Emergency meeting of Arab League on Turkey’s aggression against Syria attended by foriegn ministers in Cairo, Egypt. October 12, 2019. Egypt Today
CAIRO - 12 October 2019: The Arab League held an emergency meeting on Saturday and issued a closing statement asserting that Turkey’s aggression on Syria is a threat to the region’s security and that it must be held responsible, if terror organizations rebuild.
The statement called upon the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to fulfill its duty with regard to the Turkish aggression against Syria. The Arab foreign ministers also agreed to consider severing diplomatic and economic ties with Turkey, including tourism and cultural activities, and halting military cooperation with it.
Qatar and Somalia expressed reservations upon the statement that described the Turkish offensive as a breach of the UNSC 2254 resolution, which was adopted in December 2015 and calls for a ceasefire and a political settlement in Syria.
The statement affirmed total rejection of any Turkish attempts to impose demographic changes in Syria by using force under the pretext of creating a “buffer zone” as such an act would be a breach of international law and a war crime against humanity.
The Arab League will contact the UN secretary general to transmit the content of the statement to all member states in the form of an official document. The league will also examine with the United Nations the possibility of organizing a visit by an Arab ministerial delegation to the UNSC to follow up on the matter and work on stopping the aggression.
“Turkish interference in Arab countries” has been introduced as a permanent item on the agendas of all future ministerial meetings and a committee will be formed to follow-up on that measure.
Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Abou El Gheit said in his speech at the meeting that the league condemns the Turkish aggression on Syria and that Turkey seeks to alter the ethnic nature of the attacked area.
Abou El Gheit added that Syria’s security is part of the Arab World’s national security urging Turkey to stop its military operations and withdraw its forces from Syrian territories. Abou El Gheit also expressed the league’s rejection of Turkey’s use of refugees to lobby the international community.
The Arab League’s secretary general accused Turkey of attempting to occupy Syrian territories. He urged the UNSC to intervene and stressed the necessity to reach an international agreement that condemns and stops the Turkish aggression on Syria. Abou El Gheit pointed out that nearly 300,000 citizens have been displaced as a consequence expressing worries of ethnic cleansing.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shokry asserted that Turkey must be held accountable for any repercussions that ensue from its aggression on Syrian territories urging the international community to bear its responsibilities with regard to that assault.
Foreign Minister Sameh Shokry in the Arab League emergency meeting on Turkey’s aggression against Syria in Cairo, Egypt. October 12, 2019. Egypt Today
Shokry added that it is the right of all Syrians to defend themselves against the offensive that breaches all relevant international laws stressing that Egypt will be among the first states to support Arab efforts in the face of that aggression and hold liable its perpetrators.
Shokry said that halting the assault on Syria is an international condition to start UN-backed negotiations aimed at settling the Syrian crisis backed. He added that the offensive is an unacceptable occupation of an Arab state.
The minister added that Turkey has started a new chapter of blatant assault on Syria’s sovereignty, which is a founding member of the Arab League. He said that Turkey exploits the harsh conditions of Syria in order to reinstate a reign that went obsolete and overcome an internal crisis.
Shokry described Turkey’s claims of combatting terrorism Northern Syria as both ironic and astonishing explaining that Turkey has been backing terror groups as it directly supports entities and individuals that are involved in terrorism and plays a role in facilitating the transportation of terrorist militants into Arab states.
The foreign minister added that Turkish claims are just attempts to conceal those facts, and that Arab people look forward to a strong Arab stance that rejects the aggression and to measures that ensure the territorial integrity of Syria, the protection of its people and the alleviation of their suffering.
On Wednesday, Turkey launched an offensive Northern Syria after the withdrawal of the U.S. forces leaving their former ally, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in a deadly confrontation. The Kurdish forces hold 11,000 Islamic State (IS) militants, who were captured in different operations. However, there is a risk they may flee amid the offensive while the SDF are fending for themselves, trying to repulse multiple ground attacks along a roughly 120-kilometre (75-mile) stretch of the border.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights announced on Saturday that four civilians were killed in Tal Abyad when an airstrike hit the car in which they were fleeing the fighting, while another three were shot dead by snipers around the border town.
That brings the civilian death toll to 17 on the Syrian side, while 17 have also been killed in Turkey.
According to the monitor, 54 SDF fighters have also been killed while Turkey has reported the deaths of four soldiers.
Ras al-Ain, Tal Abyad and other border towns between them have been almost emptied in a huge wave of displacement.
Most of those fleeing were heading east towards the city of Hasakeh, which has not been targeted by Turkey.
Additional reporting by AFP