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MIDDLE EAST

Turkish Military Attack in Syria Sparks Widespread Condemnation

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham speaking with attendees at the 2015 Iowa Growth & Opportunity Party at the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, Iowa.
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham harshly condemned President Trump for abandoning US allies in Syria after news broke of a Turkish offensive in the region. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

“Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamelessly abandoned by the Trump Administration. This move ensures the reemergence of ISIS.”

News that the Turkish army, using aircraft and artillery, launched a massive military operation into northeastern Syria on Wednesday sparked stern responses and widespread alarm around the globe.

French European Affairs Minister Amélie de Montchalin said that members of the European Union, including France, Germany and Britain, strongly condemned the Turkish operation on Syrian territories.

“The three countries are finalizing a joint statement that would clearly state our strong condemnation of the Turkish operation,” Montchalin told the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Additionally, the Netherlands was reported to have summoned the Turkish ambassador over Turkey’s military incursion into the Arab neighboring country.

Meanwhile, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, urged Turkey to “cease its military operation.”

However, a separate joint statement from all of the European Union’s 28 member states has yet to be issued because of a lack of agreement on the statement. Reuters reported that Hungary blocked the statement.

On Thursday, upon a request submitted by European member states of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), including France, Britain, Germany and Poland, the UNSC will hold a closed-door meeting to discuss Turkey’s assault in northeastern Syria.

US: Republicans Decry the Assault

As Turkish threats against Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria culminated in Turkey’s offensive on Wednesday, numerous U.S. politicians including prominent Republicans condemned Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces in northeast Syria.

On a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over the weekend, US President Trump said US forces would effectively withdraw from northeastern Syria and not come to the aid of its Kurdish allies in the case of a Turkish offensive in the region. The move by Trump angered members of his own Republican Party and drew accusations that the US was abandoning its allies.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and GOP House Conference Chair Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) all denounced the Turkish assault on the Kurds in northeastern Syria and the U.S. for abandoning its allies in the region.

“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. I urge President Trump to change course while there is still time by going back to the safe zone concept that was working,” said Lindsey.

Lindsey also vowed to lead Congressional action to make it clear to Erdogan that there is a heavy price for his recent military move.

McCarthy, for his part, said the Turkish operation would aid a renewal of ISIS and enable both ISIS, al Qaida and Iran to gain a foothold across the region.

The House Conference Chair Liz Cheney called the news from northeastern Syria “sickening” and wondered why the U.S. administration is leaving its Kurdish partners to be slaughtered and ISIS enabled to return to the region.

Egypt: “Stark Assault”   

In the Arab world, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Wednesday condemning in the strongest terms what the ministry described as a “stark assault” on Syrian territorial sovereignty and integrity.

The statement also called for an urgent meeting of the League of Arab States to discuss recent regional developments. The ministry’s communique called on the international community, as well, to live up with what the statement termed “responsibility towards regional and international peace and security.” 

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Rami Almeghari

Rami Almeghari is a freelance independent writer, journalist and lecturer, based in the Gaza Strip. Rami has contributed in English to several media outlets worldwide, including print, radio and TV. He can be reached on facebook as Rami Munir Almeghari and on email as [email protected]

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