A long-lasting, sustainable solution to the Syrian conflict will never be achieved by means of military action. S&D MEPs unite in asking the Turkish president to stop undermining the security of the whole region and end the unilateral attack on North-East Syria.

Political and diplomatic tools and respect for human lives and international humanitarian law must be the basis on which any security concerns in the area must be resolved.

“Turkey must withdraw its forces from the North of Syria and avoid any escalation. Violating the sovereignty of a neighboring country further undermines the fragile stability of the region and it endangers the life of Syrian civilians, who have already been hit hard by war,” stated S&D leader Iratxe García.

“According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 150,000 people have been displaced around Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain, and many don’t have access to humanitarian assistance,” concluded García.

“The EU seems to be united in condemning the Turkish military operation, but bitterly fails to take concrete action. Individual member states’ decision to halt weapon exports to Turkey won’t have any direct impact on the current situation in North-East Syria. What is needed is a high-level diplomatic effort to immediately stop the Turkish incursion and to re-start the settlement process on the Kurdish question,” added Kati Piri, S&D vice-president responsible for foreign affairs.

“This military operation brings a humanitarian disaster to the people in North-East Syria; it makes the situation for Syrian refugees in Turkey very insecure; and it could enable Islamic State to resurge – all effects which also have a direct influence on European citizens. Therefore, we expect EU leaders to put the possibility of economic sanctions on the table – the only real leverage the EU has over Ankara,” Piri said.