10/01/2012, 00.00
SYRIA
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As the war comes to Syrian Kurdistan, Ankara envisages military action

A suicide bomber hits Qamishli, killing four and wounding scores. The city was one of the few places left under total government control. Turkish foreign minister suggests establishing a buffer zone on the Syrian border, and does not exclude "humanitarian" military action. Rebels set fire to the Old City of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Damascus (AsiaNews/ Agencies) - A suicide car bombing in Qamishli, a Kurdish city in northern Syria, killed at least four people on Sunday. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said eight people died and scores more were wounded. Although no one has claimed responsibility, state television blamed rebels for the incident. This is the first attack in the city since the anti-Assad uprising began.

Located near the border with Turkey, Qamishli has a Kurdish majority and has always been under the control of Syrian security forces control with the support of residents.

A video posted on YouTube by some activists shows the devastating effects of the explosion. Eyewitnesses have said that hundreds of wounded have been taken to local hospitals.

Kurdish separatists and Kurdish areas in Turkey and Syria have been caught up in the war between regular Syrian units and the Free Syrian Army (FSA).

According to Turkey, Syria and Iran have also been closely working with Turkey's PKK and its Iranian and Syrian branches to cause havoc in the region and limit the movements of the FSA, which is backed by Turkey.

At a press conference on Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu called for a buffer zone on the Syrian border as a safe haven for refugees. However, analysts noted that such a move would mean launching a military operation inside Syrian territory.

For the minister, cover military action is indeed a realistic proposition. In a side swap at UN members opposed to military action, he said that that sticking to conventions will lead to greater dangers in the future,

Sparked by the Arab spring, the Syrian uprising has cost so far some 20,000 lives and creatd hundreds of thousands of refugees. More than 120,000 refugees are in camps in Turkey.

All of Syria's main cities, including Damascus and Aleppo, have been caught in the spiral of violence. In fact, Aleppo's old souk has been burning for days.

Listed by the UN cultural organisation as a world heritage site since 1986, the old city's market quarter has more than 1,550 stores, one of the largest in the world, with many buildings dating back to the Middle Ages.

Many Syrians blame the rebels who, in their eagerness to attack the regime's forces, did not refrain from entering the old city, a symbol of Syria, or spare the civilian population.

"I am petrified," said Ahmed, one of the merchants who fled the old souk and is now in a refugee camp in Lebanon. "This is a dirty war and we are the losers. First we lost our jobs; now we have lost our shop."

Back from the UN General Assembly in New York, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem accused the United States and Qatar of trying to overthrow the regime, by using the same excuse of chemical weapons used to overthrow Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

For the Syrian diplomat, Arab states and the West have ganged up against Syria.

"Qatar is spending billions of dollars in Syria to kill the Syrian people, to destroy the infrastructure ... and to murder doctors and engineers," he said.

 

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