'Ankara’s operation against Kurdish-led militias in northeastern Syria has been criticized across Europe and the Middle East, as one country after another sounded the alarm over the impact to the Syrian peace process.
The offensive by Turkish army and affiliated Syrian “opposition” militants kicked off on Wednesday with massive air and artillery strikes, followed by a land invasion dubbed ‘Operation Peace Spring.’
The EU has condemned the invasion and urged Turkey to halt it, expressing doubt the proclaimed goal of establishing a “safe zone” where refugees could return would be reached. EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said that Ankara should not “expect the EU to pay for any of” the said zone.
“The EU calls upon Turkey to cease the unilateral military action,” the 28 members of the bloc said in a joint statement. “It is unlikely that a so-called 'safe zone' in north-east Syria, as envisaged by Turkey, would satisfy international criteria for refugee return.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin urged his Turkish counterpart to “gauge the situation comprehensively” so that Ankara’s actions would not undermine the peace process in Syria.
An extraordinary UN Security Council meeting to assess the situation in Syria has been called by France and the UK and is expected to be held behind closed doors on Thursday, according to media reports.
French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the Turkish actions were “jeopardizing the anti-Islamic State coalition's security and humanitarian efforts,” while his Dutch counterpart Stef Blok condemned the invasion and summoned Ankara’s envoy over it.
Egypt has urged the UNSC to halt “any attempts to occupy Syrian territories” and condemned the Turkish aggression in the “strongest terms,” calling for an emergency meeting of the League of Arab States as well. Similar reactions came from Saudi Arabia, Bahrein, Iran and others.'
Read more: No ‘peace’ spring: Turkish invasion of northeastern Syria met with worldwide condemnation
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