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Syria wants U.N. action against Turkey over Paris attacks suspect

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Syria called on the United Nations Security Council to take action against Turkey for allowing a French woman linked to militant attacks in Paris to illegally enter Syria along with other foreign fighters.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is seen during an interview in Damascus with the magazine, Literarni Noviny newspaper, in this handout picture taken January 8, 2015 by Syria's national news agency SANA. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters

France launched a search for 26-year-old Hayat Boumeddiene after police killed her partner Amedy Coulibaly while storming a Jewish supermarket where he had taken hostages earlier this month. Authorities described her as armed and dangerous.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said Boumeddiene arrived in Istanbul from Madrid on Jan. 2 and that Paris had not asked that she be denied access. Boumeddiene crossed into Syria on Jan. 8, he said.

“That statement is a formal admission of a point that we have repeatedly made ... that Turkey remains the main channel to smuggle foreign terrorists and mercenaries from around the world into Syria,” Syria’s U.N. Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari wrote in a letter to the Security Council and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon.

“The country is also a route through which they return to their countries or travel to third States,” Ja’afari wrote in the Jan. 12 letter made public on Wednesday.

Damascus has repeatedly accused Turkey of supporting militants during its nearly four year civil war. Turkey denies enabling passage of foreign fighters who have swollen the ranks of al Qaeda-linked groups, but has faced widespread criticism for allowing thousands of them to cross into Syria.

Any action is unlikely as the 15-member council has been largely deadlocked on how to end the Syrian conflict with Damascus ally Russia, backed by China, pitted against the United States, Britain, France and other western and Arab states.

Coulibaly said he carried out the Jewish supermarket attack in the name of Islamic State, a militant group that has seized swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria. His siege came after two gunman attacked satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Seventeen people were killed in three days of violence.

Ja’afari said that Turkey, by allowing foreign fighters to pass through the country and into Syria, was violating Security Council counter-terrorism resolutions.

“The Syrian Arab Republic therefore calls on the Security Council and the international community to take effective action to condemn and curb the Turkish regime’s policies,” Ja’afari wrote. “The Turkish regime must be held accountable for those policies, which endanger international peace and security.”

Turkey’s mission to the United Nations was not immediately available for comment on the accusations by Ja’afari.

Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Editing by Christian Plumb