Dutch MPs warn against possible Turkish attack against Syrian Kurds

Several Dutch MPs have warned against a possible attack against the northeast of Syria following threats made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Dutch MP for the Christian Democratic Appeal (CDA), Martijn van Helvert, on Thursday warned that if the US allows Turkey to invade the northeast of Syria, Kurdish would release all Islamic State prisoners and surrender to Assad, Russia, and Iran.

“The Kurds cannot stop Turkey, control ISIS, hold ISIS prisoners and keep the Assad-regime at bay. I urge to call Turkey to order within NATO. There should be less fighting in Syria, not more,” he tweeted.

He added that the Dutch government and other NATO partners should urge Turkey not to invade northeastern Syria.

The CDA is one of the ruling coalition parties within the Dutch government.

Dutch MP Sven Koopmans, for the People’s Party for Freedom (VVD), which is also a member of the ruling government coalition, on Twitter agreed that Turkey should not reconsider its attack on Syria’s northeast.

However, he questioned if it would be in the ‘interest’ of the Kurds to release Islamic State prisoners or to ‘surrender’ themselves to Damascus.

Sadet Karabulut, a member of the opposition’s Socialist Party (SP), told Kurdistan 24 that Turkey’s possible invasion would redirect priorities to interests other than the security and stability in the region.

“The Netherlands must firmly condemn such a plan and make this public by all possible means,” Karablut stated.

Washington-based Kurdish Affairs analyst, Mutlu Civiroglu, told Kurdistan 24 it is “clear that an operation inside northeastern Syria would not be a solution, but would create new catastrophes and human tragedies.”

“Many people are going to be displaced. What is going to happen to people who are going to lose their homes?” he asked.

Civiroglu, who often visits the northeast of Syria, affirmed it is one of the most stable parts of Syria.

He also warned that if attacked, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) would defend itself and that it is possible thousands of Islamic State fighters and families would suddenly be at large.

“Even now, they have a hard time containing these people. And if there is an attack against them it’s going to be even harder because their priority would shift to defending themselves, not taking care of these prisoners and their families.”

The original tweet by Helvert came in response to a report published by the Wall Street Journal that suggested US officials were worried a major Turkish incursion could prompt the Trump administration to withdraw troops.

The Dutch government and the Dutch Parliament have publically made clear they are opposed to any unilateral Turkish incursion in the northeast of Syria.

Following pressure from the Dutch government, the EU made a statement in December last year calling on Turkey not to take unilateral actions in Syria that could jeopardize the fight against the Islamic State.

“The Netherlands continues to support this call and will repeat it where possible,” the Dutch government said in January.