Following Turkey’s unilateral military actions in North East Syria, the President of the European People’s Party (EPP), Joseph Daul, made the following statement:

“On behalf of the EPP, I strongly condemn Turkey’s military operations in North East Syria and call on Turkey to exercise full restraint and withdraw its forces immediately. Unilateral actions will further destabilise the region and worsen the humanitarian crisis.

It is clear that Turkey’s actions will have dire consequences on the already precarious humanitarian situation in the region. It will provoke further displacements which will lead to an increase of refugees and internally displaced persons in Syria, the region and beyond. We also call for the special protection of the rights of civilians and vulnerable populations including religious and ethnic minorities with a specific concern for the region’s Christian community.

It is also the security of the whole region which is at stake. I am also extremely concerned that Turkey’s unilateral actions risk creating the conditions that allow for the re-emergence of terror group Islamic State (ISIS). This undermines the extensive efforts of the International Coalition to combat terrorism and jeopardizes the safety of our continent. Notably, the escape of captured ISIS fighters is alarming.

While we remain committed to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria, we also acknowledge Turkey’s concerns regarding its Southern Borders. However, these concerns can only be addressed by genuine political dialogue. This can only be achieved through a political transition where all Syrian parties are included under the UN-led Geneva process.”