Arab League to Hold Emergency Talks on Turkey’s Syria Offensive

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A general view shows the meeting of the Arab League Foreign ministers in the Egyptian capital Cairo on December 21, 2013. The meeting has been called at the request of Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, League deputy secretary general Ahmed Ben Helli said, and aims to discuss troubled peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel. AFP PHOTO / HASSAN MOHAMED

The Arab League is convening an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss Turkey’s offensive against Kurdish forces in Syria, the body said Wednesday.

Following a request by Egypt, the region’s foreign ministers will gather in Cairo on October 12 “to discuss Turkish aggression on Syrian territory”, Hossam Zaki, the League’s assistant secretary-general, said in a statement late Wednesday.

The announcement came after Turkey launched airstrikes and artillery fire along the border with war-torn Syria earlier in the day, drawing international condemnation.

Backed by Syrian militants, it pushed on with a ground offensive in Tal Abyad, an area under the control of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Ankara’s attack follows an abrupt US policy shift which saw America withdraw its troops from positions in northern Syria, effectively greenlighting Turkey’s military operation.

Zaki deemed the offensive “an unacceptable assault on the sovereignty of an Arab member state exploiting its situation… and violating international law”.

In another statement earlier Wednesday, the League warned that the burgeoning attack “could help Daesh (the Islamic State group) regain some of its force”.

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