Politics

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab warns Turkey’s military assault against Kurdish-held areas in Syria will aid ISIS jihadis


DOMINIC Raab blasted Turkey’s military assault against Kurdish-held areas in Syria saying it’s aiding Islamic State jihadis.

The Foreign Secretary hit out saying “maximum restraint” needed to be shown as tens of thousands fled their homes as the air and ground offensive raged.

 Dominic Raab blasted Turkey’s military assault against Kurdish-held areas in Syria saying it's aiding Islamic State jihadis

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Dominic Raab blasted Turkey’s military assault against Kurdish-held areas in Syria saying it’s aiding Islamic State jihadisCredit: AFP or licensors

Mr Raab said the UK’s position was “crystal clear” as he spoke at the 65th Nato Parliamentary assembly in the capital.

He said: “This incursion is wrong. We want to see maximum restraint, and avoid taking our eye off the ball with Daesh (IS). My fear is that the risk is that the humanitarian situation could be made worse.”

Nato-member Turkey launched the attacks against the Syrian Democratic Forces – who were helping the west defeat IS – after US President Donald Trump pulled US forces from the north of the country.

Hundreds of suspected terrorist prisoners guarded by Kurdish forces are understood to have escaped during the Turkish onslaught.

Mr Raab was told by a Turkey representative that the country wasn’t taking part in an invasion but a “counter-terror operation”.

Turkey sees the Syrian Kurdish forces as terrorists – with links to a rebel group fighting in the country.

But the Cabinet Minister replied: “In relation to your reflections on the Turkish intervention in Syria, I just don’t agree.

‘MORAL OBLIGATION’

“The risk is with the counter-terrorism operation you describe, taking on the Syrian Democratic Forces and the broader objectives, is that it is weakening the overarching counter-terrorism goal of countering Daesh.

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“I think the UK, like many others, is very concerned we’re taking our eye off the ball. It’s quite important that we have this conversation with our friends that we are mindful of their legitimate concerns.

One report said Kurdish forces are facing attacks from IS sleeper cells who have been “emboldened by the chaos of the Turkish offensive”.

Fierce fighting was raging on the Syrian border as Turkish forces continued their blitz on the Kurds.

Turkey says it has taken the key town of Ras al-Ain but the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) dispute this.

The SDF called on their Western allies to close off air space to Turkish warplanes. Their senior official Redur Xelil demanded the US help protect them, describing it as a “moral obligation”.

President Trump has said he wants to help negotiate a truce between Turkey and the Kurds.

EU council chief Donald Tusk demanded Turkey stop its action to avoid another “humanitarian catastrophe” as 100,000 people have been displaced.

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Twenty-nine Nato countries are meeting in London this weekend as the organisation marks its 70th anniversary.

The Nato Parliamentary Assembly is separate from Nato but acts as a link between the alliance and the parliaments of member nations.

 Turkey launched attacks against the Syrian Democratic Forces - who helped the west defeat IS

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Turkey launched attacks against the Syrian Democratic Forces – who helped the west defeat ISCredit: AFP or licensors
 Smoke billows from the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain as Turkey continued a military assault on Kurdish-held border towns

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Smoke billows from the Syrian border town of Ras al-Ain as Turkey continued a military assault on Kurdish-held border townsCredit: AFP or licensors
 A Turkish-backed Syrian rebel overlooking the Kurdish-held border town of Ras al-Ain

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A Turkish-backed Syrian rebel overlooking the Kurdish-held border town of Ras al-AinCredit: AFP or licensors
 Turkish-baked Syrian fighters sit inside an armoured personnel carrier

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Turkish-baked Syrian fighters sit inside an armoured personnel carrierCredit: AFP or licensors
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