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Turkey PM firm on Syria sanctions despite UN vote

Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday his government would announce a package of sanctions against neighbouring Syria despite a UN resolution blocked by Russia and China.

“The Syrian administration should have received a warning,” he said of the Security Council vote.

“The people of that country do not need to endure a merciless, shameless, tyrannical regime that bombs its own country from the sea,” he said during an official visit to South Africa.

“My heart remains with those struggling for freedom. South Africans have been in that position,” he said, but declined to comment further on Pretoria’s decision to abstain from the Security Council vote.

“But this does not constitute an obstacle,” he said, adding that “Turkey like some other European Union countries will take steps on this issue.”

“We will inevitably impose right now a package of sanctions,” he said.

Russia and China late Tuesday vetoed a UN Security Council resolution threatening action against Syria’s deadly crackdown on protests.

Turkey voiced support for the resolution with Erdogan saying Tuesday that he would announce sanctions against Damascus after a Sunday visit to camps in Hatay, near the Syrian border, where thousands of Syrians have taken refuge.

Ankara has expressed frustration with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for failing to listen to the people, whose almost daily pro-democracy rallies have been met with violent repression, at a cost of more than 2,600 lives according to the UN.

Last month, Turkey intercepted a shipload of weapons destined for Syria.