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Turkey’s prime minister, opening his borders to those fleeing the government onslaught, has accused Assad’s regime of “savagery,” but also said he would reach out to the Syrian leader to help solve the crisis.

Turkey and Syria once nearly went to war, but the two countries have cultivated warm relations in recent years, lifting travel visa requirements for their citizens and promoting business ties.

They share a 520-mile (850-kilometer) border. Refugees and relatives on both sides appeared to be crossing unimpeded around the village of Guvecci.

In an apparent anticipation of more refugees, workers of the Turkish Red Crescent, the equivalent of the Red Cross, began building a fourth tent camp Monday near the border.

Mroue reported from Beirut.