Middle EastSyriaTurkey

Damascus slam Turkey’s ‘dangerous’ plan to open schools in Syria

Damascus has strongly objected to Turkey’s decision to open schools in northern Syria, calling the decision a “dangerous act” and a “flagrant violation of international law.”

In a statement on Sunday, an official source at the Syrian Foreign Ministry said the plan indicates Ankara’s intention to continue igniting and prolonging the crisis in the war-torn country, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported.

Turkey, it said, aims to support terrorist groups such as Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra to serve Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s personal agendas and to “achieve his ambitions and Ottoman illusions.”

The protest came after Ankara announced that it will open a healthcare vocational school and a medical faculty in Syria’s al-Rai town, located near the Turkish border. 

Ankara said the medical school will be established under the auspices of Turkey’s Health Sciences University in Aleppo province’s northern town of al-Rai, which is under the control of Turkish-backed militants.

“Syria rejects the Turkish regime’s decision to open a faculty and higher institute affiliated to Istanbul University in al-Rai town, north of Aleppo,” the Syrian statement said.

It said the Turkish government’s decision is a dangerous act that aims to expand Turkey’s dominance on Syrian territories in a flagrant violation of international law and the UN Charter.

Ankara’s move is nothing but the continuation of Turkish authorities’ policies toward Syria, it aded.

“Syria affirms that the attacks of the Turkish regime on its sovereignty, including the building of the so-called (separation wall) and adopting the policy of Turkification at the schools, in addition to dealing in the Turkish Lira, and opening an authority for the Turkish Post have been pretexts behind which this regime hides to justify its terrorist practices,” the source said.

The source renewed Syria’s demand that the UN Security Council shoulder its responsibilities in preserving international peace and security and ending the “crimes and attacks launched by the Turkish regime” against the Syrian people and the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Turkey has been involved militarily in the Syrian conflict since early 2011. It has provided the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA) with military assistance throughout the conflict.

In 2018 and 2019, Turkey launched cross-border military operations in northern Syria with the declared aim of eliminating Syrian Kurdish militants of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara regards as a terrorist organization tied to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Turkey has since taken control of several areas in northern Syria in addition to other Kurdish-controlled areas.

The Turkish military presence is viewed by the Syrian government as an attack against the Arab country’s sovereignty.

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