India condemns Turkey’s offensive on SyriaUpdated: Oct 10, 2019 22:57 IST
New Delhi: India on Thursday strongly criticised Turkey’s unilateral military offensive in Syria, which has resulted in tens of thousands of people fleeing their homes, with the move seen as an apparent riposte to Ankara’s backing for Islamabad on the Kashmir issue.
Following US President Donald Trump’s sudden decision to withdraw American troops from the region, Turkish troops moved into northeastern Syria after airstrikes and artillery shelling targeted Kurdish forces that were earlier backed by the US. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said more than 60,000 people had fled their homes since Wednesday.
In a statement, the external affairs ministry said India was “deeply concerned at the unilateral military offensive by Turkey in northeast Syria”.
It added: “Turkey’s actions can undermine stability in the region and the fight against terrorism. Its action also has the potential for causing humanitarian and civilian distress.”
The fighting has triggered concerns about the regrouping of the Islamic State, with about 10,000 members of the terror group currently held in northern Syria by Kurdish forces. The Kurdish leadership has warned that the Turkish offensive would hamper the fight against IS.
India also called on Turkey to “exercise restraint and respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria” even as it urged all parties to take steps for the peaceful settlement of all issues through dialogue.
People familiar with developments said the positions adopted by Turkey, its close ally Pakistan and China appeared to indicate that they wouldn’t criticise each other on sensitive issues
First Published: Oct 10, 2019 22:57 IST