Officials from NATO and Russia are calling on Turkey to use restraint in its ongoing military offensive against the Kurds in Syria, after thousands have been killed in the country in a war championed by the United States.
Both Republicans and Democrats in Congress are moving to introduce legislation that would impose sanctions against Turkey, as the country continues a military offensive in north-eastern Syria.
Announcing plans for the House, Republican Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney said Congress has long had concerns about “Turkey’s cooperation with U.S. adversaries, such as Russia,” and if Turkey “wants to be treated like an ally, it must begin behaving like one.”
They are joining lawmakers in the Senate who are calling for immediate sanctions on senior Turkish government officials, and a ban all US military transactions with Turkey.
The NATO ally began its planned military offensive into north-eastern Syria this week, after the US pulled back troops from the border. Initial reports claimed around two dozen Kurdish fighters and one dozen civilians were killed. More than 70,000 civilians were forced to flee from their homes to escape the bombing, and an estimated 300,000 civilians could be impacted if the offensive continues.
While Turkey is claiming the actions of its military are in response to a border conflict with the Kurds, which it labels as a terrorist group, its allies around the world are calling for restraint.
In a meeting with Turkey’s foreign minister, NATO’s secretary general expressed concerns about the estimated 10,000 ISIS prisoners that have been guarded by the Kurds. He noted that if Turkey sets them free, it could lead to a resurgence of the group in Syria.
The European Union’s foreign policy chief is also calling on Turkey to end its military operation, arguing that “renewed armed hostilities in the north-east will further undermine the stability of the whole region.”
|Meanwhile, Russia’s foreign minister said Moscow is calling for dialogue—between Turkey and the Syrian Arab Republic, and between Damascus and Kurdish forces. And President Putin said he is concerned about the threat how the release how those ISIS fighters would threaten the region.|
“It’s a real threat for us. How and where they will move, would they pass through Turkish territory or other territories, would they go deeper to uncontrolled territories of Syria and move then through Iraq somewhere to other countries,” Putin said.
President Trump doubled down on the claim that ISIS has been 100 percent defeated, and he said he is open to helping to establish a deal between Syria and the Kurds.
Now it remains to be seen if Turkey is will listen to the warnings of its allies, or if those warnings will be followed by sanctions from the US and its partners, against the NATO ally.