Arab League’s secretary-general blames Turkey for ISIL’s growth

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Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit delivers a speech during the opening ceremony of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Museum in the West Bank city of Ramallah on November 9, 2016.

Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the secretary-general of the Arab League and a former Egyptian foreign minister, said on Wednesday that Ankara is responsible for the growth of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) since the Turkish government allowed thousands of Western youths to travel and fight in Syria and Iraq in order to facilitate the end of the Assad regime in Syria.

Speaking during an interview with Egyptian journalist Ahmed Moussa, Gheit said the Turkish government allowed ISIL to raise revenue from smuggling oil across its borders with Iraq and Syria.

He also accused Kurdish groups in Syria of using the fight against ISIL to expand the land under their control.

Gheit predicted ISIL’s military defeat in the near future but said the extremist ideology of ISIL has already spread across the Middle East and could remain for years to come.

When asked about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s role in the future of Syria, Gheit said, “There is no problem if the Syrian people choose Bashar al-Assad as president in future elections.”

If the people elect him he can run in the elections, but first there has to be a ceasefire, (and) there has to be acceptance of his presence in the conciliation framework, because there is the possibility that [rebel] groups will refuse to work with him,” he added.

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