Following Turkey’s invasion of North East Syria Crispin Blunt, MP for Reigate, chair of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) 2015-17, when the FAC visited the region and completed five directly relevant inquiries into the region and the conflict, and having returned within the last month from a visit to NE Syria (16-19 September 2019) with the All Party Parliamentary Group for Rojava, made the following statement:
“Whilst understanding Turkey’s burden of hosting about 3 million refugees from the Syrian conflict, this invasion, under the guise of a confected and in practice largely illusory terrorist threat to Turkey, is going to massively increase the sum of human suffering in a region that has had its fill of pain and increase the unconstrained terrorist threat to the world from up to 100,000 men, women and children captured by our allies in the war for civilisation from territory once controlled by ISIS.
Of grave concern must be the state of mind of many of the children, heavily influenced by militant and zealous mothers, the so-called “Cubs of the Caliphate”. This is a threat that was going to need the most careful and resource intensive management. That task is now likely to be immeasurably more difficult by this appalling military adventure by Turkey. There are 42,000 of these children, 7,000 of them from outside Iraq and Syria.
This war is likely to be bloody and long lasting as the scale of the hatred for Turkey in NE Syria was wretchedly high. This follows its recent Afrin operation and the ethnic cleansing of Kurdish people from an ancient centre as well as the historic suffering of Kurdish people in the region.
It is also reinforced by wide scale acceptance amongst the Syrian Kurds of the political philosophy of their spiritual leader Abdullah Ocalan. These are values that do not threaten the overall sovereignty of Turkey or Syria but represent a powerful expression of values that will provide a strong binding element of the violent resistance to a violent invasion. The capacity of the Kurdish people to accept suffering in the defence of their fundamental interests appears considerable, and it is a signal mistake by Turkey to seek to explore it.
This conflict is almost certain to make things worse, not least for Turkey. That the U.K., with its European partners, has not been able to dissuade Turkey from this path is a serious failure, as well as being a mark of national dishonour given the Syrian Defence Force role as our recent allies, the part of the coalition that did the dying on our behalf in ending the Caliphate as an administrative territorial entity.
We must work with all our resources to divert Turkey away from her current path and the awful consequences if this invasion and forced resettlement of refugees is allowed to happen. Even if the terror of the Turkish military enabled acquiescence now, it would merely be sowing the seeds of future conflict. And all of this before consideration of the response of the state whose sovereignty has been attacked.”
Crispin Blunt MP
Notes to editors:
Office of Crispin Blunt MP: 0207 219 2254