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Date published: 9/6/2012
BEIRUT--Turkey accused Syria of "state terrorism" Wednesday after a sharp spike in the death toll from the Syrian civil war, and Iran came under new scrutiny with the U.S. alleging that Tehran is flying weapons to President Bashar Assad's regime across Iraqi airspace.
With violence escalating in the nearly 18-month-old crisis, strains rippled across the region as Egypt's president urged Assad to take a lesson from the Arab Spring uprisings that deposed other leaders and step down.
Turkey has become one of the strongest critics of Assad and is host to Syrian opposition groups as well as about 80,000 of the more than 200,000 refugees who have fled to surrounding countries to escape the bloodshed.
"The regime has become one of state terrorism," said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. "Syria is going through a huge humanitarian saga. Unfortunately, as usual, the international community is merely watching the slaughter, massacre and the elimination of Muslims."
The New York Times reported that U.S. officials believe Iran resumed shipments of military equipment to Syria via Iraqi airspace in July after a three-month hiatus.
Ali al-Moussawi, media adviser to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, confirmed that Iranian planes are flying over Iraq to deliver goods to Syria. But he said Tehran has assured al-Maliki that the flights are carrying only food and other humanitarian aid for victims of the civil war. "The Iraqi government is carefully monitoring this issue both in the sky and ground," al-Moussawi told The Associated Press.