Date: Oct 10, 2019
Source: The Daily Star
How world is reacting to Turkish assault in northern Syria
Agence France Presse
World governments reacted with concern Wednesday after Turkey launched a military offensive on Kurdish forces in northern Syria, while the U.N. Security Council plans to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the assault. Here are some of the initial comments following the start of the attack, called “Operation Peace Spring.”‘Bad idea’President Donald Trump described Turkey’s incursion into northern Syria as a “bad idea.”

Trump, who pulled out U.S. troops from the area in what was interpreted as a green light for Turkey to assault Kurdish militias previously allied with the United States, insisted that Washington “does not endorse this attack.”

The president said Turkey had committed to “ensuring no humanitarian crisis takes place - and we will hold them to this commitment.”

‘Unacceptable’Egypt’s Foreign Ministry branded the assault a threat to international security. “This step represents a blatantly unacceptable attack on the sovereignty of a brotherly Arab state ... in violation of international law,” the ministry said in a statement.

Cairo called on the international community to act against “this extremely dangerous development which threatens international peace and security.”

It also warned against “any [Turkish] efforts to occupy Syrian territory” or to force a shift in the demographic makeup of northern Syria.

The ministry urged the Arab League to hold an emergency meeting to discuss the assault.

The Arab League has also condemned Turkey’s operation, warning it “could help Daesh [ISIS] regain some of its force.”

‘Act with restraint’ NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg urged Turkey to show “restraint,” while acknowledging that Ankara had “legitimate security concerns.”

“It’s important to avoid actions that may further destabilize the region, escalate tensions and cause more human suffering,” Stoltenberg said at a news conference in Rome, in remarks released by his office.

“I count on Turkey to act with restraint and to ensure that any action it may take in northern Syria is proportionate and measured.”

The U.N. Security Council’s president, South African Ambassador Jerry Matthews Matjila, also appealed to Turkey to “protect civilians” and exercise “maximum restraint.”

‘Think carefully’Ahead of the launch of the offensive, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged his Turkish counterpart President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “think carefully” before taking any action. “Putin called on his Turkish partners to think carefully about the situation so as not to harm overall efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis,” the presidency said following a phone call between the two leaders.

Erdogan told Putin that the offensive “will contribute to Syria’s peace and stability and ease the path to a political solution.” Syrian Kurds had earlier called on the Damascus ally to facilitate dialogue with the Syrian regime in order to ensure security on the Turkey-Syria border.‘No funding

for safe zone’ EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker demanded a halt to the operation, telling Ankara the bloc would not pay for any so-called “safe zone” that might be created.

He told the European Parliament he recognized Turkey had “security concerns” along the border.

However, he warned that the military action would not lead to a “good result,” saying a political solution was the only way to end the Syrian conflict.

“I call on Turkey as well as the other actors to act with restraint and to stop operations already, as we are speaking, underway.

“I have to say if the Turkish plan involves the creation of a so-called safe zone, don’t expect the European Union to pay for any of it.”

Risk of resurgent DaeshTurkey “is willingly risking further destabilizing the region and a resurgence of IS [Daesh]” by attacking northeastern Syria, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.

“Syria needs stability and a political process ... however, the Turkish offensive now threatens to cause a new humanitarian disaster,” Maas said in a statement, adding that Berlin would “urge Turkey to end its offensive and to pursue its security interests peacefully.”

Kurds ‘shamelessly

abandoned’U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham vowed that Congress would inflict a cost on Turkey for its offensive against Syria’s Kurds as the usually loyal Trump ally sharply criticized American policy.

“Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump Administration. This move ensures the reemergence of ISIS. Will lead effort in Congress to make Erdogan pay a heavy price,” the senior Republican tweeted.

Joint declaration France’s European Affairs Minister Amelie de Montchalin said France, Germany and Britain were working on a joint declaration “which will be extremely clear on the fact that we very strongly condemn” the Turkish campaign.

French President Emmanuel Macron had earlier expressed concern at the prospect of a Turkish army operation in areas controlled by the Kurdish forces, who have led the fight against Daesh in Syria.

He hosted a senior Syrian Kurdish official for talks Tuesday “to show that France stands alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces as they are partners in the fight against Daesh and that we are very worried by the possibility of a Turkish operation in Syria,” a presidential aide told AFP.

Ambassador summonedDutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said he had summoned Turkey’s ambassador to condemn the assault.

“I call on Turkey not to follow the path it has chosen,” Blok, whose country is a member of the coalition against Daesh, said on Twitter.

“No one can benefit from the potentially terrible humanitarian consequences. The operation can trigger new refugee flows and harm the fight against IS and stability in the region.”