The European Union could face a wave of returning battle-hardened ISIS fighters from Syria unless it gets much tougher with Turkey, including breaking off any accession or trade talks, a senior Kurdish leader told Reuters.
President Donald Trump’s announcement in early October that he was pulling US forces from northeast Syria paved the way for a Turkish offensive against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia who had been at the forefront of fighting against ISIS.
Trump’s move surprised both Britain and France and was cast as a betrayal by the Kurds, who lost thousands of fighters in the battle against ISIS extremists in the deadly crucible of Syria’s 8-1/2 year war.
Ilham Ahmed, a Kurdish political leader and co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) executive, said in an interview that the EU should get tough with Turkey or it would soon face a wave of ISIS militants arriving in Europe.
“The threat is very big due to the arbitrary way in which the United States has withdrawn. This has allowed many (ISIS) members to escape and they will make their way back to their countries to continue their terrorist activities.”
“This poses a big threat to Britain and to Europe in general,” Ahmed added.
ISIS once boasted a “caliphate” across swathes of Syria and Iraq and claimed deadly attacks across the world, though it is now in disarray, landless and leaderless after the killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi during a US special forces raid in northwestern Syria last month.
But in the tumult created by the US withdrawal and the Turkish offensive, Ahmed said, Islamic State fighters could escape and travel over porous borders to Europe.
She called on Europe to send 2,000 troops to secure the Syrian-Turkish border and prevent fighters crossing, and to cease all arms sales to Turkey. “Our people are being killed by European weapons,” she said.
Turkey says it will ensure that any ISIS detainees in territory it has captured will remain in detention.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر