Damascus, Nov 22 : Turkey turned up the heat on embattled President Bashar al-Assad today as activists said at least 12 people were killed in raids by Syrian security forces.
The latest violence came as two people were reported wounded when buses carrying Turkish pilgrims on their way home from Mecca came under gunfire near the flashpoint city of Homs in central Syria.
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Assad his days were numbered and that he could not stay in power indefinitely through the use of military power. And in a signal of support for groups seeking to oust Assad, British Foreign Secretary William Hague met representatives of Syria's opposition for the first time, although he said it was too early for London to formally recognise them.
Russia for its part accused the West of provocative behaviour in the Syrian crisis, saying Western countries were telling the opposition to forget dialogue with the embattled president.
The two people were wounded when “Syrian soldiers” attacked the Turks travelling by bus back from the Muslim hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia after taking a wrong turn near Homs, said the private CNN-Turk television station. “We confirm that an attack took place in Syria,” a Turkish foreign ministry official told AFP, without elaborating.
In the latest confrontations, at least 12 Syrians were shot dead in raids by security forces in the provinces of Homs and Hama, also in central Syria, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.