UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan is expected to visit refugee camps in southern Turkey that shelter thousands of Syrians who sought refuge in Turkey after fleeing violence in their country, Turkey's state-run Anatolia news agency said on Monday.
Citing diplomatic sources, Anatolia said Annan will visit the camps in Turkey's southern province of Hatay and proceed to Iran afterwards for talks on Syria. Annan's spokesman Ahmad Fawzi said on Monday that Annan will be in Turkey on Tuesday when a UN deadline for the Syrian administration to withdraw troops from populated areas expires. "Mr Annan will visit a refugee camp in Turkey tomorrow [Tuesday] on his way to Iran," Fawzi told Reuters in Geneva.
Nearly 3,000 Syrians fled to Turkey last week, pushing the total number of refugees to nearly 24,000. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Annan spoke over the phone about the huge influx of refugees, with Annan reportedly having said he would be in Turkey soon to observe the situation.
A peace plan drawn up by Annan requires Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to “begin pullback of military concentrations in and around population centers” by Tuesday for a truce to start 48 hours later. But that looks in doubt with each side accusing the other of intensifying assaults as the deadline approaches.
Annan said on Sunday that an “unacceptable” escalation in violence in Syria violated guarantees made to him and called on the government to keep its promises to end the bloodshed.