Despite having repeatedly spoken out against Syrian President Bashar Assad,
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday said that alleged Israeli
air raids in Syria were “unacceptable.”
“The air strike Israel carried
out on Damascus is completely unacceptable. There is no rationale, no pretext
that can excuse this operation,” Erdogan told members of his AKP
“These attacks are chances, opportunities offered on a golden
tray to Assad and to the illegitimate Syrian regime. Using the Israel
attack as an excuse, he is trying to cover up the genocide in Banias,” he
Erdogan was referring to a Syrian coastal town where anti- Assad
activists said at least 62 people were killed by government fighters over the
According to a report in the Turkish daily Today’s Zaman on
Monday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman rejected a report in Britain’s
Sunday Times that stated Turkey agreed to join three Arab countries and Israel
to set up an early warning system to detect Iranian-ballistic
Syria’s SANA news agency responded to Erdogan’s criticism on
Monday, quoting a media source as stating, “Erdogan’s courage is evident in
sending chemical weapons to terrorists and car bombs to Syria, not to mention
training the extremist terrorists who are committing crimes and destroying holy
tombs and stealing factories.”
The source also said that the Turkish
people have to hold Erdogan and his gang to account.
The Arab League,
Lebanon and Egypt condemned the reported attacks on Syria on Sunday. The League
called for the UN Security Council to act to stop “Israel’s aggression,”
according to AFP. It said the attacks were a “dangerous violation of an Arab
Following suit, the Syrian opposition condemned the
air strikes. Israel had “taken advantage” of the conflict, the Syrian National
Coalition said, AFP reported.
Erdogan had previously remained silent on
the alleged air strikes, instead focusing his ire on Assad following two
separate massacres by regime forces over the weekend.
“If God permits, we
will see this criminal, this murderer, receive his judgment in this world and we
will be grateful to [God] for it,” Turkish daily Hurriyet quoted Erdogan as
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu mocked Damascus
for not responding to the reported attacks, saying on Sunday, “Why doesn’t it
[Syria] throw even a pebble [at Israel]?” Israeli officials said the air strikes
on Friday and Sunday were not directed at Assad’s regime, but only at stopping
Iranian missiles from reaching the Hezbollah terrorist
According to foreign media reports, the Israel Air Force
struck storage facilities near Damascus housing Iranian Fateh-110 missiles
destined for Hezbollah overnight Sunday for the second time in 48 hours, sending
flames and the sounds of blasts throughout the city.
Yaakov Lappin and
Reuters contributed to this report.
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