April 7, 2017 / 12:46 PM / 4 months ago

Turkey's Erdogan says U.S. attack in Syria 'positive' but not enough

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan reacts during a rally for the upcoming referendum in the Black Sea city of Rize, Turkey, April 3, 2017.Umit Bektas

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday hailed an attack by the United States on a Syrian air base as a positive development but said it was not enough on its own and "serious steps" were needed to protect the Syrian people.

The United States fired cruise missiles earlier on Friday at a Syrian base from which President Donald Trump said a deadly chemical weapons attack had been launched, marking the first direct U.S. assault on the government of Bashar al-Assad in six years of civil war.

"We find it a positive and concrete step taken against the war crimes of the Assad regime. Is it enough? I don't find it enough. It is time to take serious steps for the protection of innocent Syrian people," Erdogan told a rally in the southern province of Hatay.

"The international community has the capability to stop the regime and terrorist organisations. I hope the active stance that the United States displayed in Idlib is a beginning with regards to such developments," Erdogan said.

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Daren Butler and Ece Toksabay; Editing by David Dolan

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