Dutch FM urges Turkey to stop military offensive in northern Syria

Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok on Wednesday urged Turkey to stop its military offensive against the Kurdish forces in northern Syria, which was launched earlier in the day.

He said he had summoned Turkey’s ambassador to condemn the attack.

Blok said on Twitter that he called on Turkey not to follow the path it has chosen.

“Nobody benefits from the potentially terrible humanitarian consequences. The situation can trigger new refugee flows and harm the fight against IS (Islamic State group) and harm the stability in the region,” he said. “Unilateral actions do not help.”

“We are and will continue to be in discussions with our partners, including through NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) and the EU (European Union),” Blok said. “It’s good that France and the United Kingdom are convening the UN Security Council.”

The Netherlands is in the U.S.-led coalition against the IS terrorists in Syria.

Earlier in the day, Turkey launched military operations targeting the Kurdish forces in several parts of northeast Syria after the United States started pulling its troops out of there.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday declared the beginning of the military campaign to eliminate the Kurdish forces in northern Syria, which Ankara deems as terrorists and separatists.

Turkey regards the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) there, backed by the U.S.-led coalition, as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), against which it has been waging a year-long war on its own territory.

Washington’s recent decision to withdraw troops from the Syrian region which Turkey was planning to target is seen as abandoning the SDF there, a crucial ally in its fight against the IS terrorists in northern and eastern Syria.