Germany and five other EU countries have again called for an end to the Turkish military offensive in Syria at the United Nations. "New armed conflicts in the north-east will further endanger the stability of the entire region, increase the suffering of civilians and bring about further expulsions that will increase the number of refugees in Syria and the region," said Germany, Belgium, France, Poland, United Kingdom and Estonia in a joint statement with.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched an offensive in northern Syria on Wednesday. It is directed against the Kurdish YPG militia, which is viewed by Turkey as a terrorist organization. Turkey and allied units are now said to have encircled two important cities for the Kurdish YPG militia.
Before the meeting, Deputy German UN Ambassador Jürgen Schulz said that Germany condemned the offensive "in the strongest possible way". "We believe this offensive carries the risk of further destabilizing the entire region and resurging the Islamic State." Instead, the political process must be continued. "But the Turkish offensive threatens to unleash another humanitarian disaster and further refugee movements"
Kurds demonstrate in Germany
Several thousand demonstrators hung on the streets in Germany against the Turkish military offensive. The focus was on North Rhine-Westphalia. In Münster, a police spokesman spoke of about 1,000 demonstrators, in Cologne, there were several hundred according to a spokesman, in Duisburg almost 500, in 250 victories in the whole federal state for the evening meetings were announced with up to 3,000 expected participants, said the NRW Interior Ministry with. Until the evening, all rallies remained largely peaceful, as police spokesman said.
According to the experiences of the past year, the police do not exclude attacks on Turkish institutions, it said. State protection and constitution protection are particularly sensitized, communicated the Ministry of the Interior.
Also in Magdeburg demonstrated according to a police spokesman about 500 people against the military action. In Hamburg there were 450 people. In Berlin, the police spoke of a "lower four-digit number".
Syrian government rejects dialogue with Kurdish militia
The Syrian government refused a dialogue with the Kurdish militia YPG. In defense, Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad said they had betrayed their country and wanted to secede from Syria. That would have given Turkey a pretext for the attack. "We will not accept dialogue or any talks with those who have become hostages of foreign forces," Makdad said, referring to the YPG. "There will be no support for Washington's agents on Syrian soil."
The YPG leads the rebel group Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which was supported by the US in its fight against the IS extremists. The Kurdish militia has not fought against the Syrian government of President Bashar al Assad in the eight-year civil war. Rather, it was supported at the beginning of the conflict by government forces to take control in predominantly Kurdish cities. However, the government in Damascus denies the Kurds the autonomy they seek. It even threatened them with a military operation earlier this year if they did not return to the Syrian state authority.
A representative of the Syrian Kurds had this week stated that the Kurdish regional government could hold talks with the leadership in Damascus and its Allied Russia in order to close a security gap in the event of withdrawal of US soldiers from the border region to Turkey. With their withdrawal, the US has cleared the way for the offensive to NATO partner Turkey. Turkey fears a strengthening of the Kurds beyond their southern borders and thus also the Kurds striving for autonomy in their own country.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visits Turkey
In the middle of the military offensive, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wants to travel to Turkey on Friday. The Norwegian is said to meet Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu in Ankara before being received by President Erdoğan.
Stoltenberg had called on Turkey on Wednesday to restraint and announced to discuss the issue on Friday with Erdoğan. The relationship between Turkey and several NATO partners has been strained for quite some time. In particular, the purchase of Russian S-400 air defense missiles by Turkey led to a dispute with the United States. Washington therefore excluded the NATO partner from the program for the production of the new fighter jet F-35.