Qatar, Hamas Defend Turkish Incursion Into Syria

Turkey is trying to push 'the threat away from its borders,' Qatar's Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said

Smoke billows from targets inside Syria during bombardment by Turkish forces Wednesday, October 9, 2019.
Lefteris Pitarakis,AP

Qatar defended Turkey and its military campaign in northern Syria on Tuesday, with Doha saying its ally's operations are aimed at confronting "an imminent threat" to Ankara's security.

Turkey is trying to push "the threat away from its borders," Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said while addressing the Global Security Forum in the capital, Doha.

Last week, Turkey launched a long-threatened incursion into northern Syria, targeting the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Syrian-Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which Turkey considers to be linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) that is waging an insurgency on Turkish soil.

Ankara has tried "to solve this issue for more than a year with the United States, to create a safe zone," the minister said.

"They are not there with a desire to stay," he added, during the session broadcast by Al Jazeera.

Hamas also backed Turkey's right to defend its border in a statement Monday, saying the group rejects the "Zionist and American presence in the region" and affirms "the unity and territorial integrity of the state of Syria."

Turkey supported Qatar when four Arab countries broke ties with Doha in 2017 and launched a boycott of the country, saying it was linked to extremist groups and was cooperating with Iran.

Along with Iran, Turkey quickly stepped in to ensure steady supplies of food and other goods to Doha.