Turkey has made clear that it would like to see a safe haven created for the Syrian rebels near the Turkish border with Syria, but so far the United States government has resisted that idea because of concerns that protecting those areas would mean becoming more involved in a messy, protracted conflict.
“What the Turks want to know now is if they do it, will the U.S. be there with them?” said Andrew J. Tabler, an analyst with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “Not necessarily setting it up, but will they use air power to transport equipment or supplies or artillery and things like that?”
The Americans last met with Turkish leaders in June, and American officials said another meeting for the Friends of Syria — a larger group of countries opposing President Bashar al-Assad — is already planned for the end of August or early September. Mrs. Clinton, they said, will take what she learns in Turkey to the larger group.
The flurry of discussion is part of a competitive international effort arising in the wake of the United Nations failure to broker some kind of peace in Syria. Mrs. Clinton is meeting with Turkish officials and opposition leaders just two days after Iran, Syria’s main ally, hosted its own meeting with representatives from around 30 countries, including China and Russia, which have refused to support any international intervention that would hasten Mr. Assad’s departure.
About 6,000 Syrians have arrived in Turkey in the past week alone, lugging mattresses, clothing and family mementos while bringing the officially registered refugee population here to more than 50,000.