France says sanctions 'on the table' as Europe mulls response to Turkey's Syria offensive

France says sanctions 'on the table' as Europe mulls response to Turkey's Syria offensive
European states are considering their response to Turkey's offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria amid growing condemnation of the assault.
2 min read
11 October, 2019
Amelie de Montchalin said sanctions are 'on the table' [Getty]
France’s Secretary of State for European Affairs said on Friday that EU sanctions against Turkey are “on the table” after the UN Security Council refused to condemn Ankara’s military operation against Kurdish forces in northern Syria.

"Obviously it's on the table," Amelie de Montchalin told France Inter radio, saying that they would discuss further action during a European council meeting next week.

An increasing number of Turkey’s NATO allies have condemned its actions in northern Syria. Italy, France and the Netherlands summoned their respective Turkish ambassadors to express their concern. Norway, meanwhile, has suspended sales of arms to Ankara.

French President Emmanuel Macron earlier urged Turkey to end its operation as quickly as possible, saying the operation was putting "millions of people at humanitarian risk".

He added that the SDF is "responsible in front of the international community for helping [the Islamic State group] in build its Caliphate".

Read more: Thousands flee, dozens killed as Turkish assault on Syrian Kurds continues

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has responded to criticism by warning Europe not to call Turkey’s actions an “invasion," threatening to “flood Europe” with three million refugees.

"Hey EU, wake up. I say it again: if you try to frame our operation there as an invasion, our task is simple, we will open the doors and send 3.6 million migrants to you," Erdogan said in a speech to his party.

In scenes all too familiar since the start of Syria's war in March 2011, civilians were seen abandoning their homes Thursday, in vehicles or on foot with their belongings on their backs.

The UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on Thursday estimated that 70,000 people have been newly displaced since Ankara launched its operation.

Erdogan said earlier that his forces had killed 109 “militants” so far, while suspected Kurdish strikes hit towns in southern Turkey, killing 5 civilians.

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