Reinsalu calls on Turkey to end unilateral military action

Civilians fleeing Ras al-Ain, Syria, which has been trapped by Turkish air strikes.
Civilians fleeing Ras al-Ain, Syria, which has been trapped by Turkish air strikes. Source: AFP/Scanpix

Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said on Wednesday night that Estonia is concerned about Turkey's military operation in north-east Syria and called on Turkey to end the unilateral conflict.

"We are concerned about the Turkish military operation in north-east Syria, which is further undermining the stability of the whole region. We call on Turkey to end its unilateral military action and to refrain from civilian casualties and further deterioration of the humanitarian situation. Turkey, our NATO ally, will undoubtedly have security concerns over terrorism, but political and diplomatic solutions to tensions in the region should be sought," Reinsalu said in a statement.

"It is clear that a long-lasting conflict in Syria needs a political solution through UN efforts. However, the military operation that has begun could seriously undermine these efforts and give Daesh (ISIS - Ed) a fresh start. Turkey is an important partner for Europe in combating migration flows. Turkey itself has millions of Syrian refugees fleeing the war and their return must be safe and in accordance with international rules," Reinsalu added.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Wednesday afternoon that a military operation against a Kurdish-controlled region in northeastern Syria had begun. According to local media reports, explosions and shootings in the border region are also pointing to the start of the operation.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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