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03:36, 22 March 2018 Thursday
18:18, 08 April 2017 Saturday

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No-fly zone could have averted chemical attack: Turkey
No-fly zone could have averted chemical attack: Turkey

Presidential aide stresses that with Syrian safe haven and no-fly zone, deadly Idlib attack need not have happened

World Bulletin / News Desk

A no-fly zone and safe haven for refugees could have stopped Tuesday’s deadly chemical weapons attack in Syria before it ever occurred, according to Turkey's presidential spokesman.

"A no-fly zone and safe haven could have prevented this chemical attack and similar torture from happening," Ibrahim Kalin told CNN's Christiane Amanpour late Friday.

Since the early days of the Syrian civil war, Turkey has been pushing for both of these ideas, but no one has given a reasonable argument against them, he added.

 The attack on the town of Khan Shaykhun, Idlib, northwestern Syria -- which is blamed on the Bashar al-Assad regime -- killed some 100 people and injured more than 500 others.

"What happened in Idlib on Tuesday proved again that the bloody Assad regime shows complete disregard for the prospect of a political transition and efforts to enforce the cease-fire," said the spokesman and aide to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Kalin also said the main understanding in Syria is that after a political solution is reached, Bashar al-Assad will not stay in power.

Syria has been locked in a vicious civil war since early 2011, when the Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests -- which erupted as part of the Arab Spring uprisings -- with unexpected ferocity.

Since then, more than a quarter-million people have been killed and more than 10 million displaced across the war-battered country, according to the UN.

The Syrian Center for Policy Research, however, put the death toll from the six-year conflict at more than 470,000 people.

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