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Damascus slams Erdogan’s call for establishment of safe zone in northern Syria

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo by The Associated Press)

Syria has condemned in the strongest terms Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s call for the establishment of a safe zone in the occupied northern part of the Arab country, stressing that it will spare no effort to confront the conspiracy through various legitimate means.

"The cheap statements made by the Turkish head of state reveal the aggressive manipulations plotted by the Ankara regime against Syria, as well as the unity of its territory and people,” the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said in a statement carried by the official news agency SANA.

The statement went on to say that the “despicable bargains” made and carried out by Ankara exhibit the lack of the minimum level of political and moral understanding to deal with the crisis in Syria.

“The Turkish regime continues to be part of the crisis through its conspiracy against Syria and its involvement in the fragmentation project that only favors the goals of Israel, the United States, and the West," the Syrian foreign ministry noted.

The statement further highlighted that the creation of a so-called safe zone is not intended to protect the border areas between Syria and Turkey.

“Its main objective is rather colonialism... The so-called safe zone is in fact aimed at ethnic cleansing and creation of an explosive area that helps carry out terrorist plans against Syrian people,” the ministry pointed out.

The Syrian foreign ministry called on the international community not to work with Erdogan on the lands of other countries to achieve “shortsighted” goals that will have “catastrophic effects on security, peace and stability in the region and the world.”

Erdogan has urged the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members to support his country's efforts to establish a safe zone on the border with Syria.

“We have such a sensitivity as protecting our borders from attacks by terrorists' organizations,” the Turkish president told lawmakers from his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in parliament on Wednesday.

Turkey has deployed forces in Syria in violation of the Arab country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019 after Turkish military forces launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push fighters of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.

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.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials have said Damascus will respond through all legitimate means available to the ongoing ground offensive by Turkish forces in the northern part of the Arab country.

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