Arab League Condemns Turkey’s Syria Incursion, Calls for UN Action

Arab League foreign ministers condemned Turkey's military incursion into northern Syria. The League's secretary general, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said the group is calling on the U.N. Security Council to take action against Turkey.

At a meeting Saturday in Cairo, Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit called Turkey's military action an "invasion" and an "aggression" against an Arab state.

He said the Arab League "condemns the invasion and that the world must not accept it, either, since it contradicts international norms and international law, no matter what pretext the invader uses."

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali Hakim, who presided over the session, said the Turkish "invasion" would cause a further deterioration of the situation in Syria and a worsening of terrorism both in Syria and neighboring states, like Iraq.

He said Turkey's action represents a dangerous escalation that will worsen the humanitarian situation and increase the suffering of the Syrian people, in addition to allowing terrorists to regroup and weakening international efforts to fight terrorist groups, especially the Islamic State terror group, which threatens both the region and world.

The United Arab Emirate's minister of state for foreign affairs, Anwar Ghargash, also blasted what he called "Turkey's blatant aggression" against Syria and urged the international community to condemn it.

Ghargash said the Arab League is meeting at a time when the entire Arab nation is facing unprecedented threats and the region is facing a period of extreme danger, which requires a carefully thought out response, as some regional parties are behaving compulsively without consideration for the unity or sovereignty of a fraternal Arab state.

"Turkey's naked military aggression on northeast Syria," he said,"represents a threat to the sovereignty of all Arab states and exploits chaos in the country to flout all international norms and destabilize the region."

Egyptian state TV didn't broadcast the statement of Qatar's foreign minister, but Arab media reported that Qatar refused to endorse the Arab League decision to condemn the Turkish military operation. Qatar and Turkey have kept close ties since Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain imposed an economic boycott against Doha in June of 2018, for what they say is its support for terrorism.

Egyptian political sociologist Said Sadek told VOA the Arab League should have taken "stronger steps like economic sanctions" to punish Turkey for its aggression. "Turkey is an imperialist regional power with a long history of massacres in the area."

Dr. Paul Sullivan, a professor at the U.S. National Defense University, agrees with Sadek, saying, "The Turkish invasion has been condemned by most Arab states, [but] that condemnation needs to be followed up by actions to prevent bad things from happening," such as the "release of ISIS prisoners" and "ethnic cleansing in northern Syria. Operation 'peace spring' is not peace," he says, "and it will not bring springtime to Syria."

Theodore Karasik, a Washington-based Mideast analyst, insisted that we are "witnessing a shift in the landscape in the Arab world regarding this [Turkish] military action. Arab opinion," he argues, "is steeped in the ills of the Ottoman Empire and how Erdogan's actions fit the description."

Source: Voice of America