ANKARA, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived Friday in Turkey for a series of talks with Turkish leaders on the Syrian crisis, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.
Ban's plane landed at an airport in the province of Gaziantep in southeastern Turkey, where he was set to visit a refugee camp in Islahiye town sheltering Syrians fleeing violence in their country.
"Afterwards, Ban Ki-moon will proceed to Ankara to meet Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu," said a statement released by the Turkish foreign ministry on Thursday, adding that the latest regional developments are likely to be discussed during the meetings.
In recent weeks, Ban has warned of the danger of a spillover of the prolonged Syrian conflict into Turkey.
Worries are also growing after the Turkish military boosted deployment along the frontier and retaliated after shells from Syria hit Turkish border towns and killed five people in October.
Syria has been in a dire situation since March 2011 when protests erupted demanding the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad. The crisis, marked by violent clashes between the government forces and armed rebels, has prompted a large number of refugees streaming into neighboring countries, including Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq.
According to local officials, Turkey has spent over 280 million U.S. dollars from its own finance on accommodating around 130,000 Syrian refugees, and has so far set up for them 14 camps in seven southern and southeastern provinces.
WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- The United States was seeking to take advantage of the Syrian situation to move forward a political transition in the Arab country, a State Department spokesman said Thursday.
Department spokesman Mark Toner made the remarks as the Syrian opposition forces are making steady gains in their 20-month conflict with the government led by President Bashar al-Assad. Full story
ANKARA, Dec. 6 (Xinhua) -- The deployment of Patriot systems along Turkey's border with Syria will probably take place in early 2013, as technical work to determine the number of batteries and sites continues, local Hurriyet Daily News reported Thursday.
"It's hard to give a precise date for the deployment of the Patriots. But it could take no less than a month if everything goes as planned," Turkish diplomatic sources were quoted as saying. Full story