Kremlin Asks Turkey to Explain Erdogan's Remark about Toppling Assad

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TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The Kremlin said on Wednesday that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan's statement that his forces in Syria were there to topple President Bashar al-Assad had come as a surprise to Moscow and that it expected an explanation from Ankara.

In a speech on Tuesday, Erdogan condemned what he said was the failure of the United Nations in Syria and cast Turkey's incursion in August, when it sent tanks, fighter jets and special forces over the border, as an act of exasperation.

"We are there to bring justice. We are there to end the rule of the cruel Assad, who has been spreading state terror," Erdogan said.

"The announcement really came as news to us," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call, Reuters reported.

"It is a very serious statement and one which differs from previous ones and with our understanding of the situation. We hope that our Turkish partners will provide us with some kind of explanation about this."

Back in August, Turkey launched an incursion into Syria, claiming that it was meant to engage both Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) terrorists in the Syrian-Turkish border area and Kurdish forces, who were themselves fighting Daesh. Damascus has on multiple occasions condemned Turkey’s military intervention as a breach of its sovereignty.

Earlier in the day, the Arab League denounced Turkey’s interference in the affairs of Syria, stressing that the Ankara’s support for terrorists has now backfired.

“The issue has to be handed over to the Syrians, opposition and government, excluding of course the terrorist groups,” said Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the secretary general of the League.

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