Arab League warns against foreign intervention in Syria
Over 250,000 people have been killed in the Syrian war since it erupted in 2011. (AFP/File)
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In its first comments on recent Russian airstrikes in Syria, the Cairo-based Arab League on Thursday declared that foreign intervention would not help resolve the ongoing conflict in the war-torn country.
“Foreign military intervention in Syria -- whether by Russia or the West -- will neither help resolve the conflict there nor eradicate terrorist organizations,” Ahmed bin Heli, deputy secretary-general of the Arab League, told reporters.
Russia has been carrying out airstrikes in Syria since Sept. 30 in a major escalation of its longstanding support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
While Moscow says it is targeting positions in Syria held by the Daesh militant group, the US and its allies say the Russian airstrikes are targeting “moderate” forces fighting the Assad regime.
Bin Heli called for stepped-up Arab, regional and international efforts with a view to helping Syria’s warring rivals find a political solution to the conflict, now in its fifth year.
“We must save this vitally important Arab country from collapse, division and chaos,” he said.
Syria has been gripped by bitter fighting since the Assad regime cracked down on anti-government protests -- which began in early 2011 as part of the “Arab Spring” uprisings -- with unexpected ferocity.
According to the UN, more than 250,000 people have since been killed in the conflict, which continues to pit several heavily-armed factions against one another.
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