Turkey on Tuesday lashed out at what it called “unacceptable” remarks by a senior US official suggesting Ankara had encouraged the rise of Al Qaeda-linked groups in Syria’s Idlib province.
Brett McGurk, the senior US envoy to the international coalition fighting the ISIL group, said Idlib province had become “the largest Al-Qaeda safe haven”.
In comments to the Washington-based think tank the Middle East Institute last week, McGurk criticized some US partners for sending in “tens of thousands of tons of weapons” to Syria. He did not name which partners.
He added that the way those foreign fighters come in to Syria “may not have been the best approach” because Al-Qaeda had taken full advantage of it.
“And Idlib now is a huge problem. It is an Al-Qaeda safe haven right on the border of Turkey. So that’s something, obviously, we will be in very close discussions with the Turks on.”