Yes, you read that right. Syria, the war-torn country where at least 94,000 people have died during two years of conflict, is warning its citizens not to travel to Turkey after widespread protests erupted four days ago.
According to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency, Syria's foreign ministry released the following statement Sunday:
The Foreign and Expatriates Ministry advises the Syrian citizens against traveling to Turkey during this period for fear for their safety, due to the security conditions in some Turkish cities that have deteriorated over the past days and the violence practiced by [Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip] Erdogan’s government against peaceful protesters.
In addition, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi has pushed Syria's incongruous stance on Turkey a bit further in his suggestion that Erdogan could stop the violence by leaving the country and seeking exile. Speaking to reporters Sunday, al-Zoubi also criticized the Turkish government for its use of excessive force against protesters.
Originating in Istanbul's Taksim Square, the demonstrations against the Turkish government proliferated in other major cities as word spread online, and, on Sunday, tens of thousands took to the streets and clashed with riot police.
However, as The Christian Science Monitor notes, al-Zoubi's "comments amount to diplomacy by snark, and are basically throwing Erdogan's words and positions about the Syrian uprising back at him."
Indeed, Erdogan, himself, has demanded Syrian Prime Minister Bashar al-Assad step down -- a stance he reiterated at a meeting with President Barack Obama earlier this month.
Diplomatic relations between the neighboring countries have been strained for quite some time; however, the relationship has become even more tenuous recently as the Turkish military returned fire across the border for the first time.