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Occupied northern Syria ‘on verge of catastrophe,’ foreign minister says

OCCUPIED northern Syria is “on the verge of a catastrophe” the country’s foreign minister Faisal Mikdad said, with Turkey accused of building illegal settlements as it seeks demographic change.

The Syrian government minister warned that Ankara continues to violate international law and described the vision of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as “Satanic.”

Mr Mikdad made the comments in an exclusive interview with Russia’s Sputnik news agency on Monday in which he laid out the Syrian government’s opposition to Turkey’s actions. 

“Turkish practices in Syria are a blatant example of disregard for the minimum civilised and moral values, international law, and the Charter of the United Nations,” he said.

“The situation in northern Syria is on the verge of a disaster if Erdogan insists on the ongoing offensive there. 

“What he really plans is to cleanse the ethnic population and build new settlements in northern Syria.”

Turkey has threatened an invasion of northern Syria as Mr Erdogan seeks a 30km security buffer zone to protect his country from what he insists is a threat posed by terrorists. 

But others suggest that his plans will target Kurdish civilians as part of an attempted genocide and occupation of Syrian land. 

The Kurdish-led People’s Protection Units, which is linked to the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), has not carried out any cross-border attacks on Turkey.

Mr Mikdad said that Damascus must be supported in its “push for the expulsion of occupying Turkish forces in order to secure a political solution to the Syrian conflict.”

“The occupation of Syria’s territory by Turkey and the United States is a violation of Syrian sovereignty and is in contravention of international law and security council resolutions,” he said. 

The US has a number of bases in northern Syria and is accused of the theft of the country’s natural resources, including oil and wheat. 

Despite calls for an end to its illegal occupation of Syrian territory, the Kurdish-led forces continue to ask for an increased US presence there, insisting it is necessary in the fight against Isis. 

But Damascus says that Washington is in fact supporting jihadist terror groups and worsening the situation through punitive sanctions which hinder Syria’s ability to rebuild the country. 

Leader of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, Mazloum Abdi, who lives in a US base, is at odds with PKK military commander Cemil Bayik who favours reconciliation with the Syrian government. 

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