Damascus dubs Turkish incursion 'flagrant aggression'

AFP , Sunday 22 Feb 2015

Syria said Sunday that an overnight incursion by Turkish troops to evacuate an historic tomb and the soldiers guarding it was a "flagrant aggression".

"Turkey is not satisfied with merely giving all kinds of support to its puppets Daesh (the Islamic State group), (Al-Qaeda affiliate) the Al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups," said a foreign ministry statement carried by the official SANA news agency.

"It even carried out... a flagrant aggression against Syrian territory."

The foreign ministry said its consulate in Istanbul had been informed by Ankara on Saturday evening of its plans to mount the operation deep inside Syria to evacuate soldiers guarding the tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of the Ottoman empire's founder, Osman I.

"But as usual (Turkey) did not wait for Syria's consent."

The ministry said the operation, in territory controlled by IS jihadists, was proof of "the close ties between the Turkish government and the terrorists".

Separately, the main opposition Syrian National Coalition, which is strongly backed by Ankara, said it had been told in advance of the incursion.

"The Turkish government officially informed the coalition that its troops would enter Syrian territory," it said.

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