Last updated: 12 March, 2012

Annan to brief Turkey after Syria trip

Kofi Annan, the international mediator on the Syrian crisis, was due to hold talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday after a weekend trip to Damascus failed to yield results.

A Turkish diplomatic source told AFP that “Kofi Annan will be in Ankara in the afternoon” where he would discuss details of his contacts in Damascus with the premier before a working dinner with Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Turkey, which had been an ally of neighbouring Syria, has been increasingly critical of the Damascus regime’s brutal year-long crackdown on the opposition and has called for President Bashar al-Assad to quit.

It has also playing to host to opposition groups and an increasing number of refugees fleeing the violence in their homeland.

Although Annan was previously scheduled to visit the Syrian refugee camps in the Turkish province of Hatay on the border with Syria, his tight schedule may not allow the refugee camp tour, the Turkish source added.

Hatay is home to a massive tent camp that has been set up to provide shelter for thousands of refugees who have been flocking into Turkey to escape violence at home since the revolt erupted last March.

Hatay tent settlements also provide shelter to defecting Syrian army officers who have formed the rebel Free Syrian Army.

A total of 12,605 Syrians who fled their homes are currently staying in Turkey, according to the latest official data from Ankara. The number of Syrians arriving at the border increases every day.

Annan, a former United Nations secretary general who is mediating on behalf of the UN and Arab League, left Damascus on Sunday without managing to secure an accord to end bloodletting monitors say has claimed more than 8,500 lives.

After leaving Damascus, he travelled to Qatar where he was to hold meetings with government officials.