Qatar on Tuesday defended Turkey’s anti-terror operation in northern Syria, saying Ankara can’t remain silent to threats from inside Syrian territory.
“Weapons and training provided to Kurdish groups during the war against Daesh represent an imminent threat to the Turkish security,” Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said at the Global Security Forum meeting in Doha.
He said Turkish warnings against arming the Kurdish groups in Syria have gone unheard.
“We can’t heap the blame on Turkey as Ankara wants to clear its territory and stand up against terrorism,” he said. “Turkey can’t remain silent until terror hits its territory.”
The top Qatari diplomat pointed out that Turkey has tried for more than a year to resolve the issue with the U.S. and ends threats along border.
“The threats are coming from specific groups linked to the PKK, which is a classified terrorist group,” he said.
“Ankara’s sole goal is to eradicate the threat there and Turkey does not want to stay on Syrian territory in the future,” he said.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the European Union — has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
*Bassel Barakat contributed to this report from Ankara
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