Dec 31 2018

Turkish military occupying power in northern Syria - Bundestag report

Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria constitutes an occupying power, casting doubt on Ankara’s legal standing to justify its military seizure across the border, the Jerusalem Post quoted a German Bundestag committee report stating.

The nine-page report, which is authored by the Bundestag’s Scientific Services Department and does not represent the view of the German federal parliament, noted on Wednesday that “Turkey’s military presence in Afrin as well as Azaz, Al Bab and Jarablus in northern Syria fits into the description of military occupation from an international law standpoint,” the newspaper said.

Turkey has been alarmed by the Kurdish People’s Protection Units’ (YPG) consolidation of territory in northern Syria during the campaign against the Islamic State, and has launched military operations into areas governed by the YPG and its affiliates without a U.S. presence.

Ankara earlier this month announced plans for a third military operation into neighbouring Syria aimed at the U.S.-backed YPG, as it continues to send heavy military vehicles to its southeastern border, according to the Turkish state-run Anadolu news agency. 

Published in response to an expert opinion request from the largely pro-Russian President Vladimir Putin German Left Party, the report applauded the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump last week to withdraw 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria, the newspaper said.

The Turkish government argument that it invaded northern Syria due to ‘’self-defense measures against the Islamic State terrorist organization would not hold water because the Islamic State has been weakened in its territory in Syria,’’ the article quoted the report as saying.

Turkey has repeatedly voiced its concern regarding the formation of a Kurdish entity on its border, citing its likelihood to strengthen the separatist ambitions of the Kurdish minority inside the county, approximately 15 percent of its population.