New Delhi, Oct 14 (IANS) Syria on Monday slammed Turkey over its attack on northeast Syria, which it said had the “secret backing” of America, and appreciated India for its “strong statement of support” to Damascus over the present situation, and also since the Syrian crisis began in 2011.
Syrian Ambassador to India Riad Abbas, addressing a press conference over the current crisis in his war-battered country that has added a question mark on when it will end, said that Turkey’s motive in launching the attack was aimed at “protecting” the Islamic State militants.
The Syrian envoy said his country is grateful to India for its support.
“India’s support has always been there for Syria… India has helped us with medicine, defence scholarships. We see India as a strong government, which has a strong voice in the international fora,” Abbas said.
“India supports Syria in many ways, it is a humanitarian issue, India supports with medicine, with many scholarships, and in international arena, India is against terror groups,” Abbas told IANS.
“India issued a strong statement against the Turkish invasion, and we appreciate the statement and look forward to enhance our engagement,” he added.
India has voiced deep concern over Turkey’s “unilateral military offensive in northeast Syria” and said it can undermine stability in the region and the fight against terrorism.
On Pakistan’s backing of Turkey’s attack, the envoy said: “Turkey supports terrorism, and terrorist groups in Syria, and all who support Turkey thus end up supporting terrorism.”
“We are against all those statements who support Turkey’s invasion in Syria, all those who support Turkey should know what Turkey supports (terrorism), and why do they support Turkey in its backing of terrorism, we should know,” Abbas told IANS.
He said that Turkey was hand in glove with all terror groups, and buying oil from them, with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son Bilal directly involved in the oil trade with the ISIS.
On the Free Syrian Army, he said they were all radicalised and being used by Turkish army against the Syrian people. He said they were all part of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.
The envoy said that Turkey has sullied the name of Islam through its involvement with terror. “The Turkish religion is not the Islamic religion,” he said.
The envoy said Syria calls on all foreign troops, including the US, to leave the country.
“US troops are still illegally inside Syria, and now are re-deployed to some other part of Syria,” he said.
On Monday, the Syrian army entered the city of Tabqa in the northern countryside of Raqqa province, as part of its move to enter Kurdish-held areas to counter the ongoing Turkish assault in the region.
State-run news agency SANA said the army entered Tabqa and its namesake military air base as well as the town of Ayn Issa, reports Xinhua news agency.
These areas are all under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The development comes after a deal was reached on Sunday between the Syrian government and the Kurdish forces under the mediation of Russia to counter Turkey’s military progress.
The Syrian army started to deploy troops toward Kurdish-controlled areas near the Turkish border after the deal.
On October 9, Turkey and its allied Syrian rebel groups launched a military operation to eliminate Kurdish forces in northern Syria, in order to end what Ankara perceives as the threat of “terrorists and separatists” on its southern border and to impose a safe zone for millions of Syrian refugees being hosted inside Turkey.