ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday harshly criticized Western nations for inaction in the face of resurging reports about a chemical attack by the Syrian regime on civilians in a rebel-held Damascus suburb, arguing those countries no longer had a right “to complain of terrorism.”
“Oh, the West, when are you going to look at and see the murdered, martyred babies, the children, and women in Eastern Ghouta so that we can say that you are being just,” Erdogan said during a provincial convention of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
At least 49 people in Ghouta’s Douma city died by suffocation following reports of a chemical attack by the Russian and Iranian-backed Syrian regime which is trying to wrestle the region near the capital from the armed opposition.
US President Donald Trump’s initial reaction was furious.
“Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria. Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad,” Trump tweeted.
“Shame on you. Shame on your understanding of democracy, human rights, and diplomacy,” Erdogan said, accusing the West of being responsible for the tragedy.
The European Union said evidence was pointing toward “yet another chemical attack by the regime,” calling for an immediate response by the international community.
“None of these countries [the West] now has the right to complain of terrorist groups, terrorism, and terrorist activities,” Erdogan continued, in remarks carried by the state media.
He made no mention of Russia and Iran whose continued financial and military sponsorship of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has proven vital and effective in the survival of the regime.
Erdogan, a backer of the Syrian opposition, for years since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2012 called on the US to oust Assad militarily.
However, since 2016, Ankara forged a warming relationship with Moscow and Tehran to counter US-armed Syrian Kurds’ coming to prominence in the fight against the Islamic State (IS).
With a Russian green light, Turkey staged an invasion of the Kurdish region of Afrin in Syria in January as the Damascus government stepped up its campaign to capture Ghouta.
Earlier this week, Erdogan hosted his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani in Ankara at a summit as part of a trilateral mechanism to calm the war in Syria where they are on warring sides.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany