Delivering a speech at a meeting of his party on Saturday in the northwestern province of Kocaeli, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the massacres and atrocities in Tremseh signaled the inevitable downfall of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime.
He said those who attacked their own people would fall, stating that all dictators were cowards. “Sooner or later these bloodthirsty, vicious people will have to pay a price,” said Erdoğan.
Erdoğan said Assad's regime attacked the village of Tremseh in Hama with heavy weapons on Thursday and that nearly 270 Syrians, including women and children, were killed in the attack.
The massacre carried out by the Syrian army stirred strong reactions in Turkey on Friday. World leaders have also heaped criticism on Assad's regime for the mass killings in Tremseh.
The head of the UN observer mission in Syria says his teams can confirm that Syrian government forces waged attacks from the ground and the air in Tremseh on Thursday.
The Syrian regime said on Saturday that the attack in Tremseh was a successful military operation in which Turkish terrorists had been killed, and not civilians. The regime claimed that the dead terrorists had Turkish identification and insisted that no civilians had been killed even though it was reported that many civilians had died.
Meanwhile, The Times in the UK published an article on Saturday titled “Massacre in Syria: the Moscow connection” which claimed a Russian connection in the Tremseh massacre. The article claimed that Assad's forces used Russian-made Mi-25 fighter jets, named “flying tanks,” during the Tremseh operation.
However, Russia on Friday condemned the Tremseh massacre in Syria as a “bloody atrocity,” stating that Russia was on the side of the Syrians.
“We resolutely condemn this bloody atrocity,” Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement, underlining that civilians were killed in the massacre. It once again called for an immediate end to the violence and a thorough investigation to identify those behind the attack.
Meanwhile, on Saturday Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said that Turkey had problems with Syria today because it does not want any problems with Syria in the post-Assad era.
Attending a lecture titled “Changing Turkish Foreign Policy in Changing World” at the 48th annual meeting of the Ditchley Foundation near Oxford in the UK, Davutoğlu stated that if Turkey had friendly relations with Assad today, then the post-Assad regime would not have friendly ties with Turkey.
“Assad says he needs more security for the unity of the country. In fact, he needs more freedom to win the hearts of the people. But he does not understand it,” said Davutoğlu, adding that the problems that Turkey had with Syria today stemmed from Syria, and not Turkey.
Davutoğlu said Assad did not fulfill his commitments to Turkey, adding that Turkey would continue to support the Syrian people.
“I met with Assad seven times. We agreed on 14-point plan. Assad only complied with the plan for three days. We later understood that he used his relations with Turkey for his own salvation,” said Davutoğlu, adding he has stated clearly in his latest meeting with Assad that Turkey was on the side of the Syrians. “A regime suppressing its own people cannot escape, today or tomorrow,” he added.
Davutoğlu said Turkey would keep working on the Syrian crisis, stating that the international community should be in solidarity with the Syrian people.
Erdoğan said that Turkey would continue to assist the Syrians, adding that nearly 40,000 Syrians who had fled the clashes in their country were currently staying in Turkey.
The Turkish Prime Ministry's Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) said that there were 38,914 Syrians refugees after fleeing clashes in their country.
In a written statement released on Friday, AFAD said that Syrians taking refuge in Turkey are in the Altınozu, Yayladağı, Reyhanlı, Apaydın and Karbeyaz towns of the southern province of Hatay as well as in the southern provinces of Şanlıurfa, Gaziantep and Kilis.
AFAD said that 1,152 Syrians had entered Turkey on July 12 and 13, while 292 Syrians had returned to Syria of their volition on the same days, adding that from the outbreak of unrest in Syria until July 13, 63,655 people had entered Turkey, while 24,751 Syrians had returned to Syria during the same period.
Meanwhile, 549 Syrians entered Turkey on Saturday due to clashes in their country. Some of them came from Turkmen villages from the Syrian city of Latakia and entered Turkey via the town of Yayladağı in Hatay.
On Friday, 227 Syrians crossed the border, including two generals and three wounded. Authorities said one of the wounded Syrians later died at a hospital in the town of Reyhanli in Hatay.