The Syrian parliament, the People’s Assembly, passed a resolution on Monday, June 13, denouncing the proposed Turkish invasion of the country, calling it an attempt to occupy Syrian land that will threaten regional and international peace.
The resolution asserted that “Syria will have full right to resist the illegitimate presence of occupation forces along with its affiliated terrorist mercenaries”, adding that Syrian forces will defend their sovereignty and people against “American, Turkish and Israeli occupation.”
The resolution blamed Turkey for failing to observe the agreements reached in Astana and Sochi under international mediation. It also condemned the Turkish shelling of villages and the towns of Tal Tamr and Manbij, which caused large-scale destruction of civilian properties and the displacement of hundreds of people earlier this month.
In May, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that Turkey’s forces will resume the operation to create a 30 kilometer “safe zone” in northern Syria. Though he did not mention a specific date, Erdogan claimed that the operation will begin “suddenly” once preparations end.
Turkey invaded northern Syria in October 2019 to create the so-called “safe zone,” allegedly to prevent attacks from the People’s Protection Unit (YPG) forces. Turkey has alleged that the YPG is affiliated with the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK).
PKK, formed in 1984, has been fighting for the rights of Kurdish minorities in Turkey and seeking to establish an autonomous Kurdish region. Turkey has declared PKK a terrorist organization and accused it of carrying out numerous terrorist attacks inside the country. In northern Syria, the YPG is part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which controls most of the Kurdish-dominated territory.
During the 2019 invasion, Turkish forces had captured two major cities of Tel Abyad and Ras al-Ain after days of fighting. Turkey had later agreed to stop the aggression, following a ceasefire agreement with Russia which had a provision for joint monitoring of the border.
Earlier, the Syrian government had called the Turkish plan to invade the country in the name of creating a so-called safe zone inside its territory a “colonial project”, which helps “carry out terrorist plans against Syrian people”.
On May 30 a Syrian official had issued a statement calling the Turkish plan “a shameful plan of invasion” and an attempt at ethnic cleansing of northern Syrian territories by carrying out demographic changes, Press TV reported.
Most countries, including Russia and the US, have urged Turkey to desist from its plan to attack Syrian territories, claiming that such a move will further complicate the situation in the region.
Syria has been at war since 2011, which has killed hundreds of thousands and displaced more than half of Syria’s pre-war 20 million population. The war has led to division of the country among different warring parties. A large part of northern Syria is still controlled by Turkey-backed opposition forces, where Turkey has carried out large scale illegal constructions in an attempt to resettle some of the Syrian refugees it hosts. The proposed invasion will pave the way for more such constructions as per Erdogan’s claims.