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Debates
Wednesday, 23 October 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

The Turkish military operation in northeast Syria and its consequences (debate)
MPphoto
 

  Kati Piri, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, dear colleagues, two weeks have passed since our last plenary session and our debate on this crisis. The establishment of a so-called safe zone has de facto become the establishment of a war zone and the Turkish invasion of north-east Syria. The winners are Putin, Assad, Turkey, Iran and Isis, and the losers are the citizens of north-east Syria and the credibility of the West.

A total of 218 civilians and 600 SDF fighters have been killed. More than 300 000 civilians had to leave their homes and are now displaced, struggling to find safety. They are caught between advancing Turkish troops and Syrian forces moving in from the south, and hundreds of IS fighters, including EU citizens, have escaped guarded camps.

The summary execution of Kurdish politician Hevrin Khalaf, one of the many courageous women in north-east Syria, is an absolute outrage. The latest reports refer also to the alleged use of white phosphorus against civilians by Turkish-backed forces in Ras al-Ayn.

The perpetrators of these heinous acts must be prosecuted, and while the US President hails the cease-fire as great news that will save millions of lives, I can only reject, on behalf of this House, its very basic premise. Yesterday’s Russia-Turkey deal legitimises the Turkish presence of a 10-kilometre zone along the Syrian border, the refoulement of two million refugees and the displacement of the local population.

All of these are grave violations of the most basic principles of international law, refugee law and humanitarian law. We have called for targeted sanctions against Turkish officials, restrictive economic measures and a full weapons embargo, and beyond any legal and political consideration, I wish to underline that abandoning all those who suffered from Isis and who fought against Isis making the ultimate sacrifice for our own security is not and should never be an option.

 
Last updated: 18 November 2019Legal notice