Turkey says Russia's actions in Syria repeat USSR path in Afghanistan
Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 9
By Rufiz Hafizoglu - Trend:
Prime Minister of Turkey Ahmet Davutoglu has compared Russia's actions in Syria with military operations in Afghanistan, the Turkish TRT Haber TV channel reported Feb. 9.
He said that sooner or later, the forces that carry out military operations in Syria, will leave it in the same manner as they previously left Afghanistan.
The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in late December 1979 in support of the Afghan communist government in its conflict with anticommunist Muslim guerrillas during the Afghan War (1978-92) and remained in Afghanistan until mid-February 1989.
Despite having failed to implement a sympathetic regime in Afghanistan, in 1988 the Soviet Union signed an accord with the US, Pakistan, and Afghanistan and agreed to withdraw its troops. The Soviet withdrawal was completed on Feb. 15, 1989, and Afghanistan returned to nonaligned status.
The invasion of Afghanistan claimed the lives of at least 15,000 Soviet soldiers, mostly conscripts in their late teens or early 20s, and left tens of thousands wounded and psychologically traumatized.
Davutoglu said that Turkey has evidence that Russian Air Force bombed the positions of moderate Syrian opposition.
"Russia, Iran and the Lebanese "Hezbollah" (a Shi'a Islamist militant group and political party) are responsible for the death of the civilian population in Syria," Davutoglu said.
He also noted that a new wave of refugees awaits Turkey as a result of Russian military operations in Syria.
Currently, Turkey is hosting more than two million Syrian refugees on its territory. The Syrian refugee camps in the country accommodate about 300,000 people. The rest of them are spread across the provinces and cities of Turkey.
In Istanbul alone, there are currently 40,000 refugees from Syria. Ankara has so far spent $8 billion to upkeep the Syrian refugees.