Published: Tue, March 20, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

European Union criticizes Turkey's offensive in Syrian town of Afrin

European Union criticizes Turkey's offensive in Syrian town of Afrin

Turkey's president vowed Monday to keep up the pressure against a USA -backed Syrian Kurdish militia after his troops captured the Syrian town of Afrin, threatening to expand the military offensive into other Kurdish-held areas across northern Syria and even into neighbouring Iraq.

"The announcement of Turkish regime's president that his invading forces control Afrin is illegitimate", the Foreign Ministry said in letters to the United Nations.

The OCHA estimated that 100,000 people remained in Afrin district and said it would increase its humanitarian aid efforts in the area. "And we'll take measures to make sure that we deconflict". "If you can't handle it, then we may suddenly enter Sinjar one night and clear out the PKKs there".

Spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement Monday that the offensive forced the majority of the predominantly Kurdish population of Afrin to evacuate from the town.

"What is happening in Afrin is ethnic cleansing and the great powers are spectators", added Issa, who represents the "Rojava self-ruled Democratic Administration" which runs areas under Kurdish control in northern Syria.

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"The final destination is a Turkish war on the Kurds throughout northern and eastern Syria that destroys the YPG and forces the Americans to work by, with and through Turkey" in the fight against IS and in Syria, he said.

"We remain committed to our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Turkey, to include their legitimate security concerns".

Formidable guerrilla fighters, the YPG withdrew from Afrin on Sunday after a Turkish thrust into the town centre.

Turkey's EU Minister Omer Celik has slammed top EU diplomat Federica Mogherini's voicing of concerns about the Turkish army's ongoing operation into Syria's Afrin district against the People's Protection Units (YPG), saying Turkey's "sole objective is to fight against terrorism and to protect its borders".

He also said that the operation's most important objective is ending the project to build a terror corridor and terrorist state in the region, and with its success Operation Olive Branch has eliminated this project.

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Turkey is also concerned about the presence in northern Iraq of militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which has waged the insurgency in Turkey since the 1980s.

"We are frustrated to see that the same fighters that were courageously combatting Daesh (Islamic State) have been left to the mercy of the Turkish army allied with jihadists, abandoned under the bombs of Ankara", Issa said.

Thousands of Afrin residents streamed out of the town before the Turkish troops entered.

Nauert said US officials have expressed their concern to Turkish officials about the situation in Afrin. Images have emerged of torched stores, and of men in uniforms and others in civilian clothes walking out of homes with household goods.

"They understood that they couldn't withstand the Turkish Armed Forces anymore and they had to flee".

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