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UPDATE - Erdogan urges Syria safe zone amid Kilis rocketattacks

UPDATE - Erdogan urges Syria safe zone amid Kilis rocketattacks
Turkish president criticizes West over refusal to establish safe zone in Syria as constant rocket attacks hit border province

*ADDS ERDOGAN'S COMMENTS ON SYRIAN REFUGEES

ISTANBUL (AA) - President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his calls Tuesday for a safe zone in northern Syria to protect civilians from airstrikes as the Turkish border town of Kilis has been hit with constant rocket attacks by the terrorist group Daesh.

"There’s not a single door left that we have not knocked on [regarding] developing a safe zone on our southern borders to protect the innocent people in Syria," Erdogan said in Istanbul during the third Islamic conference of ministers responsible for water.

"I shared this with the U.S. president [Barack Obama], I shared this with Russia when relations were good and I shared this with the Western countries," Erdogan said, adding that none of them took action to develop a safe zone.

Turkey’s southeastern province of Kilis has faced a spate of cross-border rocket attacks from Daesh in recent months.

"Tens of our people lost their lives due to rockets fired from Syria in our Kilis province," Erdogan said.

In Kilis province, the local governor has confirmed that in the last four months a total of 20 people have been killed and almost 70 others wounded by rockets that have fallen inside Turkish territory.

On Monday, Erdogan met Kilis Governor Suleyman Tapsiz as well as the city’s mayor Hasan Kara.

- ‘No starving Syrian refugees’

“Three million people are taking shelter in our country and none of them are starving. Thankfully, we have taken care of them all,” he said, adding that the amount of money Turkey has spent on meeting the needs of Syrian refugees has surpassed $10 billion.

“We are talking about an ongoing everyday spending,” he said, adding that the $10-billion sum excludes aid from Turkish non-governmental institutions.

A deal reached in March between Turkey and the EU includes a 6-billion-euro ($6.8 billion) aid package to help Turkey care for millions of refugees hosted in the country.

“If the promised funding comes, we will have the ability to further enhance their needs,” he said.

The third Islamic conference in Istabul will last until Thursday. Member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, including Azerbaijan, Jordan and Afghanistan, are participating.

source: News Feed
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