Syrian refugees arrive at the Turkish border at Reyhanli in Antakya
Syrian refugees arrive at the Turkish border at Reyhanli in Antakya. Hundreds of Syrian activists will gather Thursday in Turkey near the Syrian border to commemorate the first anniversary of the uprising against the Syrian regime, a protest organiser has told AFP. © Bulent Kilic - AFP
Syrian refugees arrive at the Turkish border at Reyhanli in Antakya
AFP
Last updated: March 14, 2012

Syrians on Turkish border to mark year of unrest

Hundreds of Syrian activists will gather Thursday in Turkey near the Syrian border to commemorate the first anniversary of the uprising against the Syrian regime, a protest organiser said Wednesday.

"Between 350 and 400 activists, along with a hundred others settled in Turkey said they would be there on Thursday," organiser Moayad Skaf told AFP.

They will join a so-called Freedom Convoy heading for the border post of Oncupinar in Kilis province, north of Syria's second city of Aleppo, he said.

In January some 200 activists in five buses and 15 cars sought to take humanitarian aid to Syria, mainly consisting of medicines and blankets.

But the expedition was cut short when it was blocked 15 kilometres (10 miles) from the border crossing by Turkish police, who said Syrian authorities would not let them in.

Turkish authorities "will do the same this time again," Skaf said. "They do not want to create problems at the border. We will send a delegation of five to 10 people to the border crossing" to stage a symbol protest.

The opposition Syrian National Council has expressed support for the Freedom Convoy.

Since March 15, 2011, the death toll in Syria has rapidly increased as the army of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad violently suppressed protesters. Deaths in one year stand at 7,500 according to an Amnesty International report released Wednesday, but other rights groups estimate the death toll to be much higher, at around 8,500.

More than 12,000 Syrians have sought refuge in Turkey's Hatay province, where Syrian army deserters resisting the regime's crackdown also have a base.

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