Turkey is violating international law with airstrikes in northern Syria, says Swedish politician

Morgan Johansson, Source: Dagens Nyheter Photo: Sofia Nahringbauer

Morgan Johansson, a Swedish politician and spokesperson for the Social Democrats (Socialdemokraternas), says Turkey’s airstrikes in northern Syria are a violation of international law, Dagens Nyheter reported.

Turkey has recently launched airstrikes on hundreds of Kurdish targets in Iraq and Syria. The offensive, codenamed Operation Claw-Sword, comes a week after a bomb blast in central İstanbul killed six people and wounded 81. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has blamed armed Kurdish groups for the deadly attack, an accusation they strongly deny.

Johansson argues that Turkey is jeopardizing the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which remains a threat in the region. “Turkey is not allowed to bomb other countries in the way it is doing now. I think this is a clear violation of international law,” Johansson said.

Johansson urged the Swedish government to address this issue as soon as possible. “When a member country of NATO violates international law, we need to be able to point out,” Johansson said, adding that the EU should demand that Turkey halt its operations.

The overnight raids in northern and northeastern Syria killed at least 31 people including Kurdish-Syrian journalist Isam Hesen Ebdullah, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. They mainly targeted positions held by Syrian Kurdish forces.

Ankara said it was more determined than ever to secure its Syrian border from attacks by Kurdish forces.

Erdoğan on Monday said Turkey could soon launch a ground operation in Syria “at the most convenient time,” something he has been threatening to do since May.

The international community urged a “proportional” response in compliance with international law after Turkey’s airstrikes.

The last time Turkey invaded northern Iraq with ground troops in 2019, all parties in Sweden supported an arms embargo against the country. Now Sweden is exporting weapons to Turkey again, as part of its application for membership NATO.

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