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Turkey Warns Of Civil War In Syria

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned today that a “religious, sectarian, and racial civil war” was looming in neighboring Syria.

Turkey has stepped up criticism of President Bashir al-Assad's crackdown on opposition protests, which the United Nations says has claimed more than 5,000 lives since mid-March.

At a televised press conference, Erdogan accused Assad's regime of continuing to "mercilessly murder" its own people.

He said “Turkey must play a leading role here,” adding that a civil war in Syria would “pose a threat to us."

Erdogan also said Turkey had begun implementing sanctions against the Syrian leadership.

On January 8, the Arab League called on the Syrian government to allow its monitors to more independently observe the turmoil gripping the country.

The organization’s monitoring mission has come under scrutiny, with critics noting that the mission has not resulted in a halt of violence by Syrian regime forces against protesters.

compiled from agency reports