Turkey condemns Israeli air strikes in Syria

ANKARA Tue May 7, 2013 11:13am EDT

Damage is seen in what appears to be a chicken farm following an air strike near Damascus May 5, 2013, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters

Damage is seen in what appears to be a chicken farm following an air strike near Damascus May 5, 2013, in this handout photograph distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA.

Credit: Reuters/SANA/Handout via Reuters

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan condemned on Tuesday Israeli air strikes on targets near Damascus, saying they were an opportunity for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government to cover up its own killings.

"The air strike Israel carried out on Damascus is completely unacceptable. There is no rationale, no pretext that can excuse this operation," Erdogan told a parliamentary meeting of his ruling party.

"These attacks are chances, opportunities offered on a golden tray to Assad and to the illegitimate Syrian regime. Using the Israel attack as an excuse, he is trying to cover up the genocide in Banias," he said. Erdogan was referring to a Syrian coastal town where anti-Assad activists said at least 62 people were killed by government fighters over the weekend.

Israeli officials said the air strikes on Friday and Sunday were not intended to influence its neighbor's civil war but only at stopping Iranian missiles from reaching Lebanese Hezbollah militants for possible use against the Jewish state.

Iran's U.N. Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee complained to the United Nations about the air strikes, describing them as "provocative and unwarranted attacks."

"Nothing can justify the use of force and act of aggression against a sovereign state and the aggressor must be held accountable for any consequences stemming from this condemnable and illegitimate act which endangers regional and international peace and security," Khazaee wrote.

Residents and opposition sources said the Israeli warplanes struck elite Syrian troops in the valley of the Barada River that flows through Damascus and on Qasioun Mountain overlooking the capital. They said targets included air defenses, Republican Guards and a compound linked to chemical weapons.

Lebanon, which borders both Israel and Syria, has also condemned the air strikes and called on the U.N. Security Council to condemn violations of its air space by Israel.

(Reporting by Jonathon Burch and Michelle Nichols; Editing by Nick Tattersall, Mark Heinrich and Vicki Allen)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (14)
USinfidel wrote:
Don’t like the airstrikes Turkey? Just have Iran send the munitions to the Kurds on your border. Jerks!

May 07, 2013 7:24am EDT  --  Report as abuse
So let me get this straight, Assad is committing genocide but there is “no rationale, no pretext that can excuse this operation” sure, way to be objective about Israel dude. I’m sure it’s got nothing to do with them being Jewish and you being Muslim.

May 07, 2013 7:46am EDT  --  Report as abuse
McBob08 wrote:
@andrea.edelman: Considering it wasn’t a military target, but rather a civilian one that Israel attacked, then no, there is no rationale; no pretext that can excuse (that) operation. Israel is a loose cannon and it needs to be reigned in. Time to stop the military and financial support and to start applying serious sanctions to Israel. Israel is more of a nuclear threat to the Middle East and the rest of the world than Iran could ever hope to be, so it’s non-sensical to allow Israel to run ripshod over the sovereignty of other nations like this.

There’s no government massacre going on in Lebanon, but Israel invaded their airspace without even bothering to request permission. That is the action of a Rogue Nation, and I thought that the UN and America didn’t tolerate those.

May 07, 2013 8:25am EDT  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

Full focus