'TURKEY LIKELY KNEW ABOUT SYRIAN REBEL SIEGE OF CHRISTIAN TOWN'

Legal Monitor Worldwide
April 2, 2014 Wednesday

It would be impossible for Turkey not to be informed of Syrian rebels'
siege of the Christian majority town of Kessab, international law
Professor Daoud Khairallah from Georgetown University told RT.

Reportedly, on March 21, extremist groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda
crossed into Syria from Turkey and seized the predominantly Christian
town after clashes with Syrian government troops and local self-defense
squads. The attack caused hundreds of ethnic Armenians to flee and
created an international outcry, with Armenia accusing Turkey of
supporting extremists.

Kessab - located in Syria's Latakia province, near the border with
Turkey - fell to rebels, sparking a fierce battle in the media as
conflicting reports are coming in about the events in the town which
is home to over 2,000 ethnic Armenians.

RT: Armenians are sure Turkey was directly involved into the assault.

Why would Ankara be interested in one tiny Armenian village?

Daoud Khairallah: Ankara has been supporting the jihadi fundamentalists
in this war against Syrian regime from the very beginning. It has
opened its borders for the fundamentalists coming from all over the
world. So to say that now what they did in Kessab is not much different
from what it has been doing all along. Now it is very difficult to
think that this has happened against Kessab - overwhelmingly majority
Armenian - without the knowledge of the Turkish government. It is
a border town and it knows that Armenians had been there. And the
Armenians had been traumatized by the Turks - there is a long history,
probably it was the first genocide in the 20th century, the genocide
against the Armenians, as historians say.

Turkey has a long history of helping the armed people coming from
all over the world against the Syrian regime and facilitating their
entrance into Syria, training them. For Turkey to say we didn't know
or we couldn't stop it is a little bit ridiculous.

RT: A recent leak suggested Turkey could be planning to stage a
provocation inside Syria, and later put the blame on Assad. What was
the final goal for Turkey?

DK: Turkey has decided from the beginning to interfere in the internal
affairs of Syria and change the Syrian regime. And Mr. Erdogan and his
government have never changed their opinion on this. All that [is] in
violation of international law - interfering in the internal affairs
of a different country is against the law. And the only authority
that can tell whether Mr. Assad or his government is legitimate or
not is the Syrian people. The Turkish government has taken a position
from the very beginning of events in Syria that is not justifiable
in international law, international practice.

RT: How will the international community react?

DK: I don't think we can expect much from the international community.

The international community has been divided; and the international
community has disregarded international law from the very beginning
with respect to the Syrian crisis. Some countries have let their
borders open. They have helped outsiders come into Syria without any
justification internationally.

If the international community would act, it would act through the
Security Council. We know where the US stands: it has a veto power.

And I doubt that the United Nations, and the Security Council in
particular, is acting in conformity with international law and this
crisis from the very beginning. 2014 Legal Monitor Worldwide.