DAMASCUS, Sept. 3 (Xinhua) -- Syria on Thursday called for joint international efforts to help address the snowballing refugee problem.
Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said his government is saddened by the drowning of Syrian refugees trying to seek asylum in Europe.
"We are not only sad. We are angry to see Syrians and others sinking down into the seas but what can we do in our circumstances," Mekdad said, vowing that his government will do anything to bring the phenomenon to an end.
His remarks came one day after the emergence of haunting images of the body of a three-year-old Syrian boy on a Turkish beach.
"I assure you that we will do anything to prevent such a phenomenon from continuing on. But in this respect, Syria needs the full support of the international community."
He called on all Syrians to come back to their country "because this is their right place of existence," Mekdad said, accusing Western media and Turkey of encouraging the Syrians to leave their country.
"The Syrian government cannot shy away from its own responsibility but under the present circumstances the best we can do is to encourage Syrians to stay here," Mekdad added.
Millions of Syrians have fled, seeking refuge in neighboring countries. Many seek to take the sea trip with smugglers to reach Europe.
Dozen of Syrians have drowned on their way to reach Europe, many of them women and children.