Turkey slams Arab League chief's statement on anti-terror operation in Syria

DAILY SABAH WITH AGENCIES
ISTANBUL
Published 12.10.2019 19:32
Updated 13.10.2019 18:22
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Turkey on Saturday strongly condemned the head of the Arab League for leveling allegations against the country's ongoing Operation Peace Spring east of the Euphrates River.

In a statement, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy said that Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit becomes a partner in crimes of terrorists and he betrayed the Arab world by accusing Turkey.

In his remarks at the Arab League meeting in Cairo, Aboul-Gheit had described the ongoing Turkish operation east of Euphrates as a "military invasion."

Aksoy said the Arab League criticized Turkey rather than the terrorist organization which tried to target the territorial integrity of Syria.

Turkish Presidency Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also condemned the remarks.

"I strongly condemn the Arab League for mischaracterizing Turkey's counter-terrorism operation in northeastern Syria as an "invasion" in a statement issued earlier today," Altun said on Twitter.

Arab foreign ministers on Saturday condemned Turkey's anti-terror operation, calling for an immediate withdrawal of Ankara's troops.

The statement came after an emergency session of the Arab League in Cairo called for by Egypt.

The meeting comes a few days after Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria to secure its borders by eliminating terrorist elements and to ensure the safe return of Syrian refugees and Syria's territorial integrity.

Addressing the meeting, Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil underlined the importance of returning Syria to the Cairo-based Arab League.

Syria's membership in the league has been suspended since 2011, when the Bashar Assad regime launched a harsh crackdown on pro-democracy protests, sparking eight years of civil war.

Saturday's meeting saw speeches by the foreign ministers of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who called for halting the Turkish operation and reaching a political solution to the conflict in Syria.

Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring, the third in a series of cross-border anti-terror operations in northern Syria targeting terrorists affiliated with Daesh and the PKK's Syrian offshoot the People's Protection Units (YPG), on Oct. 9 at 4 p.m.

The operation, conducted in line with the country's right to self-defense borne out of international law and U.N. Security Council resolutions, aims to establish a terror-free safe zone for Syrians return in the area east of the Euphrates River controlled by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by YPG terrorists.

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