‘Can undermine fight against terror’: India pans Turkey over Syria offensive
India on Thursday panned Turkey’s military offensive in northeast Syria, saying the unilateral action can undermine stability in the region and the fight against terrorism.
New Delhi’s sharply-worded statement came after Turkey stood firm on its decision to launch military action in the face of international outrage. There are raising fears of a new refugee crisis in northern Syria and concern that thousands of jihadists being held in Syrian Kurdish prisons could use the opportunity to escape.
President Tayyip Erdogan has said the military operation would support Syria’s territorial integrity by confronting Kurdish control of the country’s northeast.
“They are not honest, they just make up words,” Erdogan said of Turkey’s critics, singling out Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
New Delhi asked Ankara to exercise restraint and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. India also urged for peaceful settlement of all issues through dialogue and discussion.
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said: “We are deeply concerned at the unilateral military offensive by Turkey in north-east Syria.” New Delhi said Turkey’s action also has the potential for causing humanitarian and civilian distress.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced air raids on Tuesday aimed at removing Kurdish-led forces from the border area.
The move came after the US announced it was withdrawing its troops from the region, leaving the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), its main ally in the battle against the Islamic State (ISIS) terror group, without US military support.
Heavy clashes between Turkish forces and the SDF were reported in the Syrian border towns.
The SDF, led by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), has appealed to the US and its allies for a “no-fly zone” to protect it from Turkish air attacks. Turkey considers the YPG a “terrorist” group, according to news agency IANS.