Turkish attack on Afrin 'unjustified,' 'ethnic cleansing,' says Swedish party leader

"Well, we are, of course deeply concerned about what's happening in Afrin. We think this Turkish occupation and attack is totally unprovoked and unjustified," said Jonas Sjöstedt, head of Sweden's Left Party."

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (Kurdistan 24) – A Swedish Member of Parliament and party leader told Kurdistan 24 in Stockholm on Sunday that the Turkish military offensive in Afrin was “a massive killing of civilians, it’s an ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of people.”

“We are, of course, deeply concerned about what’s happening in Afrin. We think this Turkish occupation and attack is totally unprovoked and unjustified,” Jonas Sjöstedt, head of Sweden’s Left Party, said.

“We can see how they use these jihadistic mercenaries and bandits to attack the people of Afrin,” he added.

Turkish and Syrian rebel forces overtook the Kurdish-held enclave of Afrin on March 18 where they declared full control following a nearly two-month long offensive against the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Ankara launched its military incursion in January claiming the operation was meant to secure its borders of YPG forces which it argues are an offshoot of the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and thus “terrorists.”

Hundreds of thousands of civilians have been displaced from the Kurdish enclave of northwest Syria and are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance, according to recent reports by the World Health Organization.

“And, it’s really sad, because Afrin was one of the more peaceful regions in Syria, a region that hosted so many refugees,” the Swedish party leader continued.

“But, it was apparently very provoking for Erdogan because they also created an autonomy for Kurds and Arabs, and for Christians and Muslims together,” Sjöstedt noted, adding Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan “could not stand that.”

The party leader expressed worry that war will continue and Erdogan “will attack other parts of Rojava [Syrian Kurdistan] and maybe also northern Iraq and Kurdistan.”

The only thing that can stop this, he said, “is the outside world. There has to be stronger condemnations, there has to be economic sanctions, there has to be an immediate stop of the export of arms to Turkey.”

Sjöstedt concluded by saying, “Turkey is becoming a dictatorship that is not only harmful to the Turks and Kurds living in Turkey but the whole region.”

Editing by Karzan Sulaivany