Germany's Maas: Turkish 'invasion' not in line with international law

21.10.2019

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has described the Turkish military offensive against the Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria as an "invasion" that is "not in accordance with international law."

Responding to the Turkish argument that Ankara has international law on its side, Maas said on German public television on Sunday evening: "After everything we know and after everything that Turkey itself has cited as a legal basis, we cannot share that view."

"We do not believe that an attack on Kurdish units or Kurdish militias is legitimate under international law," he told the programme "Berlin Direct" on the ZDF channel.

Asked if the incursion constituted a violation of international law by Turkey, Maas said: "If there is no basis in international law for such an invasion, then it is not in accordance with international law."

He also warned Ankara about the potential loss of European payments under a scheme to keep Syrian refugees in Turkey.

"We also do not agree that Syrian Civil War refugees who are now in Turkey are then sent to north-east Syria in this way into this security zone, possibly against their will," Maas said.

These topics must be discussed with Turkey, also in connection with the refugee agreement, "because we will not pay money for things that we believe are not legitimate or legal," Maas said.

On 9 October, Turkey launched an offensive in north-eastern Syria against Syrian Kurdish militias it labels terrorists to create a 444-kilometre-long, 32-kilometre-deep "safe zone" along its border with Syria.

Ankara wants to start repatriating some of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees in its territory to this buffer zone. Under a 2016 deal to stem the flow of refugees to Europe, the European Union pledged up to 6 billion euros (6.59 billion dollars) to support the mostly Syrian refugees in Turkey.    (dpa)

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