RIYADH,— Saudi Arabia condemned Turkey’s offensive Wednesday against Syrian Kurdistan, the Kurdish areas in northeast Syria, saying it would undermine the region’s security and the battle against jihadists.
The Turkish army’s “aggression” would have “negative repercussions on the security and stability of the region”, the foreign ministry said on Twitter.
It would also “undermine international efforts to fight the Islamic State terrorist group”.
The Bahrain foreign ministry on Wednesday condemned the Turkish offensive in northeast Syria, according to state news agency BNA.
The statement said Bahrain supports the call for an emergency meeting of the Arab League Council to take a unified Arab stand toward the aggression.
Kuwait said on Wednesday that the Turkish offensive in northeast Syria is a direct threat to stability and peace in the region and called for restraint, state news agency KUNA said.
Kuwait joins several Arab countries in condemning the offensive, including the UAE and Bahrain.
Turkish troops and their Syrian Arab rebel allies, who are considered as mercenary fighters for Turkey, entered Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) in northeast Syria on Wednesday night, the Turkish defense ministry said, starting a land offensive against Kurdish militia fighters.
The Kurdish forces said they repelled a Turkish ground offensive on Syria’s northern border, shortly after Ankara announced the land phase of its operation against Kurdish forces had commenced.
“Ground attack by Turkish forces has been repelled by SDF fighters in (Tel Abyad town) [Gire Spi]…No advance as of now,” Mustafa Bali, spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, said on Twitter.
Turkey fears the creation of a Kurdish autonomous region or Kurdish state in Syrian Kurdistan could encourage separatism amongst its own Kurds, according to analysts.
Syria’s Kurds have established a semi-autonomous region in northeastern Syria during the country’s eight-year war.
Turkey has already carried out two cross-border offensives into Syrian Kurdistan.
In 2016, the Turkish troops entered northern Syria in an area some 100 km east of Afrin to stop the Kurdish YPG forces from extending areas under their control and connecting Syrian Kurdistan’s Kobani and Hasaka in the east with Afrin canton in the west.
In January 2018, Turkish military forces backed pro-Ankara Syrian mercenary fighters to clear the YPG from its northwestern enclave of Afrin. In March 2018, the operation was completed with the capture of the Kurdish city of Afrin.
The flags of Turkey and Syrian rebel groups were raised in the Kurdish Afrin city and a statue of Kurdish hero Kawa, a symbol of resistance against oppressors, was torn down.
Residents of the Kurdish city and Human right groups accuse Turkey and pro-Ankara mercenary fighters of ethnic cleansing, kidnappings for ransom, armed robberies and torture.
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