European Council condemns Turkish offensive in Syria, ‘so-called ceasefire’

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The European Council condemns Turkish unilateral military action in northeast Syria, the president of the council, Donald Tusk, said on Tuesday.

"No one is fooled by the so-called ceasefire. Taking it to end its (Turkey's) military action permanently, withdraw its forces and respect international humanitarian law. Any other cause means unacceptable human suffering, a victory for Daesh, and serious threats to European security," Tusk told EU lawmakers in Strasbourg, France.

The situation in northern Syria has been relatively calm over the past few days despite sporadic violations of the five-day cease fire that went into effect on Thursday night under an agreement made by the US and Turkey.

Turkey expects the Syrian Kurdish fighters to pull back from a border area.

Meanwhile, Germany’s defense minister has proposed the establishment of an internationally controlled security zone in Syria.

The proposal comes as Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters invaded northern Syria earlier this month, after President Donald Trump pulled back American troops who had partnered with Syrian Kurdish forces in the years-long war against ISIS.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told German news agency DPA on Tuesday that “the creation of an internationally controlled security zone with the inclusion of Turkey and Russia” would have the goal of deescalating the situation in northern Syria.

Kramp-Karrenbauer said the German parliament would need to decide on whether German troops could participate in such a zone. She also told broadcaster Deutsche Welle that Chancellor Angela Merkel had been informed of the proposal.

Following these statements, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Germany had received questions and some irritation from allies after Germany’s defense minister's suggestion.

“Since yesterday, after the CDU leaders’ proposal, we have got some questions from our allies and there is some - this is indisputable - irritation amongst our partners,” Maas said, adding there was currently no discussion among partners about creating such an international security zone.

- With AP

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