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Berlin (CNSNews.com) – European officials have condemned the launch of a Turkish military offensive in northern Syria, days after the White House announced the U.S. was pulling back troops from the area, raising concerns about the fate of Kurdish fighters who were allied the U.S. in the fight against ISIS.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker called on Turkey to immediately cease the operation, telling European Union lawmakers in Brussels that Turkey was mistaken if it expected the E.U. to fund its envisaged “safe zone” inside Syria.
Foreign - Minister - Heiko - Maas - Turkey
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas warned that Turkey’s actions could lead to a humanitarian crisis that would create a new wave of refugees.
“Turkey is condoning the further destabilization of the region while risking a resurgence of ISIS,” he said in Berlin.
France - Offensive - Emergency - UN - Security
France condemned the Turkish offensive, and called for an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting on Thursday morning.
E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini issued a declaration urging Turkey to end its operation, saying that hostilities “will further undermine the stability of the whole region, exacerbate civilian suffering and provoke further displacements.”
Doubts - Ankara - Zone - Criteria - Refugee
She raised doubts abouts Ankara’s envisaged “safe zone, saying it was unlikely the initiative “would satisfy international criteria for refugee return.”
The E.U. holds that refugees’ return to their places of origin “must be safe, voluntary and dignified when conditions allow.”
Attempt - Change - Mogherini
“Any attempt at demographic change would be unacceptable,” Mogherini added.
NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said on Twitter he was counting on Turkey, a NATO member, to “show restraint” and avoid jeopardizing the gains made in the fight against ISIS. He said he would discuss the matter with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday.
YPG - Forces - SDF - US - Ally
The YPG dominates the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a key U.S. ally in the fight against ISIS. Critics of Trump’s decision fear for the safety of the Kurdish fighters, whom Turkey defines as terrorists due to...
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