0322 GMT November 20, 2019
Speaking on Saturday in the southern border city of Kilis, where the number of Syrian refugees is higher than the local Turkish population, Erdogan said that some countries, which he did not name, were backing the militants as part of their “dirty calculations” in the region.
Erdogan further accused Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of being a “more advanced terrorist” than Daesh as well as the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and its affiliate, the Democratic Union Party (PYD).
Turkey says the YPG is linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militant group, which has been engaged in a three-decade fight for autonomy in Turkey’s Kurdish-dominated southeast.
The remarks came five days after a deadly assault on Istanbul’s international airport which was blamed on Daesh.
According to media reports, 45 people, including foreign nationals, were killed in the fatal gun and bomb attack and more than 200 others sustained injuries.
This is while Turkey stands accused of actively training and arming the Takfiri elements in Syria and facilitating their safe passage into the Arab country which has been gripped by foreign-sponsored militancy since March 2011.
Analysts say the Ataturk airport carnage indicated that Ankara’ support for militants fighting against Syrian government forces has backfired.
In another development on Saturday, Abdulsukur Mert, the ex-mayor of Ovakent, located close to the Syrian border, said that militants from the Caucasus and Central Asia used Turkey as a base before the Syrian conflict broke out.
In an interview with Russia’s Sputnik news agency, Mert noted that the militants from Uzbekiatan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan left for Syria after spending some time in Turkey.
“We later learned that many of those who had arrived here from Uzbekiatan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan were heading to Syria to join the ranks of either the opposition or Daesh,” Mert said.
The comments came as three suspected Daesh terrorists, who set off their explosives at the Istanbul airport were said to be from Russia, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.