The US President Joe Biden’s decision to extend the national emergency over the situation in and in relation to Syria contains baseless allegations and accusations against Turkey, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
According to a White House statement on Thursday, Washington will maintain in force an executive order decreed on October 14, 2014. The statement particularly mentions Washington’s NATO ally’s operations in northern Syria as the reason behind the decision to extend the national emergency.
“The situation in and in relation to Syria, and in particular the actions by the Government of Turkey to conduct a military offensive into northeast Syria, undermines the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, endangers civilians, and further threatens to undermine the peace, security, and stability in the region, and continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” the White House said.
Turkey in recent months have been signalling plans to launch a new military offensive in north Syria in order to take control of a territory stretching about 40 km into its neighbour. Turkey’s main intent is to clear the area of Kurdish fighters, which it sees as a threat to its national security, while the mainly-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has formed the backbone of US-led international coalition fighting against ISIS since 2014.
“The allegations in the Order regarding Operation Peace Spring, which was carried out in order to fight against terrorism, protect border security and eliminate the separatist terror threats originating from Syria, are unfounded,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday following Biden’s decision.
Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring, which followed operations named Olive Branch and Euphrates Shield, was launched in 2019 with the support of Syrian rebels fighting alongside the Turkish army. The operation was halted after Ankara signed two separate ceasefire agreements with Washington and Moscow, but the Turkish government repeatedly complains about other parties not fully complying to the terms of the agreements.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said the operation had been carried out in accordance with the international law and had ensured removal of terrorist organisations from the areas of operation and contributed to the preservation of territorial integrity of Syria.
“We expect the US to terminate its engagement with the terrorist organisation PKK/YPG and to fulfil the provisions of the Joint Statement of 17 October 2019,” the ministry said, referring to Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, which Ankara sees as an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).