Erdogan Slams Arab League for Lack of Support For Conflict-Affected Syrians - Reports
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan criticised on Wednesday the League of Arab States (LAS) for its lack of support for Syrians amid the conflict in their country and noted that Ankara's ongoing operation was aimed at fighting Syria's oppressors and not Syrians themselves, the Daily Sabah newspaper reported.
According to the Turkish president, LAS member states have also failed to accept enough refugees from Syria. According to UN estimates, as of 4 July there are over 6.6 million Syrians registered as refugees seeking asylum in 45 countries worldwide. Turkey, as well as Arab League member states Lebanon and Jordan are among the most popular destinations for Syrian refugees.
Erdogan also slammed the Arab League's critical stance toward Turkey's ongoing offensive in northeastern Syria, the newspaper said.
"Turkey is not fighting against Syrians, it is fighting with Syrians against oppressors," Erdogan said at a meeting of the ruling Justice and Development Party in Ankara, as cited by the media.
The Turkish offensive in northern Syria, which began on 9 October, is part of Ankara's long-standing goal to clear its border area of both Kurdish militia and the Islamic State terrorist group (banned in Russia) and create a so-called safe zone along the cleared line. The military operation has already resulted in civilian deaths on both sides. Damascus views the operation as a violation of its territorial integrity.
On Saturday, the secretary-general of the Arab League, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, called on Turkey to immediately halt its military actions and withdraw troops from the war-torn Arab republic. A statement by the organisation said that the member states had agreed to consider political and economic measures against Turkey over what they called an invasion.
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