Turkey hits out at Syria's 'state terrorism'


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The Independent Online

Syria came under scathing international criticism yesterday, as Turkey called the country a terrorist state and Egypt's leader demanded that President Bashar al-Assad "learn from recent history" and step down.

The comments came as Syrian security forces shelled parts of Aleppo, killing at least 19 people, according to activists.

Alluding to the fate of the authoritarian regimes in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Yemen, which were overthrown by Arab Spring uprisings, Egypt's President Mohammed Morsi warned his Syrian counterpart that "it's too late to talk about reform; this is the time for change".

Mr Morsi's strong comments to Arab foreign ministers in Cairo followed an address last month during a summit meeting of the so-called nonaligned movement in the Iranian capital, Tehran, where the Egyptian leader gave a hearty call for world support of Syria's rebels. Iran is Assad's strongest foreign backer.

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Assad's government. "The regime has become one of state terrorism," he said. "Unfortunately, as usual, the international community is merely watching the slaughter, massacre and the elimination of Muslims."

Turkey is one of the strongest critics of Assad's regime and is host to Syrian opposition groups as well as some 80,000 refugees.