year ago is
threatening to spawn a full-scale militarized conflict.
"Bashar is losing blood day by day," Erdogan said in an address to
thousands of joyous Syrians at the camp near the town of Kilis. "Sooner
or later, those who have oppressed our Syrian brothers will be accounted
for before their nation. Your victory is close."