Egypt slams Turkish 'occupation' of Syria city Afrin

Egypt slams Turkish 'occupation' of Syria city Afrin

A Turkish-led military operation that seized control of the city of Afrin is a clear 'violation of Syrian sovereignty', Egypt has said.
2 min read
20 March, 2018
Ankara and allied rebel groups captured the city from the YPG [TNA]

A Turkish military operation that seized control of the northern Syrian city of Afrin is a "violation of Syrian sovereignty", Egypt has said.

Egypt's foreign ministry issued a statement Monday, slamming Turkey's takeover of the former Kurdish stronghold of Afrin.

Ankara and allied rebel groups captured the city from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) on Sunday, after a two-month offensive on the broader Afrin region.

Turkey claims the YPG is linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency inside Turkey and is proscribed as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.

Cairo condemned the "unacceptable the continued violations of Syria's sovereignty which further complicate the political scene".

The ministry statement warned of "violations against the Syrian civilians" and "massive displacements and grave humanitarian dangers" in Afrin.

The comment comes against a backdrop of political tension between Egypt and Turkey, with Cairo accusing Ankara of supporting Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

Relations have been strained ever since the Egyptian military forcibly removed the country's first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was a main backer Morsi and has long called for Egyptian authorities to release him from prison.

Egypt has pushed for a political solution to the Syrian civil war that might keep dictator Bashar al-Assad in power.

In late 2016, relations were briefly strained between Egypt and rebel-backer Saudi Arabia after Cairo voted in favour of a Russian-drafted UN Security Council resolution that Riyadh strongly opposed.

Syria's foreign ministry on Monday slammed Turkey's takeover of Afrin, demanding it "immediately" pull its forces from the northwestern city.

Damascus has repeatedly criticised Turkey for its military operations on Syrian soil, accusing it of supporting "terrorist" groups.