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Al Jazeera board member says Russia ‘deserved’ ambassador killing for its ‘crimes’ in Syria

A woman who sits on the board of international news company Al Jazeera has reportedly said that she believes the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey was justified because of the bloodshed the country has contributed to in the Syrian civil war.

The Russian ambassador to Turkey was shot dead in Ankara by an assailant who shouted “Don’t forget Syria! Don’t forget Aleppo! ...Until our towns are safe, you won’t enjoy security either. Everyone who is involved in this will pay a price. Only death can take me from here.”

The man, identified as a 22-year-old member of the police’s special forces, Mevlut Altintas, was killed at the scene.

As the news broke, more than two dozen Twitter messages related to the attack were posted by an account in the name of Dr Elham Badar, aprominent journalist in Qatar and board member at the international news company Al Jazeera,  some of which said that she believes “Russia deserves the worst” because of its role in the Syrian civil war.

Killing envoy Andrei Karlov was a “human response to Russian barbarism in Syria”, she apparently posted to her 140,000 followers, along with several other messages, retweets and images showing the death and destruction currently devastating the city of Aleppo, recently fallen to Russian-backed government forces after four years of fighting.

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“This scene will be repeated with the killing of ambassadors to other countries sympathetic with Russian criminality in Aleppo,” another tweet read.

The Independent has contacted Dr Bader and Al Jazeera for comment.

The northern Syrian city of Aleppo, which was the last major urban rebel stronghold in the country, had been under siege since July and subject to ferocious Russian and regime air strikes since September which have killed more than 1,000 people.

The targeting of schools, medical facilities and bakeries sparked outrage internationally, and several observers said the bombings could amount to potential war crimes.

The ambassador’s assassination, widely viewed as an attempt to derail Russian-Turkish cooperation over the future of the Syrian conflict, was condemned by the leaders of both countries, who pledged to work together to “step up the fight against terrorism.”

Planned talks in Moscow on Tuesday between the foreign ministers of Russia, Turkey and Iran would go ahead as scheduled, a Russian foreign ministry spokesperson said.

In opening comments before Tuesday’s meetings, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia was grateful to Turkey for its quick reaction to the murder of envoy Andrei Karlov, and that “no quarter” would be given to terrorists.

Russia, a longstanding ally of the Syrian government, and Turkey, which backs some rebel groups in the conflict along with the US and Gulf allies, managed to broker a ceasefire deal in Aleppo last week which eventually led to the removal of the fighters and civilians from the last rebel-held pockets of the city, which is still underway.

Ankara and Moscow had been at loggerheads after Turkey shot down a Russian jet reportedly in its airspace in 2015, but have taken steps since to work together on finding a solution to the almost six-year-long Syrian crisis.

Independent News Service

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