Turkish protesters have staged a demonstration in the southern province of Hatay near the border with Syria to condemn their country’s policy of interfering in Syria.
A number of Turkey’s social figures and lawmakers attended the event in the city of Antakya, located about 680 kilometers (423 miles) southwest of the capital, Ankara, on Sunday. The demonstration was organized by the Turkish Peace Association and the International Peace Council.
The demonstrators lauded the Syrian government’s firm resistance against the more than two-year-old foreign-backed militancy in Syria, stating that the country is withstanding Western imperialism and defending its national sovereignty and identity.
They also denounced Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party’s policy vis-à-vis the ongoing crisis in Syria, and voiced their outrage over Ankara’s interference in the internal affairs of Syria.
The Syrian government says the chaos that erupted in March 2011 is being orchestrated from outside the country. Many people, including large numbers of Syrian security forces, have been killed in the turmoil.
Damascus has repeatedly stated that the West and its regional allies including Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are supporting the militant groups in Syria.
Several international human rights organizations have also said the militants are committing war crimes.
Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad recently said if the militants take power in the country, they could destabilize the entire Middle East for decades.
“If the unrest in Syria leads to the partitioning of the country, or if the terrorist forces take control… the situation will inevitably spill over into neighboring countries and create a domino effect throughout the Middle East and beyond.”
The turmoil has also taken its toll on the humanitarian situation in Syria.
On April 18, UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos and High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres told the UN Security Council that a quarter of Syria’s more than 22 million people are displaced within the country and 1.3 million have fled to other states in the Middle East and North Africa.