World reacts to Turkey attack on Syria
World governments have reacted to Turkey’s launch of military offensive on Kurdish forces in northern Syria. As the UN Security Council scrambles to hold an emergency meeting to talk on the assault, US President Donald Trump who hasn’t commented directly on ‘Operation Peace Spring’, warned Turkey earlier this week that he would “obliterate” the country’s economy if it went too far.
UN Security Council president, South African ambassador Jerry Matthews Matjila has appealed to Turkey to “protect civilians” and exercise “maximum restraint”.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has urged Turkey to show “restraint”, as he acknowledged that Ankara had “legitimate security concerns”. They said, “It’s important to avoid actions that may further destabilise the region, escalate tensions, and cause more human suffering. I count on Turkey to act with restraint and to ensure that any action it may take in northern Syria is proportionate and measured.”
EU chief Jean-Claude Juncker, meanwhile, 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 recognised Turkey had “security concerns” along the border, but warned that the military action would not lead to a “good result”. Juncker said a political solution was the only way to end the Syrian conflict.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had ahead of the launch of the offensive, spoken with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan and urged him to “think carefully” before taking any action.
Following a call between both leaders, the presidency said, “Putin called on his Turkish partners to think carefully about the situation so as not to harm overall efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis.” Erdogan told Putin that the offensive “will contribute to Syria’s peace and stability and ease the path to a political solution.”
Turkish forces make advances towards Northeastern Syria
Turkey Defence Ministry has said their ground forces have made advances against Kurdish fighters in northern Syria on Thursday. They are launching airstrikes and unleashing artillery shelling on Syrian towns and villages the length of its border. Residents of border areas in northern Syria panicked as they tried to escape in cars or on foot, collecting as many of their belongings as they can.
Meanwhile, A Kurdish-led group and Syrian activists claim that despite the heavy barrage, Turkish troops had not made much progress on several fronts they had opened over the past hours.