Netherlands summons Turkish ambassador over assault on Syrian Kurdish forces

Netherlands summons Turkish ambassador over assault on Syrian Kurdish forces

2019/10/09 | 20:45 - Source: Iraq News

(ThisDay | Iraq News Now)- Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok, March 2019.

Photo: AFP

THE HAGUE,— The Netherlands summoned Turkey’s ambassador on Wednesday to condemn Ankara assault on Kurdish forces in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) in northern Syria, warning that it risked a resurgence of the Islamic State group.

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok, whose country is part of an international coalition against IS, said there could also be “terrible humanitarian consequences” from the Turkish offensive.

“The Netherlands condemns the Turkish offensive in northeast Syria.

I have summoned the Turkish ambassador.

I call on Turkey not to follow the path it has chosen,” Blok said on Twitter.

“No one can benefit from the potentially terrible humanitarian consequences.

The operation can trigger new refugee flows and harm the fight against IS and stability in the region.”

Fellow NATO member Turkey launched an assault aimed at curbing the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), after President Donald Trump ordered the pullback of US troops from the Turkey-Syrian border which had served as a buffer.

The SDF was previously allied to the US, which used it to crush the Islamic State group.

But Turkey says it is linked to Kurdish insurgents inside its own territory.

The Netherlands has been part of the anti-IS coalition since 2014.

In May more than 50 Dutch soldiers were still training Kurdish troops in Erbil in Iraq as part of the coalition.

The Dutch diplomatic protest against Turkey comes only a year after the two countries renewed relations, after a freeze caused when two Turkish ministers were barred from a Rotterdam rally and riots ensued.

The Kurdish PYD and its powerful military wing YPG/YPJ, considered the most effective fighting force against IS in Syria and U.S.

has provided them with arms. The YPG, which is the backbone of the SDF forces, has seized swathes of Syria from Islamic State.

The Kurdish forces expelled the Islamic State from its last patch of territory in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz in March 2019.

11,000 Kurdish fighters had been killed in five years of war to eliminate the Islamic State “caliphate” that once covered an area the size of Great Britain in Syria and Iraq, Kurdish officials said.

Copyright © 2019, respective author or news agency, | AFP

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