Leaders from Germany, France, the United Kingdom, the European Parliament, and the United States joined together on Friday to issue a damning statement condemning President Donald Trump and Turkey for the ongoing atrocities in northern Syria.
In the statement, the chairs of foreign affairs committees from each governing body said they consider Turkey’s recent incursion into Syria targeting the Kurdish people to be “military aggression and a violation of international law.”
They continued: “The Turkish offensive is causing suffering for the local people who are forced to flee and a further instability in Syria and the neighboring region.”
After effectively giving the green light to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to invade the region after withdrawing American troops more than a week ago, President Donald Trump has tried to defend his decision and claim that he is working with Turkey to resolve the conflict. But observers argued that the agreement the Trump administration reached with Erdogan on Thursday, which Vice President Mike Pence called a “ceasefire,” was in fact just a complete capitulation to Turkey’s wishes and a betrayal of the Kurds.
The joint statement blasted Trump for abandoning the Kurds, who have long worked as American allies:
We consider the abandonment of the Syrian Kurds to be wrong. The Syrian Democratic Forces, our partner in the Global Coalition, massively contributed to the successful yet unfinished fight against Da’esh in Syria and incurred heavy losses by doing so.
We deeply regret the decision of the President of United States to withdraw American troops from north eastern Syria which marks another landmark in the change of American foreign policy in the Near and Middle East. The turmoil caused by the Turkish offensive may contribute to a resurgence of Islamic terrorism and undermines years of effort and investment to bring stability and peace in this part of the world. Therefore, we hope the United States will take up its responsibility in Syria again.
It added that the chairs of the committees “equally” ask European Union members to take action to immediately end the “horrible war.”
Despite the supposed “ceasefire” announced on Thursday, the Turkish government resumed hostilities in the region on Friday. Trump tried to downplay this development, calling it “minor sniper and mortar fire that was quickly eliminated,” citing only Erdogan as his source of information.
Meanwhile, The Guardian reported:
UN chemical weapons inspectors have announced they are gathering information following accusations that burning white phosphorus was used by Turkish forces against children in Syria earlier this week.
The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said on Friday morning that “it was aware of the situation and is collecting information with regard to possible use of chemical weapons”.
The Kurdish Red Crescent said in a statement that six patients, both civilian and military, were in hospital in Hasakah with burns from “unknown weapons” and it was working to evaluate what had been used.