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US, Turkey may aid Syrian rebels

US might provide medical, communications equipment; Turkey talks buffer zone.

Syrian refugees in TurkeyEnlarge
Syrian refugee children eat in a tent at the Red Crescent camp in Boynuyogun, Turkey, near the Syrian border. The Boynuyogun camp holds some 2,000 Syrian refugees in 600 tents. (ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Providing “non-lethal” aid to Syrian rebels and erecting a buffer zone inside Syria are options discussed to halt the killing there, President Obama and his Turkish counterpart said today.

They met and discussed Syrian intervention during a meeting in South Korea, where they are attending a nuclear security summit with about 50 other world leaders, CNN said.

“We cannot be spectators,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, the network reported.

The US might provide medical and communications equipment to the Free Syrian Army, while Turkey explored the idea of building the buffer zone 12.5 miles into Syria near the Turkish border.

Turkey is housing 17,000 Syrian refugees in Red Crescent camps.

More than 8,000 people have died since fighting and protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime began more than a year ago.

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“Friends of Syria," a group of about 60 nations, is to meet in Turkey on April 1 to discuss options, The Associated Press reported.

Constructing the safe zone is one item that might be discussed, Erdogan said.

“Studies are under way,” he said of the buffer zone, the AP reported. “It would depend on developments. The ‘right to protection’ may be put into use, according to international rules. We are trying to find a solution by engaging Russia, China and Iran.”

Turkey is also concerned with domestic issues related to Syria, The Telegraph reported.

Syria is said to have supported Kurdish rebels in Turkey, the Telegraph said, although the PM didn’t frame his comments that way during a press conference today in South Korea.

“It is our humanitarian and conscientious responsibility. We are engaged in efforts towards doing whatever is necessary within the framework of international law,” Erdogan said in The Telegraph.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/120325/us-turkey-may-aid-syrian-rebels