ISTANBUL - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Barack Obama discussed how they could work together to speed up political transition in Syria during a telephone call, Erdogan's office said.
Erdogan, who once enjoyed close ties with Syrian President
Bashar al-Assad, has become one of his fiercest critics and has
demanded he step down in the face of a 16-month-old uprising in
which thousands of civilians have died.
“In the talks, they took up the co-ordination of efforts to
accelerate the process of political transition in Syria,
including Bashar al-Assad leaving the administration and the
meeting of the Syrian people’s legitimate demands,” a statement
from Erdogan’s office said.
The phone call took place on Monday and Turkish media
reports said Erdogan and Obama spoke for 36 minutes.
“The two leaders expressed their growing concern about the
worsening human conditions in Syria because of the Syrian
regime’s attacks targeting its own people and the regime’s
savagery, most recently seen in Aleppo,” it said.
Obama and Erdogan also discussed the need to work together
to assist civilians trying to escape the violence in Syria.
There are about 44,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey and there
are concerns that the offensive by Assad’s army in the northern
city of Aleppo could lead to increasing numbers.
“Prime Minister Erdogan and President Obama agreed on the
co-ordination of efforts to help Syrians forced to flee to
Turkey and neighbouring countries,” the statement said.