Irish officials meet Turkish ambassador over Syria military action

Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs have met with the Turkish ambassador to Ireland ...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

19.37 11 Oct 2019

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Irish officials meet Turkish a...

Irish officials meet Turkish ambassador over Syria military action

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

19.37 11 Oct 2019

Share this article

Officials from the Department of Foreign Affairs have met with the Turkish ambassador to Ireland over his country's military action in Syria.

They met with Levent Murat Burhan on Friday afternoon.

In a statement, Tánaiste and Foreign Affairs Minster Simon Coveney says: "They reiterated Ireland's deep concern at the unilateral military action by Turkey in north-east Syria and emphasised our belief that renewed hostilities will further undermine stability and threaten progress achieved in the fight against Da'esh."


He adds: "They underlined that safety of all civilians, especially displaced and vulnerable communities, must be paramount and that any refugee returns to Syria must fully abide by humanitarian principles and be voluntary, dignified and safe.

"I call again on Turkey to cease unilateral military action in Syria and will be discussing the issue with other EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday."

Turkey has stepped up a ground and air offensive against Kurdish militia in northern Syria in recent days.

The military strike has forced thousands of people to flee.

International aid agencies are warning of an escalating humanitarian crisis in the region.

Ankara launched its military operation after US President Donald Trump pulled out American troops from alongside their Kurdish allies.

The Kurdish forces were a key part of the US-led alliance that battled Islamic State in the region over the past decade.

"Intense shelling"

The United Nations has warned the offensive could spark another catastrophe.

It says the airstrikes and ground offensive have "left civilians dead and forced tens of thousands to flee".

The UN's emergency relief chief Mark Lowcock notes that the Turkish government "assured me that they attach maximum importance to the protection of civilians and the avoidance of harm to them".

Jens Laerke from the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says there is "intense shelling all along the north-eastern Syrian border with Turkey, from Jarablus, to the west of the Euphrates, to the Iraqi border".

Highlighting the potential for further suffering for Syrians caught up in more than eight years of war, Christian Cardon de Lichtbuer, from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), says: "We have there all the ingredients for unfortunately yet another humanitarian crisis in Syria".

As of Thursday evening the UN human rights office, OHCHR, reported that seven civilians - including two women and a boy - had been killed.

A male civilian was also reported killed in Jarablus on Wednesday.

A woman and a boy were also said to be injured during counter-attacks and ground strikes by Kurdish non-State armed groups.

Meanwhile, Oxfam has announced additional funding for the unfolding and ongoing humanitarian crisis.

The charity has called for urgent international action to prevent the situation deteriorating further.

Oxfam Ireland's humanitarian manager Colm Byrne recently returned from Syria.

He says: "This latest violence serves as a reminder to the international community that the crisis in Syria, now in its ninth year, never went away.

"This was already an unprecedented human tragedy unfolding on an unimaginable scale - nearly 12 million people are still in need of humanitarian aid.

"The news reports of civilians being killed and injured, homes being destroyed and communities having to flee for their lives at such short notice, is truly disturbing and distressing.

"To see the stories of 100,000 people being displaced in the space of two days is shocking.

"Many will have left their homes in such a panic, with only what they could grab and the clothes on their backs."

Oxfam says it is committing an extra €50,000 to support those caught up in the conflict.

Main image: Smoke rises over the Syrian town of Tel Abyad, as seen from the Turkish border town of Akcakale on October 10th, 2019 | Image: ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

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Department Of Foreign Affairs Levent Murat Burhan Military Action Oxfam Simon Coveney Syria Turkey Turkish Ambassador Turkish Ambassador To Ireland

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