Arab League condemns Turkish incursion, considering diplomatic, economic measures

The Arab League following an emergency meeting on Saturday condemned Turkey’s military offensive in northeast Syria, calling the incursion an “invasion of an Arab state’s land and an aggression on its sovereignty.”

The Arab League is considering taking diplomatic, economic, investment and tourism measures against Turkey, Al-Arabiya quoted the Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit Aboul Gheit as saying during the meeting in Cairo.

Tens of thousands have fled northeast Syria as Turkish forces advance in the region on day four of an offensive targeting Kurdish forces. 

Turkey plans to establish a safe zone stretching along its border inside Syria to remove the majority-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which Turkey sees as a security threat due to its links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an armed group that has been at war in Turkey for over three decades.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil said it was time for Syria to rejoin the Arab League, Al-Arabiya reported, with Aboul Gheit stating that Syria's return to the league is subject to required measures that the authorities in Damascus will be required to take.

Iraq’s Foreign Minister Mohamad Ali al-Hakim said that Baghdad is set to submit a formal request for Syria's return to the Arab League.

Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir on Saturday echoed a previous condemnation by the kingdom, stating that Riyadh condemns the Turkish offensive in northeast Syria.

Saudi Arabia demands an immediate halt to the military operations, al-Jubeir said, adding that the incursion is causing the Syrian people further suffering.

The UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash also condemned the Turkish incursion, calling on the international community to shoulder its responsibilities to stop the Turkish attacks on Syria.

“We call for the exit of Turkey and its forces, as well as all foreign forces that have violated this Arab country - and to push for a successful political solution,” the minister said.

Bahrain rejects any aggression by any party against Arab countries, the country’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said on Saturday, further calling on the countries’ to maintain and confront any threats to Arab national security.

Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has also said the country rejects the attacks on Syria.

The SDF’s death toll has reached 74 on day four of the Turkish incursion in northeast Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. 

More than 200,000 people have fled their homes due to the fighting, according to the war monitor.

Turkish air strikes on Kurdish-held towns along with intense artillery exchanges have led to casualties on both sides of the border, with 28 dead on the Syrian side, according to the Observatory, and 17 dead in Turkey, according to Turkish reports.