UNISON Centre, 130 Euston Road, LONDON NW1 2AY Tel: +44 20 7121 5767 Fax: +44 20 7121 5101 http://www.unison.org.uk Email: I.Relations@unison.co.uk General Secretary Dave Prentis
Dear Foreign Secretary,
Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
King Charles Street
London SW1A 2AH
Wednesday, 24 January 2018
Re. Turkey’s attack on Afrin
On behalf of UNISON’s 1.3 million members working in public services in the UK, I am writing to express our deep concern over recent Turkish military attacks on the Syrian Kurdish area of Afrin.
In addition to Kurdish population, a large proportion of Afrin’s residents are internally displaced people, who have been forced to escape the atrocities in other parts of Syria. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency over 5.4 million people have been forced to flee Syria since 2011, and an additional 6.1 million people have been displaced. We are concerned that Turkey’s attacks on Kurdish areas in northern Syria will further exacerbate the crisis, forcing many thousands more to flee.
Since the breakdown of the ceasefire between the Turkish government and the PKK in July 2015, many Kurdish majority communities in southeast Turkey have been devastated and thousands of lives have been lost. The Turkish government’s attacks on Kurdish areas in northern Syria appear to be an extension of this conflict and will further undermine the prospects of peace in both countries.
We request that you urge the government of Turkey to immediately cease its attacks on Afrin and other Kurdish areas in northern Syria. Furthermore, we call on you to end the sale of arms produced in the UK to Turkey and seek assurances that weapons already provided will not be used against the Kurdish populations of Turkey and Syria.