This would also cut down on the number of Syrians seeking refuge abroad and ‘‘resolve the humanitarian crisis, especially with winter approaching,’’ Sieda said. International aid officials estimate the number of refugees could double by the end of the year, to more than 700,000.
Earlier this year, Turkey floated the idea of safe zones, but has since backed off.
Turkey has taken a notably harsher stance toward Syria since the start of the month and warned of retaliation if Syrian artillery hits Turkish soil again. The daily newspaper Hurriyet said in an unattributed report that Turkey has reinforced four naval bases along its Mediterranean coast north of Syria. The newspaper said Turkey sent frigates with cannons, as well as anti-ship and anti-aircraft missiles.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Ahmet Davutoglu said Sunday that Turkey is barring Syrian civilian flights from Turkey’s airspace, a day after Syria issued a similar ban for Turkish commercial aircraft.
‘‘As of yesterday, our airspace which was closed to Syrian military flights, has also been closed to civilian flights by Syria,’’ Davutoglu said. He alleged that Syria is ‘‘abusing’’ civilian flights by using them to transport military equipment
Turkish planes, including some that flew Hajj pilgrims to Saudi Arabia, have been taking alternate routes since Wednesday, the day Turkey intercepted the Syrian passenger plane. At the time, Turkey said Syrian airspace was no longer safe and barred Turkish planes from taking that route. Turkish planes carrying pilgrims are now flying over northern Cyprus and Jordan, according to Turkey’s Radikal newspaper
Associated Press writers Jamal Halaby in Amman, Jordan, Frank Jordans in Istanbul, Turkey, and Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey, contributed to this report.