Erdoğan spoke during a joint press conference with Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa in Ljubljana, where he called the crisis an "international challenge to bring the killings to an end.” Outlining his roadmap for bringing the crisis to an end, Erdoğan said he expected the United Nations Security Council, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to be the chief actors in the conflict.
On Sunday, Erdoğan said in an address to thousands of cheering Syrians who have fled Assad's brutal crackdown on an anti-regime uprising that President Bashar al-Assad's grip on Syria is getting weaker by the day and “victory is close.”
Erdoğan's cross-border taunt during a rare visit to a refugee camp in the southern city of Kilis, delivered while standing atop a bus and protected by snipers on rooftops, came a day before Syria's parliamentary elections.
The regime has portrayed the vote for a 250-member parliament as a sign of its willingness to carry out democratic reforms. Syria's opposition dismissed the election Sunday as a cynical attempt to salvage Assad's tattered legitimacy and asked voters to stay away.
Assad's opponents say elections cannot be held under the threat of gunfire. Activists said at least five people were killed by army gunfire on Sunday. In late March, the UN said 9,000 people have been killed during the conflict, now in its fourteenth month.
"We think the elections have no credibility at all in the middle of a situation where the regime is killing the population," said Bassma Kodmani, a spokeswoman for the Syrian National Council, the main opposition group. "It is an insult to the democratic process."
An April 12 truce that was part of a peace plan for Syria written by UN-Arab League special envoy Kofi Annan has failed to take hold. Even so, the international community has not declared Annan's plan a failure, perhaps in part because it can't agree on an alternative.
UN officials hope a wider deployment of up to 300 international truce monitors will gradually calm the situation. About 40 observers are currently in Syria.
UN observers visited the towns of Zabadani and Dael on Sunday, and regime forces fired randomly into Dael after they left, wounding three people, said Adel, a local activist.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an activist group, said four people were killed by regime gunfire in the city of Homs and a fifth in an arrest raid in the capital of Damascus.
Western powers and their allies in the region, including Turkey, want Assad to step down, but are for now unwilling to use force against him. Assad allies Russia and China are expected to shield the regime from harsher diplomatic sanctions.
Despite the deadlock, Erdoğan delivered a hopeful speech Sunday to thousands of Syrian refugees being sheltered by Turkey.
"Bashar is losing blood day by day," Erdoğan told a crowd at a camp near the town of Kilis, just across from Syria. "Sooner or later, those who have oppressed our Syrian brothers will be called to account before their nation. Your victory is close."
Turkey hosts around 23,000 Syrian refugees, who live in several tent camps along the border.
Erdoğan also announced the intention of the Turkish government to increase the total number of container homes which are used at the camps in anticipation of more refugees, the flow of which the prime minister said had “gained momentum after the attacks made by the Syrian military on cities near the border with our country.”
The speech also acknowledged the growing role of international aid agencies in providing for refugees, a job which the Turkish government has insisted on managing unilaterally in months past. “We're undertaking close cooperation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees,” Erdoğan stated.
The camp Erdoğan visited houses more than 9,500 refugees. Two were killed there by cross-border fire from Syria last month. It is the most organized of the camps and looks like a small town with wide streets, soup kitchens, a health clinic and even a makeshift barber shop.