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Erdogan: Syrian Strike Should Topple Assad

Limited strikes in Syria are not enough, declares Turkey's Prime Minister as the U.S. mulls action in Syria.
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 8/31/2013, 12:00 AM

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
AFP photo

The goal of any military intervention in Syria should be to topple Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday.

Erdogan said that the limited strikes which the United States is reportedly planning against Syria would not be enough and pushed for a broader military offensive.

"A limited operation cannot be satisfactory for us," he was quoted as saying by the NTV news channel.

"An intervention akin to that decided for Kosovo must be launched. An operation of one or two days will not be enough. The goal should be to force the regime out," declared Erdogan.

His comments came as President Barack Obama reiterated that he has not made a final decision about a military strike against Syria, but added he is considering a limited action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week.

He said that while his preference would have been for the international community to move forward on a response to the chemical attack, he was in the planning process for a response to the chemical weapons use in Syria.

The comments came after the U.S. released an intelligence assessment that found with "high confidence" that Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's government carried out a chemical weapons attack last week.

Erdogan was once an ally of Assad but is now one of his fiercest critics and, since the beginning of the Syrian civil war, has repeatedly called on Assad to go.

The heightened tensions between Turkey and Syria have led to several cross-border incidents, including the explosion of a Syrian mortar in Turkish territory, which killed five civilians last year.

The Turkish army responded by attacking several targets in Syria. Turkey's parliament later gave the government the green light to use military force against Syria if necessary.

In another incident, Turkey intercepted a Syrian Airbus A320 flying from Moscow to Damascus and escorted it to the Esenboga Airport in Ankara.

Turkey later claimed it had seized "objectionable cargo" aboard the Syrian passenger plane. Syria, in turn, accused Turkey of lying.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)