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Canada condemns Turkish military incursion in northern Syria

Canada condemns Turkey

Canada has joined its major allies on Wednesday in firmly condemning Turkey's military incursion into northern Syria.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland made Canada's position clear in a series of late-afternoon tweets, saying the unilateral action by Turkey risks rolling back the progress against Islamic State militants, also known as Daesh.

Turkey's military action is targeting Kurdish forces, and comes after U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly decided Sunday that American troops would stand aside, a radical shift in American foreign policy.

"Canada firmly condemns Turkey's military incursion into Syria today," Freeland said on Twitter.

"This unilateral action risks undermining the stability of an already-fragile region, exacerbating the humanitarian situation and rolling back progress achieved by the Global Coalition Against Daesh, of which Turkey is a member.

"We call for the protection of civilians and on all parties to respect their obligations under international law, including unhindered access for humanitarian aid."

Trump's decision to withdraw from Syria drew widespread condemnation internationally and across party lines within the U.S. because it is widely seen as abandonment of the Syrian Kurdish fighters who have been America's sole allies in Syria fighting the Islamic State group.

Trump said he wanted to end American involvement in what he called "these endless, senseless wars."

Tens of millions of Kurds live on land divided among Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria, comprising sizable minority populations in each country, and many seek a separate state.

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to create a "safe zone" free of Kurdish fighters, which it views as terrorists aligned with Kurdish rebels inside Turkey.

"We will preserve Syria's territorial integrity and liberate local communities from terrorists," Erdogan said shortly after the start of what he calls "Operation Peace Spring."

After the Turkish attack began, Trump called it a "bad idea," and Germany and the European Union, among others, have also criticized it.

Trump said he would ensure Turkey lived up to a commitment to protect civilians and religious minorities, including Christians, and to prevent a humanitarian crisis. He also called on Turkey to ensure that captured Islamic fighters remain in custody.



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