Erdogan wants Syria regime change, not limited strikes

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Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that any international military intervention against Syria should be aimed at overthrowing the President Bashar al-Assad from power.

“A limited operation cannot be satisfactory for us,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying by the NTV news channel.

“An intervention akin to that decided for Kosovo must be launched. An operation of one or two days will not be enough. The goal should be to force the regime out,” he said.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday that his administration and the military were looking at a “wide range of options” in Syria but had ruled out “boots on the ground” or a “long-term campaign.”

“We are looking at the possibility of a limited, narrow act,” he said.

Erdogan, whose country shares a long border with Syria, was once an ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad but is now one of his fiercest critics.

U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday that he is considering a “narrow” and “limited” attack on Syria. Obama said the ground forces would not take part in the attack.

Obama stressed that the main goal of an operation would be uphold the international norm that using chemical weapons is a red line. He said the conflict in Syria should be ultimately resolved diplomatically.

Obama’s efforts to put together an international coalition to support military action have been more down than up.

French President Francois Hollande has endorsed punitive strikes, and told the newspaper Le Monde that the “chemical massacre of Damascus cannot and must not remain unpunished.”

But British Prime Minister David Cameron’s attempt to win a vote of approval in Parliament for military action ended in ignominious defeat on Thursday. American attempts to secure backing at the United Nations have been blocked by Russia, long an ally of Syria.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged a delay in any military action until the inspectors can present their findings to U.N. member states and the Security Council.

(With AFP and Reuters)

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