ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – During a press conference at the European Parliament on Thursday, Co-chair of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) Ilham Ahmed called on EU member states and the United Nations Security Council to sanction Turkey for its attack on northern Syria that began on Wednesday.
The SDC leader said she appreciated the stance of many European countries and council members, but stressed there is an urgent need for “action.”
The Security Council was set to meet on Thursday to discuss Turkey’s unilateral military operation in northern Syria, but has not yet released any information regarding the outcome of such a meeting. The session of the 15-member council was requested on Wednesday by the five European members; Britain, France, Germany, Belgium, and Poland.
“Turkey should be forced to withdraw its forces from Syria and be put under sanctions,” said Ahmed, adding, “We also call on the international community to withdraw their diplomats from Turkey.”
The Kurdish leader also called for a no-fly zone to protect an estimated five million civilians living in northeastern Syria. The attack, she said, is putting them in grave danger, as a statement released by Amnesty International on Wednesday argued as well.
Multiple other international organizations have spoken out against the Turkish operations in Syria, including Refugees International. The group’s president, Eric Schwartz, warned on Wednesday of “new fronts in the conflict and newly-displaced hundreds of thousands of civilians across an area already in the grip of a humanitarian crisis.”
“A Turkish military operation into northeast Syria will likely force international relief groups to evacuate just when they are most needed,” he said.
Several European nations have condemned Turkey’s actions as well, such as Germany, France, and the Netherlands, which summoned its Turkish ambassador.
Joel Voordewind, a Dutch MP for the Christian Union, told Kurdistan 24 that the Turkish attack is a “stab in the back for our [greatest] ally against ISIS, the Kurds” and that his party “thinks that sanctions should be imposed on Turkey.”
There are also calls to address Turkey’s behavior within NATO.
Dutch MP for the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), Martijn van Helvert, has proposed a motion to the Dutch government to schedule a meeting within NATO in order to find out if other member states consider Turkey’s military incursion “acceptable” or not.
“Can Turkey do this? What does the US think?”
Ahmed, the SDC co-chair, warned there are still Islamic State sleeper cells in Syria ready to regroup which the US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have been working hard to keep at bay.
“The war of the SDF against ISIS was still going on and we offered 11,000 martyrs.”
“Turkey doesn’t have the right to attack a region that has lived in peace,” she concluded. “That’s why we call on the international community to support us against an attack of the Turkish state.”
Editing by John J. Catherine