Syria regime says Turkish incursion would amount to 'war crimes'

Syria regime says Turkish incursion would amount to 'war crimes'
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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Monday said Ankara would soon create what he called 'safe zones' 19 miles beyond its southern borders and into Syria.
Erdogan said Turkey, which has already conducted three incursions into northern Syria since 2016, would create 'safe zones' [Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency/Getty-archive]

The Syrian regime foreign ministry said on Wednesday that it would consider any Turkish military incursions into Syria as "war crimes and crimes against humanity."

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday said Ankara would soon create what he called "safe zones" 19 miles (30 kilometres) beyond its southern borders to combat "terrorist" threats, in a likely reference to Kurdish armed groups in northern Syria.

Ankara has already conducted three incursions into northern Syria since 2016, mainly targeting the US-backed Syrian Kurdish YPG.

The group is believed to be linked to the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which has carried out numerous attacks in Turkey.

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The Syrian regime sees the incursions as a violation of Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity, though the areas Turkey currently has its eyes on are largely held by an autonomous Kurdish-led administration.

On Wednesday, the Syrian regime's foreign ministry said it had sent a letter to the United Nations secretary-general and the Security Council, describing Turkey's actions as illegitimate.

"They amount to what can be described as war crimes and crimes against humanity," it said in a statement carried by the regime's news agency.

The Syrian war erupted in 2011, when the Syrian regime brutally suppressed peaceful pro-democracy protests. Since then, the war has killed 500,000 people the vast majority killed in regime assaults on opposition towns.

Tens of thousands of activists have also been detained in dungeons where torture and extrajudicial killings are routine.

(Reuters)