PR Issued for immediate release 25 January 2018
Joan Ryan MP has called on the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary to make urgent representations to their Turkish counterparts, to end the Turkish military’s assault on the Kurdish region of Afrin in Syria.
In a letter to Theresa May and Boris Johnson, Joan Ryan MP also urged the UK Government to work with NATO, the EU and the UN to prevent a potential humanitarian crisis.
On Saturday 20 January the Turkish military launched ‘Operation Olive Branch’ on the Afrin region. After six consecutive days of shelling the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has reported, at the time of writing, that 32 civilians have been killed, alongside dozens of fighters from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Ms Ryan said: “As the representative of a constituency with a vibrant Kurdish community, I have been contacted by residents who are deeply concerned for the safety of their family and friends in the Afrin region.”
Joan Ryan also praised the Kurdish community for their bravery in the fight against Daesh, referencing their victories in Raqqa, Manbij, Kobane and Sinjar, which “dealt major, strategic blows to the terrorist group.”
Joan Ryan MP said:
“I am extremely concerned by reports of civilian casualties and for the safety of the Kurdish community in the Afrin region. It is hard to imagine such an aggressive military operation being so misnamed.
The Kurdish people have already paid a terrible price for their bravery in the fight against Daesh. Thousands have died and millions more have been displaced and driven from their homes.
I will continue to follow this issue very closely, putting pressure on the Government at every opportunity to protect the Kurdish community in Afrin and avert a humanitarian crisis.”
For more information, contact:
Rt. Hon Joan Ryan MP
Tel: 07932 173989 (number not for publication)
Notes for editors:
1. Joan Ryan MP’s letter to the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary is attached.
2. On Tuesday 23 January 2018, Joan Ryan MP tabled two written questions in Parliament, regarding the Turkish military’s assault on Afrin and a proposed attack on the Syrian city of Manbij. These questions can be read here:
3. The full transcript of the joint press conference between the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, and the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, on Monday 22 January 2018 is available here: https://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2018/01/277569.htm