Last updated: 9 March, 2012

Annan to visit Syrian refugee camps in Turkey

UN-Arab League envoy to Syria Kofi Annan is to visit Syrian refugee camps in Turkey after travelling to Syria over the weekend, a diplomat told AFP on Friday.

“Kofi Annan has expressed his wish to come soon to Turkey and we gave our consent,” the diplomat said, on condition of anonymity.

The former UN chief will be visiting refugee camps in Hatay, the Turkish border province which houses almost 12,000 Syrian refugees, he noted.

Annan will also visit the Turkish capital to meet with senior officials, said another source close to the government, while private NTV news channel said the visit was to take place on March 12.

In Ankara, Annan is expected to discuss details of his first-time visit to Syria since his appointment, and iron out details on the second meeting of “Friends of Syria” expected to be held later this month in Istanbul.

The Istanbul meeting is expected to focus on opening a humanitarian aid corridor into Syria.

Meanwhile, the lastest group of Syrians arriving at Hatay’s Reyhanli village on Friday amounted to 234 people, including two defecting generals and a colonel, Reyhanli district governor told Anatolia news agency.

“Around 800 Syrians made their way to Turkey over the last week and 2,500 people over the last month,” an official told AFP on Thursday.

Syrians have been flocking to Hatay since March 2011, to escape the violence in their hometowns, leaving behind their houses and livestock.

Refugees are mainly housed in camps in Hatay near the Syrian border, where members of the Free Syrian Army, made up of deserters from the Syrian security forces, are also based.