ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that any international military intervention against Syria should be aimed at bringing an end to the rule of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The comments from Erdogan, long one of Assad’s fiercest critics, came as U.S. President Barack Obama said he was considering a narrow, limited U.S. response to last week’s chemical weapons attack in Syria.
“It can’t be a 24 hours hit-and-run,” Erdogan told reporters at a reception in the presidential palace in the capital Ankara. “What matters is stopping the bloodshed in Syria and weakening the regime to the point where it gives up.”
Erdogan cited the NATO operation against Yugoslavia during the Kosovo war as an example.
“If it is something like the example of Kosovo, the Syrian regime won’t be able to continue,” he said.
Erdogan said he would have bilateral discussions with Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin during the G-20 summit next week.
Earlier on Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said intelligence gathered by Ankara left no doubt that Assad’s forces were responsible for the poison gas attack near Damascus last week.
Turkey has said previously it would be ready to take part in any international action against Assad, even outside the auspices of the United Nations, and has put its armed forces on alert to guard against threats from Syria.
Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Andrew Roche