Ban Ki-moon due to visit Turkey on Syrian refugee crisis

Ban Ki-moon due to visit Turkey on Syrian refugee crisis

UN chief Ban Ki-moon (AP/Majdi Mohammed)

November 27, 2012, Tuesday/ 11:22:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to pay a visit to Turkey on Dec. 7 and 8 to discuss the 20-month Syrian crisis with Turkish officials.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Selçuk Ünal announced the upcoming visit on the Foreign Ministry's Twitter page. He added: “His [Ki-moon's] schedule could include a [refugee] camp visit in Turkey so he can see first-hand the situation of Syrian nationals there. His program is currently being prepared.”

Ban Ki-moon's visit to Turkey will follow a visit to Jordan. Jordan is also coping with an influx of refugees amounting to 220,000 individuals, according to information Today's Zaman obtained from Jordanian officials. These officials also say that the United Arab Emirates are preparing to build a second Syrian refugee camp in Jordan.

In the meantime, US Agency for International Development chief Rajiv Shah visited temporary tent cities in the town of Öncüpınar in Kilis province on Tuesday.

As a border country to Syria, the repercussions of the 20-month Syrian civil war such are deeply affecting Turkey. The recorded number of Syrian refugees in Turkey has reached 130,000, and the country has spent more than $500 million on the problem, according to an announcement made by the Prime Ministry's Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) on Monday.

Syrian jets have repeatedly bombed rebel targets very close to the Turkish border. On Monday, a strike by Syrian warplanes hit just two kilometers (1.5 miles) from a Turkish gendarmerie compound near a crossing point for Syrian refugees.

Turkey has requested that NATO surface-to-air missiles be stationed on its side of the border, angering Syria, but said on Monday the missiles would only be used to protect Turkish territory and not to establish a previously proposed no-fly zone over part of Syria.

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