Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Thursday that he plans to visit Syria, facing mounting criticism for its bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protesters, while on a tour of the region.
Davutoglu said that he hoped at the weekend "to leave for a tour of countries in the Middle East which will include Syria," the Anatolia news agency reported.
He did not give precise dates for each stage of his tour but stressed the need for Syrian President Bashar Assad to announce "without further delay a calendar of reforms" which would bring an end to the violence in Syria.
"What is important is that the Syrian people prepare for a future based on a vision of reforms which his (Assad's) administration would offer them," he said.
Turkey, an ally of Damascus, has become more critical of the Syrian regime for not acting more quickly to implement reforms.
More than 10,000 Syrians are currently camped as refugees on Turkish soil; prompting anxiety in Ankara about the prospect of a refugee crisis should the regime's crackdown on demonstrators intensify.
Turkey is also worried that the wave of Syrian refugees could also include Kurds who might join up with Kurdish rebels locked in a long-time battle for autonomy in southeast Turkey.
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