Turkey President Says Reforms in Syria Would Be 'Too Little Too Late'

Gul’s statement comes as the Head of the Revolutionary Council of the Syrian Coordination Committees announces that council decided to arm the Syrian revolution; Arab League calls on Syria to stop the bloodshed.

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Turkish President Abdullah Gul said he has lost confidence in Syria, and that the situation has reached a point where changes would be too little too late, Turkish state-run news agency Anatolian reported on Sunday.

Commenting on the situation in Turkey's neighbor, Gul told Anatolian in an interview: "We are really very sad. Incidents are said to be 'finished' and then another 17 people are dead.”

Turkish President Abdullah Gul during a press conference in Cairo, Egypt, March 3, 2011. Credit: AP

He continued, asking, “how many will it be today? Clearly we have reached a point where anything would be too little too late. We have lost our confidence."

Earlier this month Gul, who like other Turkish leaders has piled pressure on Syria to end a violent crackdown on protests, appealed to Syrian President Bashar Assad not to leave reforms until it was too late.

Gul’s statement comes as the Head of the Revolutionary Council of the Syrian Coordination Committees, Mohammad Rahhal, announced in remarks published Sunday that the council had decided to arm the Syrian revolution.

Arab foreign ministers also implored Syria to end months of bloodshed "before it's too late", and decided to send Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby to Damascus to push for political and economic reforms.

But in a conciliatory message to Damascus, the ministers also said after an extraordinary meeting in Cairo that Syria's stability was crucial for the Arab World and the whole region.

The Syrian government has sent in troops and tanks to crush five months of street protests demanding President Bashar Assad steps down, killing at least 2,200 protesters according to the United Nations.

Syria says it is working hard to introduce reforms in the Arab country which borders Lebanon, Israel and Iraq but blames militants for the violence.

"The (Arab League) council expresses concern and worry over the dangerous developments on the Syrian arena that had caused thousands of casualties, including dead and wounded," the Arab League council said in a statement after an expected news conference was cancelled.

"It also stresses the importance of ending bloodshed and to resort to reason before it is too late," the statement said.

It was the first official Arab League meeting on Syria since the start of the uprising.
Many Arab commentators have criticized the League for its timid reaction to the violence. It spent months only voicing "concern", suggesting divisions among its members, some of whom are facing their own public protests.

Pro-democracy protests have engulfed most of Syria since mid-March, with the people calling for political and economic reforms as well as the ousting of Syrian president Bashar Assad.

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