Middle East

France, Israel wanted a ‘terrorist state’ in Syria: Turkey

Turkey has accused France and Israel of seeking to establish “a terrorist state” within Syria where they are reportedly assisting Kurdish separatists in the Arab country’s north.

“They wanted to establish a terror state there,” Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Friday. “And this was spearheaded by France and Israel, I speak very clearly. This is the reason behind the breaking out.”

France has said it is imposing an immediate halt to arms exports to Turkey over Ankara’s operations in northern Syria, while Israel is considering sending arms to Kurdish militants.

France’s parliament on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution, reiterating “unwavering support” for the Kurds who are the target of of Turkish attacks in northern Syria.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Thursday summoned the French ambassador and condemned the resolution.

“It is obvious that France took this decision after its plan to establish a terrorist state in Syria failed,” the ministry said.

Last month, Turkish troops launched a cross-border offensive into northeastern Syria in a declared attempt to clear YPG Kurdish militants from border areas and establish a “safe zone” there.

Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

The YPG constitutes the backbone of the SDF, an anti-Damascus alliance of predominantly Kurdish militants who maintains close ties with the United States as well.

The Turkish military operation came after the US abruptly pulled out its forces of the region, clearing the path for Ankara to go ahead with an offensive against Washington’s longtime Kurdish allies.

Ankara says it aims to create the 32km (20-mile) deep “safe zone” along the Syrian side of the border where up to two million Syrian refugees can be resettled.

Cavusoglu said some 365,000 Syrian refugees residing in Turkey have already returned to settlements within what Ankara insists is a safe zone.

When the White House announced on October 6 that the US would be withdrawing its forces from northeastern Syria, far-left and far-right parties in Israel rushed to express their overt support and sympathy for the abandoned Kurds.

Israel has long been backing militants operating against the Syrian government. The regime has, on several occasions, criticized Turkey for its operations against Kurdish militants.

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