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Arab Foreign Ministers Slam Turkish 'Aggression' Against Kurds in Northern Syria

The deadly offensive launched Wednesday has sparked broad international condemnation and threats of sanctions. Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit slammed the Turkish attack as an 'invasion of an Arab land'.

AFP

Updated:October 12, 2019, 10:21 PM IST
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Arab Foreign Ministers Slam Turkish 'Aggression' Against Kurds in Northern Syria
Syrians flee shelling by Turkish forces in Ras al Ayn, northeast Syria. (Image: AP)

Cairo: Arab foreign ministers on Saturday condemned Turkey's "aggression" in Syria where it is pressing an offensive against Kurdish forces, 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 to discuss Turkey's assault on the Kurds, who have carved out a fragile semi-autonomy in Syria's northeast.

The deadly offensive launched Wednesday has sparked broad international condemnation and threats of sanctions. Arab League chief Ahmed Aboul Gheit slammed the Turkish attack as an "invasion of an Arab land".

The ministers called for "ending the aggression and the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Turkey from all of Syria's land", the statement said.

The group said Ankara's offensive was a "direct threat to Arab national security", adding they would consider "urgent measures to confront the Turkish aggression".

The potential responses included diplomatic and economic actions, as well as "military cooperation to confront the Turkish aggression", the statement said.

The foreign ministers of Iraq and Lebanon also called for Syria's Arab League membership to be unfrozen. Damascus has been suspended from the pan-Arab bloc since 2011 over its bloody crackdown on protestors.

The Kurds served as the main ground partner in the US-led fight against the Islamic State group in Syria, where they overran the last scrap of the jihadists' "caliphate" in March.

Turkey says the main Kurdish militia in Syria is a "terrorist" group with links to its own Kurdish insurgency.

Ankara's military campaign appeared almost inevitable after President Donald Trump announced Sunday that US troops deployed in northern Syria were pulling back from the border.​

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