|Author (Corporate)||Cardiff EDC|
|Content Type||News, Overview|
Reports, analyses and information on a military operation undertaken by Turkey in the north-east region of Syria, following the withdrawal of troops from the United States (USA).
The United States announced on 6 October 2019 that the troops stationed in Syria were to withdraw from the borders of Turkey, following a phone call between the leaders of the two countries. On 9 October, Turkey launched a military operation in northeastern Syria, starting with air strikes hitting the border town of Ras al Ain. The operation 'Peace Spring' was aimed at containing Syrian Kurdish power and creating an area within Syria to which a large number of Syrian refugees hosted in Turkey could subsequently be transferred.
The operation would attempt to bring years of expanding Kurdish presence and control across northern and eastern Syria, which had taken place in the context of the fight against the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) alongside a coalition of forces led by the United states. The withdrawal of US troops from the region was consequently deemed by many analysts a betrayal to the Kurds, which had been widely seen as instrumental to the success of the operation to tackle the caliphate.
On 9 October, the European Union's High-Representative for Foreign Policy demanded Turkey to halt its unilateral military operation in Syria. Several European countries criticised the move and went on to freeze arms exports to Turkey. On 14 October, the Council of the European Union condemned Turkey's activities in Syria and supported the decision by some Member States to stop exporting weapons to the country. On the same day, the United States announced they were freezing commercial relations with Turkey due to the violence imposed upon northeastern Syria. Media sources reported that the Kurds had reached an agreement with the Syrian government to support the effort to repeal the Turkish incursion in the territory.
Turkey agreed on 17 October to a ceasefire for 120 hours in northern Syria, to allow the withdrawal of Kurdish-led forces (YPG), following a deal reached with the United States. Turkey also agreed to a permanent ceasefire upon completion of the YPG withdrawal. However, media sources reported that fighting was still ongoing on the following day at the border between Syria and Turkey. Another deal was agreed between Turkey and Russia on 22 October that aimed at ensuring the withdrawal of Kurdish forces from areas close to Syria's border and at conducting joint patrols in northern Syria. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced that the Kurdish-led armed forces had withdrawn from the safe zone along the Syria–Turkey border on the 29. On 1 November, Turkish and Russian forces started joint patrol.
On 24 October, the plenary session of the European Parliament adopted a Resolution which condemns Turkey's military operation in northeast Syria and calls for measures against the country.
|Subject Categories||Politics and International Relations, Security and Defence|
|Subject Tags||Wars | Conflicts|
|Keywords||Syrian Conflict | Crisis | Civil War (2011- )
|Countries / Regions||Syria, Turkey|