Xinhua News Agency, Beijing, Oct. 12 (Xinhua News Agency) - Since the Turkish army launched military operations against Kurdish forces in northern Syria on Oct. 9, many civilians have been killed and injured, and about 100,000 civilians have fled their homes. The U.S. Defense Ministry said Tuesday that the U.S. military in Syria was shelled by Turkey that night, and the United States opposed the military action in Syria. The United Nations and the European Council have called on Turkey to stop military operations and protect civilians in northeastern Syria.
U.S. Defense Force 11 said that around 9 p.m. local time in Syria, the U.S. military near the city of Sykobani was shelled by the Turkish side, but no casualties were caused. After the incident, the U.S. military did not withdraw from Kobani. The statement said the United States opposes Turkish military operations in Syria, especially in areas where Turkey knows the presence of U.S. troops. The United States asked Turkey to avoid any action that could promptly trigger defensive action.
Turkey said Tuesday that the shelling was not aimed at the US military, but attempted to counter the Kurdish forces near the US presence area. The Ministry of Civil Defense said it had stopped shelling after communicating with the United States.
U.S. Defense Secretary Esper said at a Pentagon press conference on November 11 that the United States opposes Turkeys unilateral military operations in northern Syria and is very disappointed. Turkeys actions threaten the security of prisons for prisoners of the Islamic State and exacerbate unrest in the region.
U.S. President Trump intends to sign an executive order authorizing the Treasury Department to impose sanctions on Turkish government officials or departments, according to a statement issued on November 11. However, the statement did not specify the conditions for the initiation of sanctions against Turkey. US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin said at a White House press conference that day that Trump was very concerned about the possible impact of the Turkish operation on Syrian civilians, civilian infrastructure and local minorities. At the same time, Mnuchin pointed out that the United States has not initiated any sanctions against Turkey.
Turkish President Erdogan said at an event in Istanbul on the evening of November 11 that Turkeys current military operations in Syria are aimed at protecting the rights of all Syrians there, and will not split Syria. He also said that the Turkish Army operation will eliminate terrorist organizations east of the Euphrates River in Syria, thus ensuring the security of the Turkish border and the safe return of Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Turkey regards Kurdish militants in northern Syria as terrorist organizations, but the United States regards them as partners in counter-terrorism operations. Erdogan accused the Syrian Kurdish armed Peoples Protection Force of killing many civilians, saying that Turkey can hardly wait longer for action.
The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Syria, Rida, issued a media statement on November 11, saying that since Turkey launched military operations in northeastern Syria on September 9, about 100,000 civilians have fled their homes. The fighting also resulted in the suspension of an important water station in Hasek Province in northeastern Syria, where maintenance personnel were unable to reach due to the continuation of the conflict. The water station is a source of water for about 400,000 residents in Hasek and its surrounding areas. In addition, markets, schools and clinics in the war zones have been closed for days, and only one public hospital is still in operation.
Rida said that the United Nations and other humanitarian agencies were concerned about the developments and demanded that all parties comply with international humanitarian law, protect civilian security and civilian infrastructure, and ensure the safe and sustained access of humanitarian assistance to civilians.
Tusk, President of the European Council, appealed in Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus, on November 11 that Turkey should stop its military operations in northern Syria, or else it could lead to another humanitarian disaster. He said that the issue of homeland security should be resolved through political and diplomatic means, and military intervention will only make the situation worse.
Turkey recently plans to establish a security zone in northeastern Syria to accommodate millions of Syrian refugees. Erdogan threatened to flood millions of refugees into European countries if a safe zone was not established. Tusk said the European Union would never accept Turkeys extortion of refugees as weapons. He condemned Erdogans threat as very inappropriate.
The Turkish Ministry of Defense announced on the evening of September 9 that Turkish troops had launched ground military operations against Kurdish forces in northern Syria. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Syria condemned the civilian casualties caused by Turkeys military operations in northern Syria on October 10, saying that Syria will take all legal means to combat them. The Syrian government has always regarded the military presence of the United States and Turkey in northern Syria as a violation of Syrian sovereignty and condemned it.
Source: Xinhua responsible editor: Li Zaixing_NBJS9026