French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius called Friday for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime to be “smashed fast” as he visited Turkey’s largest refugee camp near the border.
“The Syrian regime should be smashed fast,” Fabius told reporters. “After hearing the refugees and their account of the massacres of the regime, Mr Bashar al-Assad doesn’t deserve to be on this earth.”
“It is an operation of destruction of an entire people that he is trying to accomplish,” he said.
Fabius made the remarks at a refugee camp near the Oncupinar border crossing in Kilis province, where he met a number of Syrian refugees appealing to France for weapons and aid to fight the Damascus regime.
In response to the demands, Fabius said his country was helping out in the humanitarian field and added that Paris could not accept Assad’s continued “massacre.”
“The sooner this regime leaves, the better,” he said.
Fabius repeated his calls for a speedy replacement of the regime “under controlled conditions” in Ankara, where he spoke to the press at a joint conference with Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoglu.
“We do not want chaos to follow the current situation,” after the departure of the Assad regime, Fabius told reporters.
“Every single day gives Bashar Assad regime time to use for bombing his own people.”
Joining his call, Davutoglu criticised the international community’s “silence in the face of crimes against humanity,” by loyalist forces in Aazaz, the rebel bastion near Aleppo.
Fabius had previously visited Jordan and Lebanon, where he had renewed calls for Assad to go in the face of his regime’s relentless onslaught against Syrian civilians and predicted more “spectacular” defections to come soon.
Fabius was referring to the recent defections of Assad’s prime minister Riad Hijab and general Manaf Tlass, his childhood friend and the son of a close aide of Assad’s father Hafez, who ruled Syria with an iron fist.
The foreign minister was the first such official to be allowed entry into the Turkish refugee camp, one of several refugee settlements in Turkey’s border provinces and houses around 12,000 people in prefabricated buildings.
The high-level clearance into Oncupinar camp, a Turkish diplomat told AFP, was the result of the improvement in French-Turkish ties after a tumultuous period during the term of the previous French president Nicolas Sarkozy.
Turkey has been one of the main regional powers denouncing Assad’s regime, and frequently calls on the international community for financial aid to share the refugee burden.
In the last two weeks, Turkey has been hit by a mass exodus of refugees who flee across the border by few thousands daily to escape fierce clashes between regime forces and rebel fighters for Syria’s second biggest city Aleppo.
The number of refugees on Turkish soil swelled over 65,000, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday, as several thousands arrived after a deadly Syrian airstrike killed more than 30 in Aazaz, a few kilometres from the Turkish frontier.