The European Union (EU) warned on Tuesday that Turkish military offensive against the Kurdish-controlled enclave of Afrin in the northern Syria could derail a political solution to the conflict in Syria.
“The Afrin offensive could have political consequences on the internal balances inside the future Syria at large and on the potential of political negotiations because the new escalation of violence can push away the chances for a political solution to the conflict,” said Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, according to Stockholmcf.org.
“We need to concentrate all of us in supporting the UN-lead negotiations in Geneva. The war in Syria is not over yet,” said Mogherini during a speech in the debate on current human rights situation in Turkey and the situation in Afrin at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
“We are deeply worried about the new front opened in Syria. We are worried first of all for humanitarian reasons. The people of Syria cannot afford a new front and a new crisis,” she said. Mogherini has also stressed that dialogue with Turkey today “is more important than ever,” and noted that “Turkey is facing enormous challenges.”
Turkish warplanes began striking Afrin on January 20, as dozens of civilians, including children and women, were reported to have been killed by air raids and shelling.
The campaign dubbed “Operation Olive Branch” by Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is meant to clear Syria’s Kurdish-held northwest district of People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters who Turkey claims are an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Ankara has labeled the US-backed Kurdish forces a “terrorist organization” and has been infuriated by Washington’s support for the YPG.
The US, which is backing the Kurds in the ongoing battle against ISIL in Syria, said it was concerned and has called on Turkey to limit its military offensive in the Kurdish region.