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Turkey welcomes strikes on Syria as 'appropriate'

By AFP

Added 14th April 2018 02:23 PM

"Turkey considers the operation carried out early this morning by the United States, United Kingdom and France to be an appropriate response to the chemical attack which caused the deaths of many civilians in Douma on April 7", the foreign ministry said.

Turkey welcomes strikes on Syria as 'appropriate'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo/File

"Turkey considers the operation carried out early this morning by the United States, United Kingdom and France to be an appropriate response to the chemical attack which caused the deaths of many civilians in Douma on April 7", the foreign ministry said.

Turkey on Saturday welcomed Western strikes targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime as an "appropriate response" to a suspected chemical attack that left dozens dead.

"We welcome this operation which has eased humanity's conscience in the face of the attack in Douma, largely suspected to have been carried out by the regime," the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

The United States, Britain and France carried out a wave of strikes against Assad's regime on Saturday a week after the suspected deadly gas attack on the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma.

"Turkey considers the operation carried out early this morning by the United States, United Kingdom and France to be an appropriate response to the chemical attack which caused the deaths of many civilians in Douma on April 7", the foreign ministry said.

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said the strikes had not been launched via Turkey's southern Incirlik air base.

"Turkey was informed ahead of the attack," he wrote on Twitter. "The Incirlik base was not used in the attack."

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said his country "clearly condemned" the use of chemical weapons since the very beginning, in a phone call with British Prime Minister Theresa May Saturday, a Turkish presidential source said.

Erdogan told May that the only way to long-lasting peace in Syria was a "political solution," the source added. The Turkish leader also emphasised the importance of de-escalating the tension in the region. 

Ankara said chemical weapons attacks that indiscriminately target civilians "constitute crimes against humanity" and should not go unpunished.

"The Syrian regime, which has been tyrannising its own people for more than seven years, be it with conventional or chemical weapons, has a proven track record of crimes against humanity and war crimes," the foreign ministry said.

"The conscience of the international community is in no doubt about that."

Turkey is a vocal critic of Assad's regime in Damascus and backed rebels fighting for his ouster. In recent months however it has closely worked with Russia for a political solution in Syria even though Moscow remains a chief ally of the regime.

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