Turkey Hits Iran for Ignoring Syrian Deaths


AMMAN, Jordan - Iran's foreign minister on Tuesday said it is Syria's Arab neighbors - not Tehran - who should respond to Israel's recent airstrikes near Damascus, while Turkey criticized Iran for “turning a blind eye” to massacres by Syrian troops.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi made his remarks during a visit to the Jordanian capital, Amman.

Arab nations "must stand by their brethren in Damascus," he said, and warned of "serious repercussions from a political vacuum" should President Bashar Assad's regime collapse.

Turkish Foreign Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in a speech to members of the country’s parliament, criticized the Israeli air strikes and slammed the international community for ignoring the bloodshed in Syria but singled out Iran for ignoring the killings of civilians by Assad’s military.

Erdogan said the Israeli airstrikes into Syria were "unacceptable" and amounted to "handing over (to Assad) opportunities on a golden tray."

Assad “has not sweated a single drop against Israel for the (occupation of the) Golan Heights [but] is now using the Israeli attack to cover up the Banias massacre."

Erdogan was referring to the Syrian coastal town of Banias, where activists say dozens of people, including children, were killed by pro-government gunmen.

Over the weekend, Israeli warplanes targeted what Israel claimed were caches of Iranian missiles bound for the Lebanese militant Hezbollah group.

Syrian activists said Sunday's airstrike on a sprawling military complex near Damascus killed at least 42 Syrian soldiers.

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Syria Iran Turkey