Arab League rejects Turkish offensive in northern Syria

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-10 00:13:11|Editor: yan
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CAIRO, Oct. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Arab League (AL) expressed rejection of the ongoing Turkish offensive in northern Syria, saying it violates the sovereignty of the war-torn country, an AL official said on Wednesday.

"Turkey should not carry out such a military operation regardless of the pretexts it uses for justification," AL Assistant Secretary-General Hossam Zaki said in a statement.

Zaki's remarks came a few hours after Turkey launched a military offensive dubbed "Operation Peace Spring" against Kurdish forces in northern Syria bordering southern Turkey, which Ankara deems terrorists.

The AL official regretted the pan-Arab body's inability to play an active role in Syria after Damascus' membership at the league was suspended in 2011 over violent crackdown on protests.

Zaki explained that AL chief Ahmed Aboul-Gheit tried to engage the AL in the settlement of the Syrian crisis but efforts were not successful enough so far.

The Cairo-based Arab organization said in an earlier statement on Wednesday, before the Turkish operation started, that Ankara's move would be "a blatant violation against Syrian sovereignty and a serious threat to Syria's territorial integrity."

It added that such an offensive might cause more deterioration of humanitarian and security conditions in Syria, incite more conflicts and "allow the Islamic State (IS) to restore some of its power."

"Foreign intervention in Syria from any side is rejected and condemned," the AL statement stressed, urging all sides to pave the way for the political process in Syria instead of more military escalation.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Wednesday that the operation in northern Syria is carried out in cooperation with the Syrian National Army.

Ankara views the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the People's Protection Unit (YPG) as terrorists allied with Turkey's Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), according to Erdogan.

Kurdish forces were key allies of the United States in fighting the IS in Syria, which is why the Kurds, as well as critics of U.S. President Donald Trump, considered the recent withdrawal of U.S. troops from northern Syria ahead of Turkey's offensive "a stab in the back."