Sweden calls Turkey to end Afrin attack, threatens withdrawal of ambassador
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Members of the Swedish Parliament on Tuesday discussed the ongoing Turkish military offensive on Afrin in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava) and demanded Sweden withdraw its ambassador from Ankara in protest of the attacks.
The meeting took place in the presence of Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Margot Wallström and included members of Sweden’s Left Party and Green Party.
The lawmakers called on the government to pressure Ankara to stop its “illegitimate” attacks on the Kurdish region of Afrin.
“We are working within the Swedish and European Parliament to stop the fierce attack by Turkey on [Afrin] which has left innocent civilians, including women and children, dead,” Kurdish Left Party MP Amineh Kakabaveh told Kurdistan 24.
Another Kurdish MP, Jabar Amin of the Green Party, called on Sweden to “withdraw its ambassador from Ankara and declare its rejection of the brutal attacks by the Turkish army on Afrin and other areas in western Kurdistan.”
Meanwhile, Wallström, who is also Sweden’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, announced the cancellation of a visit to Ankara in two-weeks, as well as the suspension of diplomatic work between the two countries until an unspecified date.
Turkish warplanes began striking Afrin on Jan. 20, as dozens of civilians, including children and women, were reported to have been killed by air raids and shelling.
The campaign dubbed “Operation Olive Branch” by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is meant to clear Syria’s Kurdish-held northwest district of People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters who Turkey claims are an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Ankara has labeled the US-backed Kurdish forces a “terrorist organization” and has been infuriated by Washington’s support for the YPG.
The US, which is backing the Kurds in the ongoing battle against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria, said it was concerned and has called on Turkey to limit its military offensive in the Kurdish region.
Kurdistan 24 correspondent Akram Salih, who is covering developments in Afrin, said the bombing has targeted villages which the Turkish army is seeking to move toward but have not made any progress.