Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, once a strong friend and ally of Bashar al-Assad, has blasted the Syrian regime as operating a “terrorist state” as Damascus continues to brutalize opponents and civilians eighteen months after the uprising erupted.

Speaking to fellow members of his ruling Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) in Ankara, Erdogan declared: “The massacres in Syria that gain strength from the international community's indifference continue to increase.”

Meanwhile, Syrians continue to pour into Turkey – refugees now number nearly 80,000.

“A great human tragedy is taking place in Syria,” Erdogan said. “Turkey is not just another country for the Syrian people. No one can expect Turkey to remain indifferent to the sufferings of the Syrian people,” the prime minister went on to say during the meeting.”

He added: “We will continue to host our Syrian brothers within the bounds of our capabilities.”