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Originally published May 7, 2013 at 3:33 AM | Page modified May 7, 2013 at 6:04 AM

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Turkey criticizes Israeli airstrikes on Syria

Turkey's prime minister has denounced Israeli airstrikes on Syria, saying the attacks help strengthen Syrian President Bashar Assad's hand.

The Associated Press

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ANKARA, Turkey —

Turkey's prime minister has denounced Israeli airstrikes on Syria, saying the attacks help strengthen Syrian President Bashar Assad's hand.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday also criticized Iran for "turning a blind eye" to massacres in Syria and accused the international community of ignoring the bloodshed.

Addressing party members in Parliament, Erdogan said the Israeli airstrikes into Syria were "unacceptable" and amounted to "handing over (to Assad) opportunities on a golden tray."

Erdogan said: "Assad, who has not sweated a single drop against Israel for the (occupation of the) Golan Heights is now using the Israeli attack to cover up the Banias massacre."

The Turkish leader was referring to the Syrian coastal town of Banias, where activists say dozens of people, including children, were killed by pro-government gunmen.

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