Turkish PM Raises Specter Of Srebrenica In Critique Of UN Inaction On Syria

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Syrian Tanks, Oct. 13, 2012
Syrian tanks -- photographed from the Turkish village of Saribuk in Hatay province along the Turkish-Syrian border Saturday -- drive toward the town of Darkush in northern Syria, where heavy clashes are ongoing between government troops and rebel fighters.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan took the United Nations Security Council to task Saturday over its inaction during the Syrian Civil War, indicating it is making mistakes now similar to the ones it made in the Bosnian War in the 1990s.

"If we wait for one or two of the [U.N. Security Council’s] permanent members ... then the future of Syria will be in danger," Erdogan said at an international conference in Istanbul, according to the Associated Press.

In recent months, China and Russia, two of the five permanent Security Council members, have both vetoed resolutions designed to pressure Syrian President Bashar Assad into concluding the conflict that began in March of last year.

Tens of thousands of Syrians are believed to already have been killed during the civil war, with recent estimates ranging from about 28,000 (Local Coordination Committees of Syria via CNN) to about 36,295 (Syrian Revolution Martyr Database).

Nonetheless, there is little chance of U.N. support for robust action, Reuters reported. China has said the solution to Syria's problem must come from within the country, while Russia has said many Syrians still support Assad, the news agency noted.

"The U.N. Security Council has not intervened in the human tragedy that has been going on in Syria for 20 months, despite all our efforts," Erdogan said at the conference Saturday, according to Reuters. "There's an attitude that encourages, gives the green light to Assad to kill tens or hundreds of people every day."

Erdogan added, "How sad is that the United Nations is as helpless today as it was 20 years ago when it watched the massacre of hundreds of thousands of people in the Balkans, Bosnia, and Srebrenica."

The Srebrenica Massacre in July 1995 is commonly considered the worst atrocity committed on European soil since World War II: Peacekeepers with the U.N. Protection Force abandoned what had been designated a U.N. safe haven, thus allowing Bosnian Serbs to slaughter about 8,000 Bosnian Muslims, most of them male.

Erdogan said a system allowing one or two nations to block intervention in such a grave humanitarian crisis as the one associated with the Syrian Civil War is inherently unjust, and that Syria would go down in history as a U.N. failure, just as Bosnia did in the 1990s.

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