Arab League chief says Turkey's operation in Syria 'military invasion'

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An Arab League emergency meeting is held in Cairo, Egypt, Oct. 12, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

Arab League (AL) Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit described on Saturday the ongoing Turkish military operation in northern Syria as a "military invasion."

Aboul-Gheit's remarks came during an AL emergency meeting at the level of foreign ministers which kicked off Saturday in Cairo to discuss the Turkish military operation in Syria.

"What Turkey is doing in Syria is a military offensive that violates the international legitimacy," Aboul-Gheit said, accusing Ankara of committing "war crimes and crimes against humanity in Syria."

He warned that the number of fleeing Syrians due to the Turkish operation may reach 300,000.

Aboul-Gheit pointed out that 12,000 prisoners from the Islamic State extremist group are held at seven prisons in the areas Turkey is going to capture, 4,000 of them foreigners.

The AL chief also said the Turkish offensive threatens regional and international stability, urging the international community to shoulder responsibility against this operation that "threatens the global security."

Turkey launched a military operation on Wednesday in northern Syria against the Kurdish militia known as the People's Protection Units, seen by Ankara as the Syrian offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party.

Through the ground offensive, Turkey wants to create a safe zone on the Kurdish militia-held territory along its border.

The operation came after U.S. President Donald Trump unexpectedly withdrew American troops from the area following a phone call on Sunday with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The "Operation Peace Spring" has sparked widespread condemnation from around the world.

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