First bursts of bombing, and first victims. Ignoring international warnings, Turkey on Wednesday (October 9th) launched, as it pledged, its offensive against the Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria, allied with Westerners in the anti-jihadist struggle.
>> Read: Turkey launches offensive in northeastern Syria
The offensive provoked an international outcry. The UN Security Council will meet in emergency on Thursday. Its incumbent President, South African Ambassador Jerry Matthews Matjila, called on Turkey to "spare civilians" and "exercise maximum restraint". In the meantime, the reactions multiplied on Wednesday.
US President Donald Trump said the Ankara operation was "a bad idea". Earlier this week, however, it was the withdrawal of US troops from border areas in Syria and the contradictory statements of the White House that paved the way for the offensive.
On Wednesday, it was in a brief statement that Donald Trymp disapproved of the operation. "This morning NATO member Turkey has invaded Syria, and the United States does not support this attack and has made it clear to Turkey that this operation was a bad idea."
Will lead effort in Congress to make Erdogan pay a heavy price.Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 9, 2019
"Pray for our Kurdish allies who have been shamefully abandoned by the Trump administration," influential Republican Senator Lindsey Graham wrote on Twitter. "I will lead the efforts in Congress for Erdogan to pay dearly," added the one who is usually a close supporter of President Trump.
#NATO has been informing by Turkish authorities about their ongoing operation in Northern Syria. I count on Turkey to act with restraint and make sure we are made in the fight against ISIS are not jeopardized. I will discuss this issue with President Erdogan Friday.Jens Stoltenberg (@jensstoltenberg) 9 October 2019
"I am counting on Turkey to act with restraint and to ensure that the progress we have made in the fight against the [organization] Islamic State is not compromised.I will discuss this issue with President Erdogan on Friday", NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a message on his Twitter account.
Saudi Arabia condemns "aggression of the Turkish army launched in northeastern Syria" against Kurdish forces, said Wednesday the kingdom's foreign ministry. The Turkish offensive is likely to have "negative repercussions on the security and stability of the region" and "undermine international efforts to fight the ISIS terrorist group," the ministry wrote on Twitter.
The Bahraini Foreign Ministry, which has also condemned the Turkish offensive, wants to convene an emergency meeting of the Council of the League of Arab States to respond in a united way to the situation.
For his part, Russian President Vladimir Putin called on his Turkish partners to think carefully about the situation in order to avoid undermining the joint efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis.
"Do not wait for funding from the European Union"
"The EU calls on Turkey to put an end to the unilateral military initiative," say the 28 member states in a joint text. "It is unlikely that Turkey's so-called 'security zone' in northeastern Syria meets international criteria for the return of refugees," they said, adding that the EU would not provide " stabilization or development assistance in areas where people's rights are ignored ".
"Turkey must stop the ongoing military operation, it will not work, and if Turkey's plan is to create a safe area, do not wait for EU funding", President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker told the European Parliament in Brussels.
"I condemn the unilateral operation launched by Turkey in Syria," French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian wrote on Twitter, stressing that it could undermine the security of Europeans.
I condemn the unilateral operation launched by Turkey in Syria. It calls into question the security and humanitarian efforts of the Coalition against Daesh and risks undermining the security of Europeans. She must stop. The Security Council is seized.Jean-Yves Le Drian (@JY_LeDrian) October 9, 2019
"The Turkish offensive in the north-east of Syria is dangerous, dangerous for the safety of the Kurds, dangerous because it is favorable to Daesh, against whom we have been fighting for five years, it must stop," writes the Minister of Armies Florence Parly on Twitter.
The Turkish offensive in northeastern Syria is dangerous. Dangerous for the safety of the Kurds. Dangerous because it is conducive to Daesh, against whom we have been fighting for 5 years. She must stop. France has therefore seized the UN Security Council, which will meet tomorrow.Florence Parly (@florence_parly) October 9, 2019
"The Security Council meeting on Thursday must decide on sanctions against Turkey, if the offensive continues, and the European Union must immediately do the same," said former President François Hollande, in an interview to the Parisian. For him, it is also necessary to "suspend" the participation of Turkey in NATO. "The Kurds are our allies, they fought against Daesh, and Turkey is a member of NATO, how can we admit that a country that is in alliance with us can attack a force that has been our main counterpart against NATO? Daech ".
France can not let the Kurds be slaughtered by the Turkish forces. Beyond the solidarity we must have with those who are our allies in the fight against terrorism, it is our own security that is at stake. https://t.co/5lB8hgmABTFrançois Hollande (@fhollande) October 9, 2019
British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab has expressed "serious concern" after Turkey's "unilateral" offensive against Kurdish forces in northeastern Syria. This operation "may destabilize the region, exacerbate the humanitarian crisis and undermine the progress made in the fight against Daesh," the British Foreign Minister said in a statement, warning that the UK would "not support repatriation [of Syrian refugees] as long as conditions are not in place for a voluntary and safe return. "
"We urge Turkey to end its offensive and defend its security interests peacefully" as this "may further destabilize the region and provoke a resurgence" of the OEI, said, for his part, the Minister German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.
"Unilateral actions can only damage the results achieved in the fight against the terrorist threat [...] and destabilize the situation on the ground," warned Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio.
With AFP and Reuters