EU leaders ‘note’ Turkey ceasefire, demand end to Syria offensive

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, Ireland’s PM Leo Varadkar, European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker address media in Brussels on October 17, 2019. (AFP)

EU leaders on Friday reiterated their call for Turkey to end its assault on Kurdish forces in Syria and withdraw its troops, after Ankara announced it was suspending the offensive.

Turkey has paused the assault for 120 hours and said it will end it if Kurdish-led forces withdraw from a 32-kilometer (20-mile) wide “safe zone” along the border.

But the move was not enough to satisfy European leaders meeting at a summit in Brussels, some of whom have already halted arms sales to Ankara in protest.

“The European Council notes tonight’s US-Turkey announcement on a pause for all military operations,” the 28 leaders said in a joint statement.

“It again urges Turkey to end its military action, to withdraw its forces and to respect international humanitarian law,” the leaders said in a summit statement.

NATO member Turkey says the operation is needed to stop what it calls Kurdish “terrorists” using the border area as a base to launch attacks in its territory.

But the EU says the operation is causing “unacceptable human suffering” and undermines the fight against the ISIS extremist group.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:56 - GMT 06:56