S&Ds express serious concerns about Turkish military action in northern Syria

Turkish assault on the Syrian border enclave of Afrin

The S&Ds are very concerned about the Turkish assault on the Syrian border enclave of Afrin, one of the territories held by the Coalition-backed Syrian Kurdish Group.

S&D Group vice-president Victor Boştinaru said:

“While we understand the Turkish security concerns and recognise Ankara’s legitimate right to ensure the security of its borders, we consider that this assault could have a dramatic impact on the already dire humanitarian situation on the ground and could undermine the resumption of talks in Geneva. This operation also involves the risk of opening a new front and divert the coalition-backed Syrian Kurdish combatants from the main and essential objective today - the fight against Daesh and other terrorist groups.

“We urge president Erdoğan to show restrain, to limit the range and duration of this operation and concentrate its efforts in combating Daesh, and most of all, to avoid any civilian casualties. Moreover, it is important to rapidly assess the humanitarian risks and guarantee full humanitarian access to the belligerent areas.

“Finally, it is important to stress that The People's Protection Units (YPG) has been a key part of the battle against Daesh in Syria; that achieving a sustainable peace in Syria is in Turkey’s own interest; and that a lasting political settlement can only be achieved by a UN-brokered process that will be seen as impartial by the Syrian people and will have the required international legitimacy.”