International community condemns Turkish offensive in Syria

France, Britain and Germany had called for the United Nations Security Council to meet to discuss the Turkish offensive in northern Syria. (File photo: Reuters)

Egypt called for an emergency meeting of the Arab League over Turkey's offensive into Syria, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

“Egypt condemned in the strongest terms the Turkish aggression on Syrian territory,” the ministry said in a statement, adding the offensive “represents a blatant and unacceptable attack on the sovereignty of a brotherly Arab state.”

Kuwait said on Wednesday that the Turkish offensive in northeast Syria is a direct threat to stability and peace in the region and called for restraint, state news agency KUNA said.

RELATED: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, and Egypt condemn Turkey’s aggression on Syria

Iraqi President Barham Salih condemned on Wednesday the Turkish incursion into northern Syria, saying that militants will take advantage, according to the president twitter account.

Lebanon’s Foreign Ministry has condemned the Turkish military operation in northern Syria, calling on Turkey to rethink its strategy.

The ministry considered the move “as an aggression on a brotherly Arab nation and an occupation of Syrian territory that threatens Syrians with death and forced displacement,” a statement from the ministry read.

France’s foreign minister on Wednesday condemned Turkey’s assault on Kurdish-controlled areas in northeastern Syria, saying the offensive “must stop.”

“It calls into question the security and humanitarian efforts of the coalition against Daesh and risks undermining Europeans’ security,” Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a tweet, using the Arabic name for ISIS.

France’s European affairs minister said on Wednesday that France, Britain and Germany had called for the United Nations Security Council to meet to discuss the Turkish offensive in northern Syria.

Speaking to the parliamentary foreign affairs committee Amelie de Montchalin said the three countries were also finalizing a joint statement to “strongly condemn” the Turkish offensive, but said a separate EU statement had yet to be agreed because some countries had not signed up to it. Germany's foreign minister accused Turkey of risking an ISIS resurgence with its offensive.

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Wednesday that Turkish operations in Syria risk destabilizing the region and harming civilians.

Australia is worried Turkey’s military incursion in northern Syria could galvanize a resurgence of ISIS, and has refused to endorse the close ally US for pulling back its troops from the area.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Thursday he had been in contact with the Turkish and US governments overnight but admitted to being worried about the situation.

“We are very concerned about what this could potentially mean for the Kurdish people,” he said. “We’re concerned about what this could mean for the potential for the resurgence of Daesh,” he added, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.

Morrison declined to comment on Trump’s decision but said Australia would “work together” with the US on the matter. “Let’s be clear, it’s the Turkish government that is taking action here to create an unstable situation,” he said. “They’re the ones who are actually deploying and seeking to walk across a border and to take actions in another nation state.”

“It’s the actions of the Turkish government that concern Australia very seriously,” he said.

There are fears the incursion could put Australian women and children stranded in the al-Hawl refugee camp at risk.

Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said the government would not rush to extract the Australians. It comes in the wake of the government stripping three dual nationals in Syria of their Australian citizenship. They reportedly include Zehra Duman, who fled Australia as a teenager to marry an ISIS militant.

European Union chief Jean-Claude Juncker demanded Turkey halt its military operation against Kurdish militants in northern Syria, telling Ankara the bloc would not pay for any so-called “safe zone” that might be created.

“The EU calls upon Turkey to cease the unilateral military action,” the 28 members of the bloc said in a joint statement.

“It is unlikely that a so-called ‘safe zone’ in north-east Syria, as envisaged by Turkey, would satisfy international criteria for refugee return,” the statement said.

“The EU will not provide stabilization or development assistance in areas where the rights of local populations are ignored,” it said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Turkey has said its military operation in northeastern Syria will be restrained, adding that it was important not to destabilize the region any further.

Stoltenberg told reporters that Turkey had “legitimate security concerns” and had informed NATO about its attack earlier in the day against Kurdish fighters in Syria.

“I am ensured that any action it may take in northern Syria is proportionate and measured,” he said after meeting Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. “It is important to avoid actions that may further destabilize region, escalate tensions and cause more human suffering,” he added.

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok on Wednesday summoned the Turkish ambassador after Ankara launched a military incursion into Syria, he said in a statement.

“The Netherlands condemns the Turkish offensive in northeast Syria,” Blok said in a statement. “We call on Turkey not to continue on the path they are going down.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross has warned on Wednesday that any escalation in north east Syria could further harm civilians.

Fabrizio Carboni, the ICRC Regional Director for Near and Middle East, said in a tweet that the organization is trying “its best to help tens of thousands of people in an incredibly complex environment.”

 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 10:00 - GMT 07:00
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