Syrian envoy welcomes India’s criticism of Turkey’s ‘military invasion’
Last week, India had criticised Turkey’s military offensive in Syria, which has led to tens of thousands of people fleeing their homes. The criticism was seen as an apparent riposte to Turkey’s backing for Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.Updated: Oct 14, 2019, 22:10 IST
Syria on Monday welcomed India’s statement criticising Turkey’s “unilateral military offensive” in the northeastern part of the country, with Syrian envoy Riad Kamel Abbas saying his nation condemned all forms of terrorism.
Last week, India criticised Turkey’s military offensive in Syria, which has led to tens of thousands of people fleeing their homes. The criticism was seen as an apparent riposte to Turkey’s backing for Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.
“On behalf of my government, we welcome the Indian statement on the Turkish invasion of Syria,” Abbas said during an interaction with reporters at the Syrian embassy. Syria appreciates India’s position on the matter because New Delhi has a “strong voice” in the world community, he said.
The external affairs ministry said in a statement on Thursday that India was “deeply concerned at the unilateral military offensive by Turkey in northeast Syria”. It added that Turkey’s actions could “undermine stability in the region and the fight against terrorism”, and also had the potential for causing humanitarian and civilian distress.
Abbas said Syria supports India’s stand on terrorism and also condemned all forms of the menace, including cross-border terror. He said he had met external affairs minister S Jaishankar and briefed him on the latest developments in Syria.
“Turkey supports terror and all countries (that) support Turkey, support terror,” he said in response to a query on Pakistan extending support for Turkey’s military actions in Syria.
The fighting has triggered concerns about the regrouping of the Islamic State, with about 10,000 members of the terror group held in northern Syria by Kurdish forces. There are already reports that hundreds of IS members and supporters have escaped from captivity and that Turkey-backed groups have executed Kurdish fighters and politicians.
Turkey launched the offensive against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces last week. Abbas said the Syrian government believes Turkey is committing a “war crime”.
“The Turkish regime’s invasion of Syria is clear aggression, and in violation of all international laws and the UN charter,” he said. He said the world community should pressure Turkey to “cease all its military activities and misadventures” in Syria.
The envoy thanked India for its support in the form of food grains, medicines and scholarships for Syrian students.