ON THE SECOND day of the Turkish invasion of Syria, after a massive bombing raid striking northern Syria over 180 times, killing at least seven civilians, the Turkish tanks rolled in, stepping up their ground invasion. Heavy fighting was reported in the central border region between the Turkish invaders and Kurdish defence forces.
60,000 civilians have already fled, while Turkey’s President Erdogan yesterday threatened the EU that if they call the offensive an ‘invasion’ again Turkey will release millions of refugees in camps in Turkey and send them to Europe.
Meanwhile, thirteen major UK trade unions joined forces to urge the Tory government to condemn Turkey’s invasion of Syria – and act to avert ethnic cleansing and potential genocide.
Trade unions representing millions of UK workers and their communities have demanded that Prime Minister Boris Johnson deploy the UK’s influence to prevent a humanitarian disaster as a result of the Turkish invasion of north and east Syria.
Thirteen trade unions and a leading law firm are warning that President Trump’s ‘appalling’ abandonment of the fragile region will see Turkey seek its own military and strategic advantage which will ‘undoubtedly lead to ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Kurds as well as a resurgence of ISIS’ in the region.
The move by the unions is a major display of solidarity with those forces fighting against repression in the region. The unions say that the UK must show its clear and utter condemnation of Turkey’s invasion, calling for a no-fly zone and international force deployment.
Having recently returned from the region, Simon Dubbins, Unite’s Director of International, said: ‘We have been part of a parliamentary and union delegation to this region. It is plain for all to see how extremely dangerous the situation is and the human misery that will unfold unless the international community comes together and stands as one against this appalling and unwarranted aggression.’
In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the unions urge the UK government to condemn outright the Turkish aggression, reminding both the UK government and the international community of the debt owed to the Syrian Democratic Forces for their ‘sacrifice in stopping and defeating ISIS’.
The full text of the letter is below.
‘Dear Prime Minister,
‘We are writing in relation to last Sunday’s appalling announcement by President Trump that he intends to immediately withdraw US troops from Syria. This is a green-light to a Turkish military invasion of north and east Syria, which, as we have already seen in Afrin, will undoubtedly lead to ethnic cleansing and genocide of the Kurds as well as a resurgence of ISIS.
‘The international community owes the Syrian Democratic Forces a debt for their sacrifice in stopping and defeating ISIS and building peace and stability in the region; they are our friends and allies.
‘We therefore call on the UK government to immediately condemn Turkey’s threats of invasion and to work with the international community to deploy an international force and enforce a no-fly zone to prevent the imminent catastrophe and protect civilian lives.
‘If the Turkish invasion is not stopped the SDF will be forced into a long and bitter war for survival against the second-largest NATO army. In the resulting chaos tens of thousands of ISIS fighters will escape their current internment and resume their barbaric acts of terror across the globe.
‘We demand that the UK government take action to prevent an invasion of north and east Syria by Turkey and protect the very people who have protected us.
‘Given the gravity of the situation we would appreciate an immediate response.’
The letter was signed by the leaders of 13 unions including: Unite, GMB CWU, PCS, ASLEF, TSSA, NEU, USDAW, RMT, Bakers Union, EIS, GFTU.