The White House has explicitly cited Turkey’s military actions in northeast Syria as a major threat to US national security and foreign policy, as it announced the extension of the national emergency concerning Syria for another year. Initially declared on 14 October 2019, the emergency aims to address the “unusual and extraordinary threat” posed by the ongoing situation in Syria.
This latest move by the US comes after a crescendo of international and local outcry. Both within Turkey and the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES), there have been widespread protests and calls for intervention. Various international bodies and human rights organisations have also persistently urged for a halt to the military offensive, citing concerns over civilian safety and regional stability.
According to the notice, Turkey’s military offensive “undermines the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), endangers civilians, and further threatens to undermine peace, security, and stability in the region.” This marks a significant shift, as the US administration directly implicates Turkey in contributing to regional instability and the persistence of ISIS.
The extension is in line with the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act. The notice will be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to Congress, underscoring the US administration’s heightened concern about Turkey’s role in the volatile Syrian landscape and its broader implications for regional and international stability.