Warnings abound against potential Turkish operation in north Syria
QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – International warnings continue to be issued against a possible Turkish ground operation into northern Syria, as endeavors of Russian mediation between Ankara and Damascus for a solution continue.
Yesterday, the US Department of Defense warned of repercussions of any military operation by Turkey in north Syria, saying it could affect the efforts made in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS).
“A ground invasion would severely jeopardize the hard-fought gains that the world has achieved against ISIS, and would destabilize the region,” said Press Secretary for the US Department of Defense Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder.
He pointed out that they had reduced the number of partnered patrols with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
On November 23, the SDF announced suspending its mission against ISIS due to the latest Turkish escalation in the SDF-held areas.
Ryder expressed the US deep concern about the escalating actions by Turkey in northern Syria.
“We do remain deeply concerned about the escalating actions in northern Syria, Iraq and Turkey,” Ryder noted.
On November 20, Turkish forces launched a wide spread air operation against northern Syria that lasted for three consecutive days targeting all vital facilities and infrastructure along the whole border line.
Recently Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his officials said the Turkish operation could start at any time. However, the Turkish tone began to lower since last Monday.
Following a meeting with Prime Minister in Ankara on Monday Erdogan said his country was determined to create a security corridor along the border with Syria.
Turkey’s presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Tuesday that the Turkish operation in northern Syria “can begin tomorrow, next week, even later, at any time.”
The US Departments of State and Defense and the US Senior Representative to Northeast Syria, Nicolas Granger, said they oppose any Turkish operation in the region that could undermine efforts fought by the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS and the SDF against the terrorist group.
Geng Shuang, Deputy Permanent Representative and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations said the situation in Syria remains a turbulent one while Turkish air raids against Syria continue as it announced it would carry out a ground offensive.
On Tuesday, Deputy Permanent Representative of Syria at the United Nations, al-Hakam Dandi, condemned repeated Turkish aggressions against north Syria, calling on the UN Security Council to bound Ankara and Washington to withdraw their forces from Syria.
“UNSC’s meetings on Syria are of no use unless it deals with the basic challenges represented by terrorism,” Dandi noted.
Dandi said the Turkish attacks against north Syria are violations of the international law and the UN Charter, saying Syria condemns in the strongest possible terms the targeting of infrastructure and the human losses caused.
The Syrian diplomat added “The pretexts marketed by the Turkish regime to justify its attacks on Syrian territories are no longer tricking anyone, particularly in light of its persistence to back terrorist organizations and to sponsor Daesh and Jabhat al-Nusra,”
UN Special Envoy for Syria Geir Pedersen on Tuesday warned of a dangerous escalation in Syria.
“The trend lines are deeply worrying, and carry real dangers of further escalation,” he said.
Pedersen called on all actors to restrain themselves and engage in serious efforts to reinstate the calm, move toward a nationwide cease-fire and a cooperative approach to counter-terrorism in line with international humanitarian law.
On Tuesday, Iran’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said Tehran is ready to offer resolve politically problems between the two sides warning at the same time of a military operation and its repercussions.
That came in a phone call, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Tuesday evening, in which the two ministers discussed the latest developments and military clashes along the common border between Turkey and Syria.
Iran’s top diplomat added that resorting to ground military operations not only fails to resolve the problems, but also causes damage and further complicates the situation.
The Iranian official told Cavusoglu that Iran understands Turkey’s security concerns and the need to be solved.
On November 23, Russia’s special presidential envoy for Syria, Alexander Lavrentyev, said, “We have been in quite close contact with Turkey, primarily through Defense Ministry channels, so that we can prevent tensions from escalating further in general.”
Regarding prospects that Turkey and Syria reach a rapprochement, the Russian official said, “That is just vital, because those two countries are neighbors and they should be friends.”
Russian official said Moscow could resume talks with Wessington regarding Syria if the US seems more determined to be engaged.